inewsource is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization with one explicit goal: to provide readers with the most authoritative and in-depth stories possible on issues that affect the future of everyday San Diegans. Whether we’re writing about local government, transportation, education, health, taxes or the environment, our small but versatile team of reporters works together to deliver these stories with precision through web, radio and TV.
As a result, inewsource has been awarded some of the most prestigious accolades not just in Southern California but across the country since its formation in 2009.
inewsource is based inside the KPBS newsroom, though we do not receive funding from its donor base and are not paid for the content we share with the NPR and PBS affiliate station. Reporters and editors at inewsource frequently teach, train and mentor at SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, underscoring our commitment to the next generation of journalists.
Lorie Hearn is the executive director and editor of inewsource.
She founded inewsource in the summer of 2009, following a successful reporting and editing career in newspapers. She retired from The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she had been a reporter, Metro Editor and finally the senior editor for Metro and Watchdog Journalism. In addition to department oversight, Hearn personally managed a four-person watchdog team, composed of two data specialists and two investigative reporters.
Hearn was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University in 1994-95. She focused on juvenile justice and drug control policy, a natural course to follow her years as a courts and legal affairs reporter at the San Diego Union and then the Union-Tribune.
Hearn became Metro Editor in 1999 and oversaw regional and city news coverage, which included the city of San Diego’s financial debacle and near bankruptcy. Reporters and editors on Metro during her tenure were part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that exposed Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and led to his imprisonment.
Hearn began her journalism career as a reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times, a small daily outside of Philadelphia, shortly after graduating from the University of Delaware. During the decades following, she moved through countless beats at five newspapers on both coasts.
High-profile coverage included the historic state Supreme Court election in 1986, when three sitting justices were ousted from the bench, and the 1992 execution of Robert Alton Harris. That gas chamber execution was the first time the death penalty was carried out in California in 25 years.
In her nine years as Metro Editor at the Union-Tribune, Hearn made watchdog reporting a priority. Her reporters produced award-winning investigations covering large and small local governments. The depth and breadth of their public service work was most evident in coverage of the wildfires of 2003 and then 2007, when more than half a million people were evacuated from their homes.Contact Lorie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brad Racino is a senior reporter, assistant director and director of partnerships & innovation at inewsource, as well as a photographer, videographer and editor. He has produced investigations for print, radio and TV on topics including political corruption, transportation, health, maritime, education and nonprofits.
His cross-platform reporting for inewsource has earned more than 50 awards since 2012, including back-to-back national medals from Investigative Reporters and Editors, two national Edward R. Murrow awards, a Meyer "Mike" Berger award from New York City's Columbia Journalism School, the Sol Price Award for Responsible Journalism, San Diego SPJ's First Amendment Award, and a national Emmy nomination.
In 2017, Racino was selected by the Institute for Nonprofit News as one of 10 "Emerging Leaders" in U.S. nonprofit journalism.
Racino has worked as a reporter and database analyst for News21; as a photographer, videographer and reporter for the Columbia Missourian; as a project coordinator for the National Freedom of Information Coalition and as a videographer and editor for Verizon Fios1 TV in New York.
He received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2012.Head here to read his stories.
Contact him at email@example.com or (845) 553-4170.
Securely contact Brad on Signal (845-553-4170) or Wickr (inewsBrad)
Brandon Quester is inewsource's director of data and visuals, where he works to further the role of data in the organization and develop innovative ways to present investigative content. He also works toward building and expanding partnerships with individuals, businesses and organizations.
Quester co-founded the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting where he served as executive director and editor for four years. AZCIR’s reporting, which publishes online, in print and on television and radio, uncovered questionable practices by the state’s largest public utility, shed light on “dark money” expenditures for Arizona’s political candidates, exposed the dangers posed by hazardous material storage facilities throughout the state, and detailed the human and economic toll of the worst environmental disaster in Mexico’s history.
In addition, the center has developed and implemented innovative technologies into its reporting. These range from a web application that crowdfunds background checks on Arizona political candidates to a fully automated Twitter bot that distributes, in near real time, each “dark money” expenditure by groups trying to affect Arizona elections.
Quester also worked as an educator at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and as the multimedia editor for the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national investigative reporting project headquartered at the Cronkite School.Head here to read his stories.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 750-3736.
Securely contact Brandon on Signal (602-750-3736) or through secure email.
Laura Wingard is managing editor of inewsource.
She has been an editor in San Diego since 2002, working at The San Diego Union-Tribune, KPBS and now inewsource. At the Union-Tribune, she served in a variety of roles including as enterprise editor, government editor, public safety and legal affairs editor, and metro editor. She directed the newspaper’s award-winning coverage of the October 2007 wildfires and the 2010 disappearance of Poway teenager Chelsea King. She also oversaw reporting on San Diego’s pension crisis.
For two years, Wingard was news and digital editor at KPBS, overseeing a team of four multimedia reporters and two web producers. She also was the KPBS liaison with inewsource and collaborated with inewsource executive director and editor Lorie Hearn on investigative work by both news organizations.
Wingard also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal as the city editor and as an award-winning reporter covering the environment and politics. She also was the assistant managing editor for metro at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside. She earned her bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, with a double major in communications/journalism and political science.Contact her at email@example.com.
Ashley Rodriguez is the donor engagement manager for inewsource.
For more than 10 years, Rodriguez has worked and volunteered in San Diego’s nonprofit sector. She began her career leading community engagement initiatives and managing grants for KPBS. Before joining inewsource, she managed fundraising efforts for the Center on Policy Initiatives, an economic policy think tank in San Diego.
Rodriguez serves as vice president of the Sherman Heights Community Center board, and is on the boards of the San Diego Leadership Alliance and the Victory Fund Campaign. She is the immediate past chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of San Diego and is a 2016 alumna of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute.
In 2016, she received her master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego. She is also a graduate of San Diego State University, where she studied international security and conflict resolution. Rodriguez received the San Diego Business Journal honor of Top 20 in their 20’s in 2013.Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jill Castellano is an investigative reporter and data analyst for inewsource.
Castellano graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in psychology and criminology and was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. She has interned at the New York Daily News, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Castellano was a Dow Jones Data Fellow in 2016 — its first class of data journalists. She was trained by data experts at the headquarters of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Columbia, Missouri, and spent the summer working as a data reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune.
In September 2016, Castellano joined The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as an investigations editor. She mentored reporters in the USA TODAY Network on data analysis and public records, and she collaborated with other newsrooms on data-driven enterprise stories. She was part of a team from the USA TODAY Network that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a project on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Alain Stephens is an investigative reporter at inewsource.
Stephens started his journalism career as a reporter and producer at KUT, the NPR station in Austin, Texas. There he produced segments for the one-hour daily news show the “Texas Standard” before moving on to investigative work. He has won awards for investigations that uncovered problems with the Texas juvenile justice system and the state’s denial of basic rights for disabled workers.
Stephens was a 2016 Reveal Investigative Fellow, where he spent over a year exposing the practice of police agencies selling used weapons that were later used in crimes. Stephens is a graduate from the University of North Texas in Denton, where he studied criminal justice and sociology. He also served in the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force.
Megan Wood is a reporter and photographer at inewsource.
Wood joined inewsource as a photo and video intern in 2015 while completing her bachelor's degree in journalism at San Diego State University.
She focuses on accountability journalism, particularly in schools, and provides photography and videos for stories by her inewsource colleagues. Since 2016, Wood also has served on the board of the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists.
Shyla Nott is the social media and web producer at inewsource.
Before joining inewsource, Nott was a producer for the public affairs talk show All Sides with Ann Fisher at WOSU Public Radio in Columbus, Ohio.
In 2014, she documented second-generation Holocaust survivors as part of an international oral history collaborative.
Originally from Illinois, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, where she was a double major in journalism and international studies. Nott earned her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Nicole Tyau is an intern at inewsource.
She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 2017. As a student, she served as president of the university’s Society of Professional Journalists and Online News Association local chapters. She has previously reported on the agriculture industry and drinking water quality for Carnegie-Knight News21, a national investigative reporting project headquartered at the Cronkite School.