inewsource is a growing nonprofit newsroom based in San Diego, California committed to exposing wrongdoing and holding powerful people and institutions accountable.
Local news, especially investigative reporting, is essential to a functioning democracy. Our work brings to light inequity, injustice and the government’s failure to protect the public. Our journalists help to prevent malfeasance and corruption.
CEO, EDITOR AND FOUNDER
Lorie Hearn is the chief executive officer 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.
Mark J. Rochester began as inewsource managing editor in April 2021, having served as editor in chief at Type Investigations, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in Manhattan. He was previously senior news director for investigations at the Detroit Free Press. Both newsrooms, he notes, shared a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and their investigative journalism often received national recognition for exposing problems impacting communities of color.
His family is happy to be back in California, having spent more than seven years in San Francisco where Rochester was a senior manager for the Associated Press. While with the news cooperative, he led computer-assisted reporting training efforts around the West, both inside and outside of AP, and conducted a widely used analysis of the $74 million in campaign contributions that went toward the California gay marriage ballot initiative in 2008. The AP analyzed who gave and why and then made the data available to member newspapers. The resulting series of stories based on the data was AP’s 2009 Pulitzer nomination for Local Reporting.
Rochester, who served as a Pulitzer Prize jurist in 2017, also has held senior leadership positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Denver Post, Newsday and The Indianapolis Star. Rochester is vice president of Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc., the 6,000+ member international organization dedicated to improving investigative journalism. He also serves on the national advisory board of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington, D.C.
DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR
Jamie Self joined inewsource in June 2021 as deputy managing editor, coming from South Carolina, where for a decade she has produced accountability reporting on government and politics at many levels. Most recently she was the senior editor for politics and state government at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. In that role, she oversaw investigations that revealed a secret system lawmakers use to funnel millions of dollars to pet projects of their choice and exposed the death of a state hospital psychiatric patient at the hands of untrained healthcare workers who piled on top of him in violation of policy.
She previously was an investigative reporter on The State’s high-impact projects team. She wrote about the factors driving the state’s worsening teacher shortage, highlighting the systemic problems causing teachers to quit their jobs, and her reporting exposed what were likely preventable deaths of infants in poorly regulated home daycares.
As a state government and politics reporter for more than five years, she wrote at length about public corruption, education, child welfare and the influence of money and politics on public policy. During that time, she also covered some of South Carolina’s most important stories, including a historic corruption probe that led to several legislators pleading guilty and leaving office, and the murder of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston followed by the battle to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds. She’s won first place awards for government and education beat reporting and helped The State to first place wins for public service and politics and election coverage.
Before starting a career in journalism, she traveled the United States and part of Canada and Mexico meeting people and writing. Before that, she taught freshman writing and research classes at Boston University. She has a master’s degree in American literature from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston Honors College, where she studied English and music composition.
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR
Mary Plummer is the audience engagement editor of inewsource. She oversees audience growth and community engagement, and manages the newsroom’s internship program.
She’s been a reporter, editor, radio producer and broadcast coach in Southern California for more than a decade. As an investigative reporter, her work uncovered failings in the state prison system that led to men dying in their cells without adequate medical care, and she exposed questionable fundraising tactics used by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to raise tens of millions of dollars for his favored causes, some of which won sizable contracts from the city.
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University and a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her broadcast career began at the London bureau for ABC News. She later was a political correspondent for KPCC – Los Angeles’ largest NPR station. She was the lead reporter for the station during the 2016 and 2018 elections, and served as a moderator for gubernatorial and U.S. Senate debates.
She joined inewsource in 2019 as an investigative reporter. In 2020, she was recognized for best political journalism by the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists. She was also part of three national team wins for engaged journalism – two from the Online Journalism Association in 2019 and 2020, and the 2018 Champion of Curiosity Award from Hearken. In all her work, she values community connections, and fostering trust and long-term relationships.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER – SOUTH BAY & IMPERIAL COUNTY
Jennifer Bowman is an investigative reporter at inewsource covering the South Bay and Imperial County. A San Diego native, Bowman worked at daily newspapers in Michigan and North Carolina covering government and other accountability issues.
At the Asheville Citizen Times, she reported on yearslong corruption in county government that included a bribery scheme involving an engineering contractor, illegally purchased life insurance policies and the misuse of tax revenue meant for a local community college. Bowman’s award-winning coverage helped lead to federal criminal convictions against six officials and an elected commissioner.
While at the Battle Creek Enquirer in Michigan, Bowman reported on wide-ranging financial fraud at a publicly funded mental health agency, including an unapproved pension plan and a $500,000 payment to a Florida psychic. A subsequent state audit ordered the agency to repay nearly $18 million and its CEO pleaded guilty to embezzlement and Medicaid fraud.
Bowman earned her journalism degree at San Diego State University. She previously interned at The San Diego Union-Tribune and NBC San Diego. She and her husband live in Chula Vista with their daughter and pug.
Andrea Figueroa Briseño
Andrea Figueroa Briseño is an investigative reporter at inewsource and a corps member for Report For America, a national service program that tasks journalists to report on undercovered communities and issues. She covers education and focuses her reporting on Latino students and families who are part of the San Diego Unified School District.
Briseño was previously the equity/underserved communities reporter at The Modesto Bee, where she shed a light on underreported issues in Stanislaus County. She is a first generation high school and college graduate. She’s also fluent in Spanish. Through her own education journey and that of her family members, she developed a passion for understanding and unveiling the challenges Latino students face.
As a Fresno native, Briseño began her journalism career at The Rampage and The Fresno Bee. She gained a wealth of experience in print reporting, editing and broadcasting at El Espartano Noticias, Spartan Daily and Update News. She later interned for NBC Bay Area and Telemundo in San Jose. Briseño is a graduate of Palomar College and San Jose State.
INVESTIGATIVE DATA COORDINATOR
Jill Castellano is an investigative data coordinator for inewsource with a focus on criminal justice reporting. 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.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER – SOCIAL IMPACT AND GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
Cody Dulaney is an investigative reporter focusing on social impact stories. Before joining inewsource, Dulaney worked on investigative teams with newspapers in Florida and South Carolina. At the State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., he exposed a problem of South Carolinians selling family members into the sex trade. His five-part investigative series explored human trafficking in South Carolina — from family living rooms to illicit massage parlors, and everywhere in between. As a result, state lawmakers provided additional protections to victims, and law enforcement moved to shut down more than a dozen massage parlors along the coast.
In 2017, Dulaney won two statewide awards in Florida for his work at The News-Press investigating a local police department. He highlighted a toxic culture within the Fort Myers Police Department that disproportionately subjected black citizens to heavy-handed policing. As a result, the city tried to clean up the department and hired a consultant, who later raised allegations of officers protecting gang members and drug dealers. The FBI also investigated.
Dulaney received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2013 from the University of South Florida, where he also studied criminology.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER – HEALTH CARE
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Jake Harper is an investigative data reporter, focused on health. Before joining inewsource, Harper worked at Side Effects Public Media in Indiana, where he reported on addiction, Medicaid and access to health care. His investigations have covered medical industry influence in state and national government, barriers to evidence-based addiction treatment and failures to keep people healthy in Indiana’s prisons. His stories have been broadcast at stations across the country and nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Latino USA and Here & Now.
Harper also created and hosted Sick, a podcast about what goes wrong in places meant to keep people healthy. The first season covered the fertility industry and a doctor who used his own sperm to impregnate his patients.
Emily Isaacman joined inewsource in May 2022 as a digital producer. Most recently, she covered education for The Modesto Bee in the Central Valley. She previously interned for Chalkbeat and Reuters.
Isaacman grew up in San Diego and graduated from Indiana University in 2021 with degrees in journalism and political science. She took on roles as a reporter, news editor, managing editor and co-editor-in-chief for the student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student.
At Chalkbeat Indiana, Isaacman covered the pandemic’s impact on education during summer 2020 and reported on high school students alleging racist comments made by their teachers. For Reuters, she contributed data reporting to a national investigation into mortality and health care in jails and helped collect data for a U.S. map tracking COVID-19 cases by county in the early months of the pandemic.
Isaacman is passionate about promoting impactful accountability journalism. She enjoys talking with community members about how reporters do their jobs and helping to make journalism as accessible as possible.
Matt Kristoffersen is a web producer for inewsource. Kristoffersen is a senior at Yale University studying history and works with the inewsource team remotely. He has reported for The Press-Enterprise, The Sacramento Bee and The New York Times, among other outlets.
In 2020, Kristoffersen began working on The New York Times’ Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker. He has followed hundreds of vaccine candidates from preclinical trials to global rollout and has helped to explain developments in COVID-19 treatments both real and fake. The Times received a Pulitzer Prize for public service for its COVID-19 coverage in 2021.
Kristoffersen is a former inewsource digital intern. He grew up in Redlands, California, and plays the saxophone in community bands. He speaks proficient Spanish and Italian.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER – BORDER AND IMMIGRATION
Sofía Mejías-Pascoe is a border and immigration reporter covering the U.S.-Mexico region and the people who live, work and pass through the area.
Mejías-Pascoe was previously a general assignment reporter and intern with inewsource, where she covered the pandemic’s toll inside prisons and detention centers and dug into neighborhood feuds over trash and COVID-19 parties.
Mejías-Pascoe also worked as an editor at her college newspaper, the Daily Nexus. She interned at the Santa Barbara Independent, San Diego CityBeat, Voice of San Diego and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
She graduated in June 2021 with a degree in communication from UC Santa Barbara. She is a member of the San Diego/Tijuana Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
PHOTO AND VIDEO JOURNALIST
Zoë Meyers is a photo and video journalist at inewsource. Before joining inewsource, Meyers worked at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as a photo and video journalist. At The Desert Sun, she produced work ranging from a video series about drag queen culture to an award-winning investigation into pollution at the U.S.-Mexico border. That series, “Poisoned Cities, Deadly Border,” investigated the causes and impacts of pollution in Mexicali. It received a national Edward R. Murrow Award, Society of Professional Journalists New America Award, and an Emmy Award.
In 2017, Meyers also collaborated with a group of students from USC’s Annenberg School for Journalism to produce a virtual reality series on the unfolding environmental crisis at the Salton Sea. In addition, she has worked independently on documentary photography and video projects. In 2015, she produced the “Worth of Water” video series for High Country News and worked on the multimedia documentary “Dreams of Dust” with funding from California Humanities.
Meyers received her master of fine arts degree in photography in 2015 from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and studied history and English as an undergraduate at Pomona College.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTER
Crystal Niebla joined inewsource in June 2022 as an investigative reporter focused on infrastructure and government accountability in the San Diego region. Her position is partly funded by Report for America, a national program that supports local journalists.
At the Long Beach Post, Niebla served as a multimedia journalist covering West Long Beach, one of the most underreported regions in the city. There, Niebla’s broad area of coverage included air quality, infrastructure, park equity, labor, education, housing, social justice, culture and crime. Previously, she served as a reporter and program coordinator for VoiceWaves, a youth-led media program in Long Beach, where she mentored youth and young adults in journalism skills.
Niebla was born in San Diego and moved back in 2022. She grew up in Primo Tapia, Mexico before coming to live with her grandparents in South Gate knowing little to no English. After settling in, Niebla mostly grew up with her single mother and brother in South Los Angeles, commonly known as South Central L.A., before moving to Long Beach for college.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in sociology from California State University, Long Beach. Niebla is passionate about local accountability reporting because she knows good journalism can be a catalyst for change that can improve the lives of the public. She especially hopes to make a meaningful impact on the communities she serves, especially low-income, people of color.
Danielle Dawson is a reporting intern for inewsource through a partnership between the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Originally from San Diego, she joined the newsroom after graduating from Columbia University with a master’s degree in journalism in May 2022, where she focused on investigative reporting with a special interest in the intersection of social justice issues and policy.
While at Columbia, Dawson reported on a variety of topics, including New York City’s crackdown on unsheltered individuals staying in subways and on the street, attacks on health care for families with transgender youth and harassment towards women seeking care for reproductive issues.
Dawson graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2021, with degrees in literary journalism and dance. While at UC Irvine, she served as a staff writer and editor for the city news section of the school’s paper, the New University, covering both local and breaking news.
Katy Stegall is a digital intern and a senior at San Diego State University. She is studying to be an investigative reporter who focuses on police accountability and criminal justice issues. She has previously reported for Voice of San Diego, Vice’s Motherboard, The San Diego Union-Tribune and KPBS.
Before transferring to San Diego State, Stegall studied journalism at Southwestern College and was news editor and editor-in-chief of the school’s paper. She was named the National Two-Year College Reporter of the Year by the Associated Collegiate Press in 2019 during this time.
Stegall has worked extensively on projects involving criminal cops, sexual assault, surveillance technology and civil rights violations.
During her most recent internship with KPBS, Stegall played a key role in obtaining previously undisclosed COVID outbreak data, Signal communications between government employees, and other local and national government records.
Bobbie Jo Kelso, CFRE
DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY
Bobbie Jo Kelso is the director of philanthropy at inewsource. She creates and leads philanthropic strategy to inspire and sustain support for the organization’s nonprofit investigative journalism.
Kelso has 20 years of experience building brands, inspiring action and raising critical funds to advance nonprofit missions.
Her career includes funding and building support for the vital work of civil society organizations around the world for nine years at Conservation International. She also managed development and communications for three years at San Diego Youth Services, a leading nonprofit empowering more than 13,000 vulnerable and homeless youth every year.
She spent seven years during her early career as a journalist, reporting in San Diego and Orange counties and from southern Africa.
Kelso earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies and now serves on its advisory board. She is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) and holds a certificate in nonprofit management.
DIRECTOR OF GROWTH AND PARTNERSHIPS
Justin Rushing is the director of growth and partnerships for inewsource, with a focus on audience development, brand strategies, product enhancement and revenue attainment.
He is a multimedia professional with 12 years of advertising and business development experience working across traditional and emerging media companies and platforms such as: ESPN, EW Scripps and Cars.com.
In his most recent role, Rushing served as an advertising director for the Daily Memphian, a non-profit digital news content site in Memphis, Tenn. He was essential in establishing the advertising foundation of the media start-up through developing infrastructure, implementing workflows and processes, as well as leading revenue generation and strategy.
In addition to his work at the Daily Memphian, he also served as diversity chairman for the Association of the Alternative News Media where he focused on aligning and building opportunities for the association to attract emerging and diverse minority journalist and media professionals.
He also represented the association in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the National Newspaper Publishers Association for building equity in local media in partnership with the Google News Initiative.
Rushing is a proud native Memphian, with a degree in mass communications from the HBCU Alabama State University where he was a National Association of Black Journalists scholarship recipient.
Veronica Flores is the philanthropy officer for inewsource. Her experience spans 23 years in the staffing and recruiting industry in both Phoenix and San Diego.
At Robert Half International, Flores wore many hats including staffing manager, recruiter and sales and marketing division leader. Finding success in her roles quickly, her career progressed to selling branch manager and area director with Adecco here in San Diego.
From corporate, Flores transitioned to a start-up environment working as a career marketing consultant. She led business development initiatives to establish partnerships with displaced C-Level executives, effectively leveraging new job opportunities.
She has created and implemented many new sales and marketing campaigns. Her ability to engage and build rapport, as well as create client relationships are Flores’ greatest strengths. She has won numerous awards including President’s Club and Salesperson of the Year.
Flores earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American history and is fully bilingual. In her spare time, you will find her hanging out with her beloved Boxer, Brody. She also enjoys cooking, watching true crime documentaries, wine tasting, volunteering at an animal rescue and the occasional karaoke session.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND OPERATIONS
Carla Sánchez is the director of finance and operations at inewsource. She leads seamless fiscal, administrative, and human resources systems, and procedures.
As a computer scientist, Sánchez focused on web development and databases. She has now learned to apply those skills to a finance environment. She has worked in various nonprofits, and has a passion for mission-driven work.
San Diego-born, Tijuana-raised, Sánchez enjoys the binational experience that the Californias offer. When she is not glued to a computer, you can find her at a concert or trying the newest restaurant in town.