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
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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
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.
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.
INVESTIGATE 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.
GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER
Sofía Mejías Pascoe is a general assignment reporter, following story tips from the community and covering important issues affecting day-to-day life in San Diego and Imperial counties.
She has interned at various local papers including San Diego CityBeat, Voice of San Diego and The San Diego Union-Tribune. She has covered many beats over the years, from local politics at her college paper, the Daily Nexus, to higher education at Voice of San Diego to courts and crime at the Union-Tribune.
As a former inewsource intern, she co-reported stories on pandemic parties in a downtown San Diego high-rise apartment building and COVID-19 deaths among jail and prison inmates that went uncounted.
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.
Roxana Popescu is a versatile journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Ms. Magazine, Travel+Leisure, The Paris Review Daily and Newsweek. Her articles about immigration, border enforcement, gun culture and luxury sheds have won regional and national awards. She has been a contributor to inewsource since 2010.
Roxana was born in San Diego and moved back in 2008. When not reporting, she teaches writing at the University of San Diego as an adjunct professor. She has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate from Harvard University, where her dissertation examined the balcony as a motif in poetry, prose and painting from 1150 to 1888. She speaks French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian and enjoys using these languages in her work.
GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER AND WEB/SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER
Kate Sequeira is a general assignment reporter and web/social media producer at inewsource. She reports on issues across San Diego County and assists in running the website, social media accounts and newsletters. She graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2021 with degrees in journalism and contemporary Latino and Latin American studies.
At USC, Sequeira oversaw coverage of several campus scandals through her work at the Daily Trojan, where she served as editor-in-chief for the spring 2020 semester. While in school, she interned at inewsource and for the editorial board at The Dallas Morning News. She was also part of the 2019 class of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. She also helps run the Reading by 9 literacy initiative and youth voices platform High School Insider at the Los Angeles Times as a production specialist.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER – GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Camille von Kaenel is an investigative reporter focused on growth and development in San Diego’s backcountry. Her position is partly funded by Report for America, a national program that supports local journalists.
Most recently, she was a Report for America reporter at the Chico Enterprise-Record, where she covered the aftermath of the Camp fire. Her reporting included an accounting of dozens of deaths that were not directly linked to the fire in the government’s official death count and an investigation into the unequal delays in rebuilding mobile home parks. Her work was featured in national and state outlets and recognized by several California Newspaper Publishers Association awards.
She previously worked at E&E News in Washington, D.C., covering transportation and climate policy and politics. She also launched a podcast for the news outlet.
She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Geneva. She was born in Switzerland and grew up in the Bay Area. She speaks French and Spanish.
Anissa Durham is a reporting intern for inewsource. She focuses on data reporting, research and investigative stories.
She previously interned for The San Diego Union-Tribune where she worked as a watchdog and accountability reporter. At the Union-Tribune, she covered stories about education, politics, COVID-19, criminal justice and more.
Durham also interned for L.A. STYLE Magazine where she wrote about fashion, style and culture and J. Walcher Communications as a marketing and public relations assistant. She has also freelanced for Voice of San Diego and PBS SoCal.
Durham graduated in September 2021 with a bachelor’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from National University. She is a member of the San Diego Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and the San Diego/ Tijuana Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Matt Kristoffersen is a digital intern 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 grew up in Redlands, California, and plays the saxophone in community bands. He speaks proficient Spanish and Italian.
Chloe Wynne is a reporting intern for inewsource, where she assists staff in producing government accountability and data-driven stories.
She recently received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she focused on investigative reporting and audio production. Her reporting has ranged from covering rising levels of anxiety in schools to food service industry workers’ frustrations over job insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before receiving her master’s degree, she worked as a production assistant for Connecticut Public Television, as a legislative intern for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and as a legal assistant for an employment law firm in Boston. She is passionate about journalism that has an impact on local communities.
When she’s not writing or digging through data, you can find her trying out new recipes and exploring her New York City neighborhood. She works with the inewsource team remotely.
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.
DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY
Michael Ursell is the director of philanthropy at inewsource. A mission-driven development professional, he brings to inewsource a strong track record of working with philanthropists and foundations to support writers and artists. He now uses that experience to empower journalists.
Ursell spent five years building a robust development program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ marquee literary arts center, Black Mountain Institute. He directed development campaigns for projects, including The Believer, an acclaimed and beloved arts and culture magazine that was nominated for five National Magazine Awards between 2019-2020. He was a core member of the founding team behind The Believer Festival, an arts and culture event which was hailed by the New York Times for reflecting “a city that, it is often said, is what 21st-century America looks like.” Ursell was responsible for discovering funding models to sustain the festival and for adapting those models to an era of limited events during the pandemic. He also established funding partnerships to support Las Vegas’ City of Asylum, which provides refuge for writers who are imperiled in their home countries.
Before his time at UNLV, he was director of communications at Los Angeles Review of Books, where he managed communications campaigns and honed skills in digital strategy with the influential online literary magazine. He was also an editor for LARB’s poetry section. He came to LARB and moved into the nonprofit publishing world by winning a competitive fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and joining that academic organization’s Public Fellows program, which pairs recent doctorates with nonprofits throughout the U.S.
Ursell holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he wrote about English and French Renaissance poetry and taught many classes, from Shakespeare to intro composition. He also held a fellowship at Emory University’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry. His writing has appeared in both academic and popular venues including The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Literary Hub and Los Angeles Review of Books.
Omar Chavez is the philanthropy coordinator for inewsource. His experience with nonprofits dates back to 2015, working at Say San Diego, Just In Time For Foster Youth and now inewsource.
At Say San Diego, he started as a facilitator for a class titled “KEEP,” which worked with foster parents to reduce challenging behavior and increase positive reinforcement for children in foster care. He became a case manager at O’Farrell Middle School Family Resource Center helping students and their families access school supplies.
At Just In Time For Foster Youth, Chavez coordinated two programs: “Basic Needs” and “Bridges to Success.” Both programs provided resources to former foster youth, such as mentorship and financial assistance. While working at Just in Time for Foster Youth, Chavez had the opportunity to interview former first daughter Chelsea Clinton for JIT’s Coach Approach initiative.
Chavez earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at San Diego State University. He wrote and co-directed a play titled Peace of a Puzzle that was performed by SDSU students. When he is not reading a book on psychology, he is spending time with his son, playing music or editing videos.
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.