Spotlight Club

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San Diego and our nation need fearless, nonpartisan truth-tellers to unearth the facts about decisions, policies and practices affecting our daily lives. We invite you to become part of a growing network of donors and philanthropists who view credible and in-depth journalism as critical to a functioning democracy.

The Spotlight Club was created by inewsource to enrich members’ experience with investigative journalism, and to provide these loyal members with more access to the work of inewsource reporters.

Membership is open to all donors who give $1,000 or more annually. As a Spotlight Club member, you become part of a prestigious group of friends dedicated to supporting investigative reporting. Join today and enjoy a full year of “behind the story” insights, events and benefits.

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Lorie Hearn, John Adams and Sheila Krumholz.

The Spotlight Club marked its two-year anniversary on Oct. 7 -- just a month before the midterm elections -- with a provocative discussion of dark money, the secret, unlimited currency that fuels and influences elections. The flow of this often untraceable money could hit records this cycle.

More than 100 club members shared drinks, appetizers and conversation at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, which generously hosted the event. Investigative reporter John S. Adams, who is the star of the PBS documentary Dark Money, came in from Montana, and Sheila Krumholz, one of the nation’s experts in campaign finance, joined us from Washington, D.C., where she heads the Center for Responsive Politics.

Campaign finance is the gateway to any issue you care about, whether it’s education, health, transportation or the environment. That was a theme of the conversation, moderated by inewsource Executive Director and Editor Lorie Hearn. John inspired the crowd with the story of his pursuit of the money that funded vicious flyers that clearly steered the outcome of state elections in Montana. Sheila broke down the maze of campaign finance channels through which hundreds of millions of dollars flow.

Len Downie, Jr. talks with Nancy Spector and David Lyons. Judge Margaret McKeown and Alan Spector.

The Spotlight Club celebrated the First Amendment on Feb. 10 with an exciting exchange between federal Judge Margaret McKeown, who shared her insights into court decisions on freedom of speech, and Len Downie Jr., the former executive editor of the Washington Post, who took us into the newsroom and onto the movie set.

The backdrop for the conversation, entitled, “First Amendment: From the Pentagon Papers to the Twittersphere” was the new film, The Post, about the court battle over publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. We gathered at e3 Civic High School in the downtown San Diego library.

Quote of the night came from Judge McKeown:

“President Nixon called Daniel Ellsberg a son of a bitch, and he said ‘Ellsberg gets to be a national hero ... and the New York Times and the Washington Post get a Pulitzer prize. So what's the world coming to?’ I would say to President Nixon: Thank God for the Post, thank God for the Times and thank God for citizens like Ellsberg. And that's what the world’s coming to.”

Len, who was an editor at the Post at the time, was technical adviser for the movie and he delighted with outtakes. One gem: He said: Meryl Streep didn’t engage in small talk on the set because she was always in character. Director Steven Spielberg called her Katharine and her chair on the set said Katharine Graham.

Diana Henriques spoke to Spotlight Club members about Wall Street and her new book, A First-Class Catastrophe, in September 2017.
Diana Henriques spoke to Spotlight Club members about Wall Street and her new book, A First-Class Catastrophe, in September 2017.

The Spotlight Club celebrated its first anniversary on Sept. 14 with national media headliner: New York Times investigative financial journalist Diana Henriques. She discussed the darkest days on Wall Street, focusing on Black Monday, the worst day for the markets in history. That day, Oct. 19, 1987, is the subject of her newest book, A First-Class Catastrophe. Henriques warned that not much has changed since then.

“I don't know when we're going to have another crash,” she told Spotlight Club members at an exclusive event, “but I do know we are going to have another crisis.”

Diana followed in the impressive Spotlight Club tradition, prompting rich conversation about issues that define our times. You may have seen her (playing herself) in the HBO film, "The Wizard of Lies," based on a book she wrote about Bernie Madoff.

inewsource Spotlight Club members gathered for an event featuring New York Times investigative financial reporter Diana Henriques in September 2017. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

The Spotlight Club launched on Sept. 16, 2016 with a discussion of investigative journalism and the critical need for it. Walter “Robby” Robinson, who headed the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team during its Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of the Catholic Church, applauded the work of inewsource, telling the audience, "inewsource is one of the best investigative nonprofits in the country."

Celebrating how inewsource meets the need for investigative journalism in the region was the theme of the Spotlight launch party. From left, inewsource board president Karin Winner, Walter "Robby" Robinson and inewsource executive director Lorie Hearn.

Over the past year, Spotlight Club members have been treated to equally provocative events. In February a panel of nationally known journalists examined the "Pursuit of Truth in the 21st Century." They included Rosalind Helderman, of the Washington Post, and Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity.

"Pursuit of Truth in the 21st Century" event, February 2017.

inewsource staff invited a conversation about "Fake News" – how to tell fact from fiction – at a recent summer social and tested club members with a fake news quiz.


"Alternative Facts/New Reality" event, July 2017.

Get to know our staff and our work. Join the Spotlight Club today by clicking here.

We also welcome corporate members in the club.

Upcoming events:

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Spotlight Club Membership Levels and Benefits

Inside Source - $1,000+

  • Advance alerts of upcoming news stories
  • “Behind the Deadline” videos about key stories, direct from the reporters who wrote them
  • Invitations to Spotlight Club events, featuring prominent names in the media
  • Monthly “Inside inewsource” updates from the Executive Director
  • Studio Tour hosted by Executive Director/Editor, and personal introduction to inewsource reporters
  • Recognition as a Spotlight Club member on website, at signature events and in newsletters

Headliner - $2,500+

  • All of the above, plus...
  • Invitations to “Coffee with the Editor,” highlighting insider updates and discussion of pressing San Diego concerns and stories

Illuminator - $5,000+

  • All of the above, plus...
  • Invitations to private VIP salon events
  • Personal service ombudsman, Carla Sánchez, to answer questions and to accommodate requests from members

Fourth Estate - $10,000+

  • All of the above, plus...
  • Dinner with the Editor (with option to include four additional guests)
  • Special opportunities to meet with prominent names in the media and to invite guests
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Spotlight Club Members

Major Impact Ambassadors - $25,000+

The Hervey Family Fund
Joan and Irwin Jacobs
Allison and Robert Price
Nita and Henk van der Werff
Karin Winner

Fourth Estate - $10,000+

Stephanie Bergsma and Dwight Hare
Marilyn Creson-Brown and James Brown
Una Davis and Jack McGrory
Amy Ginnow
Kim Godwin and Tom Wilcox

Linda and Mel Katz
Jordanna Polis-Schutz
Susan Polis-Schutz and Stephen Schutz
Deborah Szekely
Sandra Timmons and Richard Sandstrom

Illuminator - $5,000+

Dede and Michael Alpert
Catherine and Phil Blair
Peter Cooper
Paula Cordeiro
Martha and Ed Dennis
Phyllis and Dan Epstein
Anne Evans
Susanna and Michael Flaster
Pam and Hal Fuson
Joyce Gattas
William Grosskopf

Carol Lazier and Jay Merritt
Barbara Lee
Karen and John Liu
Mitch and David Lynn
Patti Roscoe and Jim Tiffany
Stacy and Don Rosenberg
Paula Taylor and Bernie Kulchin
Gayle and Phil Tauber
Amy and Horacio Valeiras
Patricia and Christopher Weil
Katherine and Keene Wolcott

Headliner - $2,500+

Terry Atkinson
John Caple
Cheryl Clark
Ruth Covell
Emily and Dan Einhorn
Alicia and Charles Foster

Connie Matsui and Bill Beckman
Judy McDonald
Pamela Mudd
Mel Opotowsky
Paula and Brian Powers


Inside Source - $1,000+

Kate Adams
Connie and Cam Baher
Valerie Barker
Jacqueline Bell
Heather Bergman and Matt Steiner
David Bergsma
Joye Blount and Jessie Knight Jr.
Joan and Daniel Brown
Anne-Marie Caple
Candace Carroll and Len Simon
Carol and Jeff Chang
Judy Clarke and Speedy Rice
Bret Cleveland and Robert Algeni
Deidre Collins-Burnett and Brad Burnett
Amy Corton and Carl Eibl
Guylyn and Scott Cummins
Kelly Davenport and Mark DeBoskey
Ingrid de Llamas
Jendy Dennis
Nina and Bob Doede
Julie and Mitch Dubick
Sr. RayMonda DuVall
Jane and Thompson Fetter
Pat Finn
Katherine Fitzhugh and John Martin
Elisabeth and Brian Forbes
Theresa Foudy
Barbara Freeman
Leticia and David Fuhriman
Hanna and Mark Gleiberman
Renita Greenberg
Eileen Haag and Ira Lechner
Laura and Guy Halgren
Elaine Halliday
Marjorie Hansen-Shaevitz and Morton Shaevitz
Barbara and Jim Hartung
Ruth Hayward
Lorie Hearn
Ida Houby and Bill Miller
Joanne Hutchinson and David Cooper
Nancy Jamison and Mark Dillon
Jay Jeffcoat

Richard Katz
Marci Kerr
Sheryl and Kenneth King
Janet Klauber and Jim Melli
Veronica Lee
Gail and Marty Levin
Sheila and Jeff Lipinsky
Susan and John Magee
Susan and Mike Marrinan
Margaret M. McKeown and Peter Cowhey
Maggie and Paul Meyer
Fenner Milton
Andrée Morin
Mary and Walter Munk
Kathy and Tom Munro
Bob Nelson
Elizabeth and Dene Oliver
Cindy and George Olmstead
Linda Pinney
Dolores Pretorius
Michael Price
Gigie and Larry Price
Martha Ranson
Rebecca Reichmann-Tavares and Ricardo Tavares
Julie Ruedi and Robert Engler
Blair Sadler
Susan and Edward Sanderson
Donna and Charles Sevilla
Lynn Schenk
Susan Shirk and Sam Popkin
Nancy and Alan Spector
Susanne Stanford
Kat and Ted Steuer
Cookie and Tom Sudberry
Lori and Paul Thiel
John Venekamp
Audrey Viterbi
Will Vukmanic
Mary Walshok
Cynthia Wingard
Laura Wingard and Michael Schuerman
Wilda Wong
Dale Yahnke
Ann Zahner


Spotlight Club Corporate Members

We are delighted to offer corporate memberships in the Spotlight Club beginning at $2,500 annually.

Corporate memberships

  • Advance alerts of upcoming news stories
  • "Behind the Deadline" videos about key stories, direct from the reporters who wrote them
  • Invitations for two representatives to Spotlight Club events, featuring prominent national and local leaders, celebrities, and accomplished media executives and reporters
  • Studio Tour hosted by Executive Director/Editor, and personal introduction to inewsource reporters
  • Recognition as a Spotlight Club corporate member on website
  • Monthly "Inside inewsource" updates from the Executive Director
  • Personal service ombudsman, Carla Sánchez, to answer questions and to accommodate requests from members
Join Now!

Spotlight Club corporate members

The San Diego Foundation