Executive Director, Editor, and Founder
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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.
Assistant Director and Senior Reporter
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.
Director of Data and Visuals
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.
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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.
Donor Engagement Manager
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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.
Investigative Data Reporter
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.
Investigative Reporter - Infrastructure and Government Accountability
Mary Plummer is an investigative reporter at inewsource focusing on infrastructure and government accountability stories.
Before joining inewsource, Plummer worked at Southern California Public Radio/KPCC for nearly eight years. She was the station’s lead political reporter during the 2016 and 2018 elections. She also worked as an editor, education reporter and radio producer during her time there.
In 2018, Plummer co-moderated a California gubernatorial debate at the University of Southern California. She also led an award-winning community voting project for KPCC, and co-reported stories that earned back to back wins for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association in 2017 and 2018.
Plummer began her career in broadcast at ABC News in London, where she assisted with TV stories for the network’s news lineup and covered Europe for ABCNews.com.
She received her master’s degree in journalism with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, and her undergraduate degree from Chapman University in Orange. Plummer has been featured on NPR’s Up First podcast, and her work has been published by The New York Times, PBS/THIRTEEN and KQED, among other outlets. Plummer grew up in Anchorage, Alaska.
Investigative Reporter - Health
Cheryl Clark became an expert in the massive changes that would come from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prevent medical harm and overutilization of the healthcare system during her six plus years as senior quality editor with Boston-based HealthLeaders Media.
She has won numerous awards, including the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation's $10,000 prize in 2015 for her magazine article on faster recognition and treatment of deadly sepsis. Her weekly column had 40,000 subscribers.
Clark was one of 30 participants of a roundtable that led to a 2015 report, "Shining a Light. Safer Health Care Through Transparency" produced by the National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute.
She resigned from HealthLeaders in May, 2015 to spend time developing underreported stories, writing for MedPage Today and other publications.
In October, Clark was among 12 journalists selected for the first Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute's comparative effectiveness fellowship in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Association of Health Care Journalists.
For 27.5 years, she covered medicine and science for The San Diego Union-Tribune. In the mid 1980s, she established one of the nation's first specialty beats on HIV and AIDS for a major newspaper. She also covered energy and environment for The Sacramento Bee and was a Nieman Foundation fellowship finalist. Clark also worked for The San Francisco Chronicle and co-owned and edited a weekly newspaper in Columbia, MD.
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 and a Society of Professional Journalists New America 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.
Social Media and Web Producer
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.
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Natallie Rocha, a senior studying journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, is an inewsource investigative reporting intern.
This past summer, Rocha participated in the Dow Jones News Fund 2019 Business Reporting program and interned at Fortune magazine in New York City. Additionally, Rocha interned at a local newspaper in Brooklyn and was a staff writer for her college newspaper, The Point Weekly.
Rocha is a San Diego native who grew up in North County. She expects to graduate from college this spring.