2021 San Diego SPJ Board Candidates

It’s time for San Diego SPJ’s annual election.

Here are the incumbents up for re-election.

Bianca Bruno

Bianca Bruno is the San Diego reporter for national online legal and politics website Courthouse News. She is currently SD SPJ secretary and has served on the board for three years.

While on the SD SPJ board I have advocated for young journalists, women and POC journalists and have served as chair of the Diversity Committee.

In 2020, I spearheaded our board’s efforts to establish a Journalist Relief Fund for San Diego journalists who lost full-time or freelance work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the fund, our board was able to give out more than $4,400 in grants to local journalists in 2020.

I also represented SD SPJ at the National SPJ conference in San Antonio in 2019 and currently work to amplify the work of our board and local professional and college journalists through our chapter’s social media channels and communications.

If re-elected, I will continue to prioritize ways to give back to SD SPJ members. I hope to have your vote to continue working on behalf of San Diego journalists and to collaborate with our professional journalist organization colleagues.

Matthew Halgren

As a First Amendment lawyer, I advise members of San Diego’s news media industry on all matters related to the reporting process, and I help them to avoid the legal pitfalls that can accompany the work of a free press. I have been honored to serve on the SDSPJ board since 2018, and it has been my great pleasure to work with this outstanding group to protect the rights of journalists throughout San Diego. If reelected, I look forward to continuing to lend my expertise to our chapter’s efforts to support, educate, and advocate for journalists in our community.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego who has served on the local SPJ board since 2013. She is a previous board president and has been a champion of the board’s increased focus on advocacy for local journalists and greater government transparency in recent years. She now serves on the board’s diversity and communications committees, and is passionate about what San Diego SPJ can do to help increase diversity and equity in local newsrooms. In her day job, Halverstadt reports extensively on San Diego’s homelessness crisis, city real estate debacles and other local government issues. Before joining VOSD in 2012, Halverstadt was a reporter at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

Elizabeth Marie Himchak

Incumbent Elizabeth Marie Himchak has served on the SPJ San Diego board since January 2019. She has chaired the contest/awards committee the past two years and added membership chair duties this year. Himchak has also been on the scholarship committee for two years. Prior to joining the board, she was an awards banquet committee member.

I have become very involved with board decisions, taken on leadership roles, assisted with SPJ chapter events and completed other board duties, such as judging contest entries from out-of-state chapters. I would appreciate your vote for another term.

Himchak is editor of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal and Poway News Chieftain, part of Union-Tribune Community Press. Before her promotion to editor in April 2020, she was a reporter for the newspapers for 15 years. Her beat included community news and events, politics, community government, schools, crime and the Palomar Health district. She is also the newspapers’ theater reviewer. The University of San Diego alumna started in journalism at The Vista, USD’s campus newspaper. Her professional career began as a freelance writer for newspapers such as The San Diego Union-Tribune and The Southern Cross.

Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp is the caregiving, senior care and Indigenous communities reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune. She previously wrote for inewsource, North Coast Current, Times of San Diego, The Daily Aztec at SDSU and was the editor in chief of The Mesa Press. Mapp was also a staff writer at Indian Time and The People’s Voice on the Akwesasne Kanien’kehá ka (Mohawk) Reservation before moving to San Diego in 2005. 

As a graduate of the journalism programs at San Diego State University and Mesa College, Mapp strives to give back to the next generation of journalism students through volunteering in honor of those who mentored and supported her during academic journey. During her first term on the SPJ board, she helped launch an initiative to improve diversity in San Diego’s media scene and increase equitable coverage of underrepresented communities. She has also volunteered as a mentor and guest speaker for college students and classes throughout the county. 

Mapp hopes to continue her support of media diversity and equity if elected for a second term on the board. 

Arthur Santana

I am a journalism professor at San Diego State University. For the past 13 years, I have taught and researched journalism. My research appears in peer-reviewed journals. Prior to joining academia, I was a reporter and editor for 14 years, including at the San Antonio Express-News, The Seattle Times and The Washington Post. I earned a B.A. from the University of Texas, an M.S. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. My first academic appointment was at the University of Houston. I joined SDSU in 2015. I have been advisor to the SDSU SPJ chapter for three years. I have been a SD pro chapter member since 2019.


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