2022 San Diego SPJ Board Candidates

It’s time for San Diego SPJ’s annual board elections.

San Diego Pro Chapter members, check your inboxes for election information on Thursday, June 9.

Here are the candidates running for election.

Jill Castellano
I have enjoyed my two years on the board of San Diego SPJ so far, and I’m glad that we’ve been able to accomplish important tasks while facing the COVID-19 pandemic. One of my proudest accomplishments was leading the diversity survey that measured the demographic background of editorial staff at newsrooms across San Diego. I learned a lot in the course of designing the survey and collecting the data, and I hope to use that to help improve upon the survey in the future and conduct it again to measure trends over time. I hope members choose to re-elect me to a second term.

Kelly Davis
Kelly Davis is a freelance investigative reporter who writes about incarceration and vulnerable populations. For the last several years, her work has focused on the high rate of deaths in San Diego County jails, prompting a state audit and proposed law to address deficiencies in jail medical and mental health care. Her stories have appeared in The Guardian, The Intercept, The Crime Report, Voice of San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The Imprint and The Appeal and have been honored by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.

Cody Dulaney
I’m running to serve the board of the San Diego SPJ because I want to support and elevate impactful journalism in a community I have grown to love. I’m originally from Florida and moved around the South before landing here in San Diego nearly three years ago, and for the first time, I feel like I found a home. I want to do everything I can to make San Diego a better place to live, and that starts with a strong Fourth Estate that holds government officials and the systems they run to account. In my time with inewsource, my award-winning investigative reporting has revealed mismanagement and neglect in COVID-19 hotel shelters run by San Diego County. As an SPJ board member, I would passionately advocate for more government transparency in the region, and push elected leaders and their communication teams to serve as a conduit rather than a barrier to matters of public concern.

Jakob McWhinney
I’m running to serve on the SPJ board to help people from diverse backgrounds find their voice in an industry that’s long suffered from homogeneity. My path to journalism was not the standard one. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit I was laid off and went from playing in bands to reporting – first at San Diego City College’s City Times, then as Voice of San Diego’s intern. Later this month I’ll start as Voice’s new education reporter.
At its best, journalism strengthens communities and gives individuals opportunities to be heard. But those who would most benefit from it are frequently not being reached or included in the conversation. Our backgrounds give us unique perspectives, and I believe journalism would be better off if a wider range of people were encouraged to pursue a career in the field. SPJ is in a unique position to help accomplish this.

Bella Ross
Before landing my current role as a community engagement specialist for The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, I worked in six other San Diego newsrooms as a freelancer, intern and employee. Navigating the local media environment early in my career taught me a lot about different newsroom cultures and how young professionals experience transitioning into the industry, particularly in the digital era. I want to be on the SPJ San Diego board because I believe my experiences as an early-career journalist who was deeply involved in student media and has worked in various newsroom capacities – from a writer, to editor to social media specialist and more – puts me in an ideal position to support other young professionals and understand their needs. I’m also passionate about government accountability and making information accessible and want to play a bigger role in advocating for transparency in the city I love.

Kristy Totten
My name is Kristy Totten and I’m an award-winning journalist with experience in print and broadcast. I’m an opinion editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune where I host the San Diego News Fix podcast and serve on the editorial board.
​I was appointed to the San Diego SPJ board in 2021, and I’m running for a second term to continue my work in mentorship and diversity. We recently launched a semester-long program to connect college students and recent graduates with experienced media professionals. As co-chair of mentorship, I look forward to refining and expanding the program to improve opportunities for young journalists. I’m also a member of SD-SPJ’s diversity committee, which surveyed news outlets about staff diversity and is now planning speakers series and workshops to improve diversity in local newsrooms.
I’m passionate about these projects and building community among journalists, and I’d be honored to serve another term.

Steve Walsh
I’m the military and veterans reporter at KPBS. I’ve been in San Diego for nearly 7 years and I’d like to give something back to our journalistic community.
At times it feels like journalism itself is in jeopardy. Our jobs are often precarious. Our role is being called into question. At the same time, we are finally becoming more diverse and the profession is at least open to new ideas.
I hope we can work together, including across the border, to promote a more open, transparent and safe environment for all journalists.
I’ve been in public media for over a decade. I was part of a project of Chicago Public Radio to promote new media and to diversify the audience. Before that, I was a print reporter in Gary, Indiana. I’d really like to help out.


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