Thank you for your interest in the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. For more information about our organization and our activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write to us at: San Diego SPJ, P.O. Box 880482, San Diego, CA 92168.
The SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter Board meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at The San Diego Union-Tribune, 600 B St, San Diego, CA 92101. SPJ members and guests are welcome to attend.
The 2021-22 SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter Board of Directors:
Freelance investigative reporter
Kelly has been a journalist in San Diego for nearly two decades, first as associate editor at San Diego CityBeat, which she helped start in 2002, then as an independent investigative reporter. Her work has included investigations into the high rate of deaths in San Diego County jails, conditions at county juvenile detention facilities and the city of San Diego’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness. Her reporting has 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
Andrew Bowen is the metro reporter for KPBS, where he covers local government, housing, transportation and cannabis policy on the radio, TV and web. Andrew serves on the KPBS Diversity Council and advocates for his colleagues in the newsroom as a member of the SAG-AFTRA steering committee. He has also moderated community events and discussions on housing and homelessness. Prior to moving to San Diego, Andrew worked for six years as a reporter, producer and translator in Germany. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism degree with a minor in Spanish from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He wants to serve on the San Diego SPJ board to build on our chapter’s successful member engagement and event planning, and to promote the visibility and representation of LGBTQ journalists in San Diego.
Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Editor, Rancho Bernardo News Journal and Poway News Chieftain
Elizabeth Marie Himchak was promoted to editor of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal and Poway News Chieftain in April 2020. Before that, she was assigned to the Rancho Bernardo News Journal as a staff reporter, starting in 2006. Both community newspapers are part of Union-Tribune Community Press, which is part of California Times. The Rancho Bernardo and Poway papers are also known locally as Pomerado Newspapers, where she started as a freelancer in 2005. Her articles occasionally appear in The San Diego Union-Tribune and other U-T Community Press newspapers. Elizabeth has covered community news and events, politics, community government, schools, crime and the Palomar Health district. She also has written features and theater reviews. The University of San Diego graduate 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.
Associate Professor of Journalism, San Diego State University
Arthur Santana is an associate professor of journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to joining SDSU in 2015, he was a journalism professor at the University of Houston. For the past 11 years, he has taught and researched journalism. His published research focuses on participatory media, user-generated content and the intersection of journalism, politics and social media. Prior to joining academia, Arthur was a reporter and editor for 14 years, including at the San Antonio Express-News, The Seattle Times and The Washington Post. He’s been the recipient of journalism awards from the Washington, D.C. Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. At the Post, he was part of a team of reporters who were nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. In 1993, Arthur earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He received an M.S. in 1996 from Columbia University, and in 2012, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. In the fall, Arthur will begin this third year as SPJ advisor to the SDSU SPJ chapter.
Bianca Bruno Reporter, Courthouse News
Bianca Bruno is the San Diego reporter for national online legal news outlet Courthouse News. When she landed her gig covering court, she was thrust into the years-old Trump University class action litigation that came to a head during President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. She became an expert on the case, writing dozens of stories and appearing on radio and T.V. programs. Bianca has covered multiple high-profile cases including the Comic Con trademark dispute, Rebecca Zahau wrongful death civil trial and a class action brought by U.S. sailors who were diagnosed with cancer and other health problems after serving in Fukushima, Japan during the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. As a SPJ Board member, Bianca hopes to advocate for young journalists trying to break into the field, particularly women and People of Color. Bianca attended the University of San Diego, graduating in 2013 with a double-major in Communication Studies and Ethnic Studies. She has worked for multiple San Diego news outlets including Voice of San Diego, KPBS and City News Service.
Investigative Data Reporter, inewsource
Jill Castellano is an investigative data reporter at inewsource. She has worked in New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Palm Springs before moving to San Diego. Her work focuses on using data to tell in-depth stories that expose wrongdoing and hold institutions accountable. Castellano 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.
Associate, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP
Matthew Halgren is an attorney specializing in journalism law and the First Amendment at the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, where he advises clients in the news media industry on matters related to the reporting process. He collaborates with journalists to obtain government records and to avoid the legal pitfalls that can accompany the work of a free press. He enjoys working on libel, copyright, reporter’s privilege, invasion of privacy, statutory and constitutional rights of access, and related matters. In law school, he worked as a member of the Yale Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, and, in college, he served on the editorial board of the Daily Princetonian. A fifth-generation San Diegan, Matthew is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the rest of the SD-SPJ board to promote journalism in the place that deservedly calls itself America’s Finest City.
Reporter, Voice of San Diego
Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter for Voice of San Diego. She covers city and county government and has written extensively about the region’s homelessness crisis. She previously headed up VOSD’s Fact Check efforts and embarked on weeks-long explanatory projects about topics as diverse as SeaWorld’s San Diego footprint and the region’s drone industry. Lisa joined VOSD in 2012 after four years at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. She first joined SPJ as a college student at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She’s been hooked ever since.
Lauren J. Mapp
Reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Lauren J. Mapp is a recent graduate from the San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies. She is currently the caregiving reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune. Over the years, Mapp has covered a variety of topics from public transportation and education to sustainability and the local food scene in San Diego. 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. During her time as an SPJ San Diego board member, Mapp aims to increase newsroom diversity and work to help increase equitable coverage of underrepresented communities.
Local Editor, San Diego Community Newspaper Group
Kendra Sitton is a local editor at San Diego Community Newspaper Group. Sitton serves as the editor of San Diego Uptown News and Downtown News and is also a freelance reporter for other publications, including East County Magazine. They grew up in East County and returned to San Diego after pursuing a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications with minors in Sociology and Global Cultural studies at Concordia University Irvine, where they graduated magna cum laude. Their articles on San Diego Police Department’s policies regarding transgender civilians, Dr. Lillian Faderman’s history of lesbianism, and the Arab film festival received San Diego Press Club awards in 2019. As a member of the queer community, Sitton is most proud of their work bringing LGBT+ issues to the forefront.
Jared Whitlock is a freelance reporter, with clips in national publications like Wired Magazine and local outlets like Voice of San Diego.
His watchdog reporting has uncovered shortcomings in San Diego’s senior care industry and mental health system. Occasionally Jared writes about sports, including a New York Times piece on San Diego night surfers that appeared on the front page of the publication’s sports section.
Before freelance life, he was a health care, biotech and projects reporter at the San Diego Business Journal. Other highlights of his resume: associate editor of the Encinitas Advocate and staff reporter at The Coast News.
He was also a recipient of a 2019 impact grant from USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.
Jared holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Diego State University.