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 email@example.com. 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 2019-20 SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter Board of Directors:
Executive Investigative Producer, NBC San Diego
Tom Jones is an award-winning investigative journalist working with NBC News in San Diego. He produces weekly consumer content for the station’s consumer investigative unit, NBC 7 Responds and also assists with the station’s investigative team, NBC 7 Investigates. Growing up on California’s Central Coast, Tom has been working in a broadcast newsroom for over 10 years. He loves digging into a good story lead and a fresh dataset to analyze.
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.
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.
Outreach Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Andrew Kleske works for The San Diego Union-Tribune as reader outreach editor. He graduated from San Diego State University and has taught journalism courses at University of California San Diego since 1998, where he developed the university’s first online journalism curriculum. Andrew has been on the SPJ board so long he can’t remember when he joined, but he served as president at some point along the way. Andrew also is a former board member and past president of the San Diego Press Club. Prior to joining the Union-Tribune, Andrew was online editor for the North County Times and The Californian newspapers and was the editor of The San Diego Daily Transcript, the first comprehensive online daily newspaper in Southern California.
Managing Editor, Snopes.com
Brooke Binkowski is a veteran local, national, and international journalist who was born and mostly raised in San Diego. Before returning to her hometown, she worked as a reporter for KNX and KPCC in Los Angeles; as an anchor and reporter for CNN in Atlanta; as an anchor and reporter for KFQD in Anchorage, Alaska; and as a far-ranging independent journalist all over the world. After working as a beat reporter in Los Angeles, she spent years traveling and reporting on humanitarian and post-conflict situations in every medium. She is widely recognized as an expert in disinformation and propaganda and how to effectively combat it with responsible and transparent enterprise journalism. Binkowski is managing editor of fact-checking website Snopes.com, overseeing a small yet mighty crew of world-class researchers and reporters.
Kelly Davis has been a journalist in San Diego for 14 years, first as associate editor at San Diego CityBeat, which she helped start in 2002, and now as an independent investigative reporter with a focus on criminal justice and vulnerable populations. Her work has included investigations into the high rate of deaths in San Diego County jails and conditions at county juvenile detention facilities. She’s written extensively about California’s sex offender laws and the city of San Diego’s ongoing efforts to address its large homelessness population. She also writes a weekly cocktail blog, SD Sips, for San Diego Magazine. 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.
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.
Lisa HalverstadtReporter, 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.
Elizabeth Marie Himchak has been assigned to the Rancho Bernardo News Journal since 2006. It is part of Union-Tribune Community Press, which includes the Poway News Chieftain. The RB 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’s beat includes 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 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.
Lauren J. Mapp
Lauren J. Mapp is a recent graduate from the San Diego State University School of Journalism and Media Studies. She is currently an intern at inewsource, a contributing editor at Times of San Diego and a freelance reporter for North Coast Current. 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 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.
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.
Reporter, Associated Press
Elliot Spagat is a San Diego correspondent for the Associated Press. His reporting focuses on the U.S.-Mexico border and general news on San Diego and the Imperial Valley. Before joining the AP’s San Diego bureau in 2003, he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Dallas, Dow Jones Newswires in New York and Mexico City and the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale, Calif. He’s a graduate of Grinnell College and began his journalism career in Mexico and Central America.
Megan Wood is a videographer, photographer and reporter for inewsource. She started at inewsource as a photo and video intern while a journalism student at San Diego State University. Wood focuses on accountability journalism, particularly in schools, and provides photography and videos for stories by her inewsource colleagues.