Health and Welfare Reporter
Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multi-media journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she produced stories about community health. Her reporting there revealed lead-tainted soil on school campuses near a former lead battery recycling plant that spurred district action. Previously Aguilera was a staff writer at the San Diego Union-Tribune where she covered immigration and demographics. At the U-T, she won a “Best of the West” award for her coverage of sex trafficking between Mexico and the United States. At the Denver Post, where Aguilera wrote about urban affairs and business, she was named a Livingston Award finalist for her reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Aguilera has also worked at the Orange County Register. She is a Marshall Memorial Fellow and an International Center for Journalists alum. She is also a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The L.A. native is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the University of Southern California. She lives in Los Angeles.
Editorial intern, College Journalism Network
Vanessa Arredondo recently graduated from UC Berkeley. Originally from Los Angeles, she got her start in journalism by working for the Pierce College Roundup newspaper at her community college. She is a part of CalMatters’ inaugural College Journalism Network class.
Rachel Becker is a reporter with a background in scientific research. After studying the links between the brain and the immune system, Rachel left the lab bench with her master’s degree to become a journalist via the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing. For nearly three years, Rachel was a staff science reporter at The Verge, where she wrote stories and hosted videos covering a range of beats including climate change, nicotine, and nuclear technology. Her byline has also appeared in NOVA Next, National Geographic News, Smithsonian, Slate, Nature, Nature Medicine, bioGraphic, and Hakai Magazine, as well as the PBS Digital Studios video series Gross Science and the YouTube show MinuteEarth. Rachel is now an environment reporter for CalMatters, where she covers climate change and California’s environmental policies.
Data Viz Reporter
Lo Bénichou is a visual journalist at CalMatters. Prior to joining the team, they worked at Mapbox and at a number of media organizations like WIRED, Youth Radio, KQED, NPR. At Mapbox, they supported journalists in creating compelling stories using maps and data. They also led partnerships with media organizations like Buzzfeed, Mother Jones, and The Patriot Act.
Autumn is a marketing intern at CalMatters. She is a May 2020 graduate of The University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism in Convergence – Emerging Media. Autumn was involved in many campus organizations and just finished up her term as Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists – Ale chapter. Autumn has previously worked with Las Vegas Review-Journal, Global Journalist, Delight Ministries, NBC’s KOMU 8 News and VisualMax Digital Marketing Agency. Autumn spends her free time working on her creative outlet, her YouTube channel. In her future career, Autumn hopes to utilize her versatile skill set to enhance a brand’s marketing and communication operations.
Economic Inequality Reporter
Jackie covers income inequity and economic survival for the The California Divide collaboration. She has reported for the Data and Enterprise desk for Reuters News and for her hometown paper, The Santa Barbara Independent. Her reporting on immigration, the environment, and justice has appeared in Reuters, Pacific Standard, Public Radio International’s “The World,” and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications. A graduate of Stanford University’s master’s program in journalism, she received the James S. Robinson student journalism award for a multimedia series that documented the impacts of wildfires on immigrant communities in Northern California in 2017. Jackie is a Report for America corps member.
Economic Inequality Reporter
Ricardo Cano covers California education for CalMatters. Cano joined CalMatters in September 2018 from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, where he spent three years as the education reporter. Cano has been a finalist for three awards, a Livingston Award for Young Journalists honoring outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35, an Education Writers Association award for data journalism and two consecutive Arizona Press Club awards for public service journalism.
Julie Cart joined CalMatters as a projects and environment reporter in 2016 after a long career at the Los Angeles Times, where she held many positions: sportswriter, national correspondent and environment reporter. In 2009 she and colleague Bettina Boxall won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for their series on wildfires in the West.
Web Producer/General Assignment Reporter
Elizabeth is a general assignment reporter for CalMatters. She graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While in college at Chico, Elizabeth did internships with the local NPR affiliate and the local alt weekly. She’s been the editor-in-chief of her school paper both at Chico and, previously, at community college in Bakersfield, where she grew up. Elizabeth is a Dow Jones News Fund and NPR Next Generation Radio alum.
Neil Chase is the Chief Executive Officer of CalMatters. He was formerly Executive Editor at The Mercury News and the East Bay Times and has worked as a journalist at the San Francisco Examiner, Arizona Republic, CBS MarketWatch and The New York Times.
Ben covers California politics and elections. Prior to that, he was a contributing writer for CalMatters reporting on the state’s economy and budget. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has written for San Francisco magazine, California magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Priceonomics. Ben also has a past life as an aspiring beancounter: He has worked as a summer associate at the Congressional Budget Office and has a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Salinas Californian CA Divide Reporter
Kate Cimini is a reporter with the Salinas Californian and CalMatters’ California Divide project. She covers economic inequality, agriculture, and housing. Previously, she covered national security, natural disasters, and sports. Her work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle, USA Today, VICE, The Athletic, Sports Illustrated online, and others.
Deputy Editor /California Divide project
Marla Cone is a deputy editor at CalMatters who directs our California Divide project. Previously she was a senior editor for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she created and led a new initiative investigating Trump administration policies related to science. Cone also was senior editor/environment at National Geographic magazine and an environmental reporter at the Los Angeles Times for 18 years. She has won two national environmental reporting awards, and her book “Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic” was a finalist for a National Academies Communications Award. She taught at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she was the first Hewlett Foundation fellow for environmental journalism.
John Osborn D’Agostino is an award-winning web developer, data journalist and game designer. Previously, he’s worked with The Hechinger Report, EdSource, the East Bay Express, Berkeleyside, and the North Coast Journal. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
San Jose Mercury CA Divide Reporter
Laurence covers inequality and economic survival at The Mercury News for the California Divide project. She has reported on child abuse and the coronavirus pandemic as a research assistant for the Investigative Reporting Program in a collaboration with The New York Times. Previously, she received the Society of Professional Journalists James Madison Student Journalist FOI Award for her investigation of police officers with criminal records as part of a statewide coalition of news organizations. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Laurence speaks French and Spanish and is a Report for America corps member.
CA Divide Reporter
Nigel Duara joined CalMatters in 2020 as a Los Angeles-based reporter covering poverty and inequality issues for our California Divide collaboration. Previously, he served as a national and climate correspondent on the HBO show VICE News Tonight. Before that, he was the border correspondent at the Los Angeles Times based in Phoenix, deployed to stories across the country. He is a longtime contributor to Portland Monthly magazine and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Trevor Eischen is the membership director at CalMatters. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as the social media editor at POLITICO, where he strategized digital promotion efforts during the tumultuous 2016 election and the first year of the Trump administration. He started in the POLITICO newsroom as a web producer in 2013. A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Eischen is originally from Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, where every Halloween a person dressed up as the Headless Horseman rides around a giant bonfire. In his spare time, he enjoys drinking beer, going on impromptu road trips, seeing the nation’s statehouses and being a Luxembourger.
Barbara Feder Ostrov, Contributing Writer for CalMatters, has reported on medicine and health policy for more than 15 years. She most recently covered California and national health issues for Kaiser Health News. Previously, she covered the medical beat for the San Jose Mercury News for eight years and edited the website of the Center for Health Journalism at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. She also worked at The Palm Beach Post and the Miami Herald. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Atlantic.com, Salon, Scientific American, PBS NewsHour, NPR, CNN.com, Ms. Magazine and Women’s Day among other media outlets. She has won awards from the Society for Women’s Health Research, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Florida Press Club. She is based in San Jose, California.
Courtney is the marketing coordinator at CalMatters, where she focuses on developing audience relationships. She was an Editor-in-Chief at Cosumnes River College’s student newspaper before transferring to and graduating from Sacramento State University with a degree in communication studies. Courtney joined CalMatters as an intern from the Emma Bowen Foundation.
La Opinion CA Divide Reporter
Jacqueline Garcia is a reporter covering poverty and inequality issues for our California Divide collaboration. She is based at La Opinion newspaper in Los Angeles, where she has covered issues ranging from immigration and politics to health and education. Previously, she reported for Hispanic Link News Service in Washington D.C., Noticias 62 [KRCA Estrella TV] and Eastern Group Publications [EGP News] in Los Angeles. Garcia is originally from Puebla, Mexico and until 2017—when she gained her legal residency—she was a participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish language journalism.
Vicki Haddock came to CalMatters as its managing editor in 2016. A veteran of Bay Area journalism, she had been senior writer for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Insight analysis section, Sunday editor of the San Francisco Examiner, political editor at the Oakland Tribune, and founding editor of California Magazine’s online news site. She holds a degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a certificate in digital media from UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute.
Lauren covers the state economy for CalMatters, with a focus on jobs and business regulation. Her past stories have been published by the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Guardian, Slate and the BBC. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Protocol and the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Lauren grew up in Ohio, studied the history of social movements at George Washington University and holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Emily Hoeven writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for CalMatters. Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco Business Times, the Flathead Beacon, the Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Mercury News. Emily graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and French and studied English at the University of Cambridge, England as a Thouron Summer Prize fellow. She speaks French fluently and spent a year teaching English in Châteauroux, France.
Ana is a Sacramento-based health reporter. She joined CalMatters in 2020 after four years at Kaiser Health News, where she covered California health care and policy. She started her reporting career at McClatchy’s Merced Sun-Star. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and many other state and national news outlets. She is a 2015 fellow of the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg and a Cal Poly Pomona graduate.
Co-Founder David Lesher is a veteran California journalist and state policy expert. He co-founded CalMatters in 2015 and led the organization as Editor/CEO until December 2018, when he continued to serve as Editor-in-Chief. Previously, he was Director of Government Affairs at the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank focused on state policy issues. Lesher has more than 25 years of journalism experience, largely at the Los Angeles Times where he was a political writer, state Capitol reporter and assistant national editor for the White House campaign. He also has served as Editor of California Journal magazine and as California Director for the New America Foundation.
Data and Housing Reporter
Matt Levin is the data and housing dude for CalMatters. His work entails distilling complex policy topics into easily digestible charts and graphs, finding and writing original stories from data, yelling at his computer for something he did wrong in his code, and complaining about his rent on “Gimme Shelter”, the housing podcast he co-hosts. Matt’s award-winning housing and data reporting has been featured on Marketplace, NPR’s Here & Now, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Matt is a former research associate for the Public Policy Institute of California, where he specialized in quantitative analysis of poverty and social policy. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from UCLA and an MS in Journalism from USC, but he’ll always consider himself a Cal bear.
Judy covers state finances, workforce and economic issues for CalMatters. Her motto: Accounting for California, one tax dollar at a time. She brings more than a decade of government reporting experience from the Associated Press, Sacramento Bee and Detroit News. She’s a long-time member of the Asian American Journalists Association.
Marjie Lundstrom is a deputy editor who works with reporters covering health, children and youth, and the state Capitol. She has been a senior editor, investigative reporter, national correspondent and columnist at multiple outlets, including The Denver Post, The Sacramento Bee and, most recently, FairWarning in Southern California. In 1991, she and colleague Rochelle Sharpe of Gannett News Service were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for stories revealing flawed death investigations of children. The former writing coach for McClatchy, she also was a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute in Florida, teaching journalism ethics and news writing. She was honored in 2008 by the California Newspaper Publishers Association for her “lifelong commitment to the public’s right to know.
Byrhonda Lyons is an award-winning video journalist for CalMatters. She creates compelling video news stories that engage and educate viewers about policy and politics in California. Her work has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, KPBS, KVIE-PBS, and local television stations throughout California. She won an EPPY and an award from the California News Publishers Association (CNPA) for CalMatters’ 2018 Elections Guide. She also won a first-place CNPA award for producing a climate change explainer. Prior to joining CalMatters, she was a freelance video producer and worked as a digital media specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. She was also an editor for the San Quentin News, an inmate-run newspaper in California. Byrhonda is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. When she’s not working, you can catch her searching archives for trailblazing black women who have been left out of history books.
College Journalism Network Editor
Felicia Mello edits CalMatters’ College Journalism Network, a collaboration with student journalists across California to cover higher education from the ground up. Her reporting on affordability, equity and innovation at California colleges and universities has earned awards from the California News Publishers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists Northern California chapter. She was a finalist for the Education Writers Association’s beat reporting prize in 2018. Felicia came to CalMatters from Las Vegas, where she built the digital team at Vegas Seven magazine and served as the Nevada reporter for the Center for Public Integrity’s nationwide investigation of transparency in state governments. She has also contributed stories to The Washington Post, The Nation, NPR and CNN’s Parts Unknown, among others. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.
Liliana is a Production Assistant at CalMatters. She previously worked at The Associated Press and Miami Herald, as well as Peru’s El Comercio. Originally from Lima, Peru, she graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2018.
Jacob Ohara is the video intern at CalMatters. Originally from San Diego, he now studies journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Prior to CalMatters, Jacob was the video editor at The Daily Northwestern and taught documentary filmmaking at the Mediterranean Film Festival School. He is passionate about empowering others through digital media, especially video and graphic design.
Director of Development
Lanita Pace-Hinton is the Director of Development for CalMatters. She works with the development team in executing their fundraising strategy. She previously worked as the deputy director for EdSource, an Oakland-based nonprofit education media organization. She was the founding director of the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Angie is the Revenue team intern at CalMatters. She has had a variety of internships, including KQED, where she worked in member services; CIR’s Reveal, where she was responsible for fact checking, court records searches and public records requests. Angie also had an internship at Pactio, a news startup whose journalists cover business, climate and water news in California, and where her duties included data analysis and visuals for marketing campaigns. At the Alabama Media Group, the state’s leading media organization, she did design and handled social media. Angie’s a 2020 graduate of Wellesley College with a BA in Cinema and Media Studies.
Marcia was Editorial Director for Patch’s West Coast local news sites, CIR’s California Watch site launch manager, and Assistant Dean at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is on the Institute for Nonprofit News board, the Stanford Knight Journalism Fellowships selection committee, and teaches at Northwestern University’s SF campus.
Richard Procter is an assistant editor at CalMatters, leading coverage of housing, education and technology. Prior to joining CalMatters, he was the editor-in-chief of SF Weekly and the special projects editor at the San Francisco Business Times. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, Forbes, and Polygon, and won multiple California News Publishers Association awards. He is a graduate of UC Davis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Omar Rashad is an editorial intern at CalMatters covering higher education. He frequently reports on homelessness, housing, education and state legislation and is most interested in exploring how those topics intersect with culture and religion. Rashad attended El Camino College in Torrance, CA for two years and was the editor-in-chief of its independent student-run newspaper, The Union. He will be transferring to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this fall as a junior in its undergraduate journalism program.
Gary Reed is the Commentary Editor at CalMatters. His journalism experience ranges from reporter in Virginia, to assistant managing editor in Pasadena, to editorial board member of The Sacramento Bee. He has won awards for sports column writing, and for editing a series on AIDS as a local issue and for an investigative series on abuses at a California funeral home.
Director of Events
Vanessa is a former business journalist who has covered personal investing, venture capital, startups and business management for publications like Entrepreneur, Money, the San Francisco Business Times and the Sacramento Business Journal. Her portfolio also includes marketing work for clients like Intuit and Wells Fargo. For a change of pace, she used her scuba diving certification to edit Undercurrent, a Consumer Reports-style newsletter covering all things scuba, marine life and the oceans. She’s also focused on the business of events and new ways to get journalism in front of, and more connected to, the public. Vanessa led events for INFORUM, the division of The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco that serves people in their 20s and 30s. Then she came home to her native Sacramento to launch California Groundbreakers, which creates civic engagement through live local events. With beer, wine and cocktails.
Fresno Bee CA Divide Reporter
Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a journalist at The Fresno Bee and reports for The California Divide. He grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and attended Fresno City College and Fresno State. He has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.
Linda Rogers has been with CalMatters since 2016, following a 22-year career at the Los Angeles Times. She has extensive experience handling news, analysis and investigations, emphasizing accountability in public policy and politics. As California Political Editor at the Los Angeles Times, she oversaw the Sacramento bureau, ran state campaign and election coverage and managed public opinion polls conducted with USC. Linda has also directed and edited coverage of nonpolitical California news and international affairs. Before coming to California she was Editor of World Press Review magazine in New York City. She has degrees in English and journalism from the University of Michigan.
Laurel covers California politics for CalMatters, with a focus on power and personalities in the statehouse. Her stories explain political dynamics in the Capitol and examine how money, advocacy and relationships shape the decisions that affect Californians. Laurel also hosts the Force Of Law podcast, which follows California’s attempt to reduce police shootings. She joined CalMatters in 2015 after more than a dozen years as a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, where she covered state politics and education. Laurel is a native Californian and holds a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Business Services Manager
Nazneen has over 10 years of experience in administration, client relations, government affairs and program & project management. Before CalMatters, Nazneen was Director of Operations for Kimberly Ellis for California, where she managed communications, project management, administration and finances, outreach, and events. Prior to that job, she was the State Program Manager for Emerge California, with responsibility for program coordination and event management, communications and administration. Nazneen has a University of California, Irvine, Extension Certification in Project Management and she graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Political Science. She is a Californian native who spends her free time building audience for her dogs Instagram.
Engagement Reporting Intern
Janelle Salanga, Engagement Reporting intern, College Journalism Network
Janelle Salanga is the the assistant campus news editor of The California Aggie, UC Davis’s student-run paper, where she reports on grassroots movements, creates engagement initiatives and puts together newsroom workshops. She is a part of CalMatters’ inaugural College Journalism Network fellowship cohort and comes to CalMatters through the Emma Bowen Foundation. Originally from Tracy, her first journalism stint was at the Tracy Press; once she graduates, she hopes to continue reporting in the Central Valley.
Office and Studio Manager
Andrea Santana graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts. Prior to arriving at CalMatters, she worked for the Sacramento Public Library.
Director of Donor Engagement
Priyanka is responsible for the earned revenue – advertising, sponsorships and institutional memberships – and major gifts at CalMatters. Previously, she ran the Tech Content Marketing Studio at Informa, a multinational publishing and events corporation, consulting with clients from Fortune 500 companies. A long time tech reporter and editor, Priyanka used to run her own Silicon Valley content, marketing and strategy consulting business. She served as Regional Editor of AOL Patch’s 12 Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz news sites. She also co-founded an award-winning city magazine and website covering Oakland, The OakBook, which was one of the first truly local news sites in California, garnering the attention of news observers locally and nationally. Priyanka is an alumna of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Rebecca is an editorial intern at CalMatters helping to cover science, health, and coronavirus stories. She is a current graduate student in New York University’s science, health, and environmental reporting program. As a reporter, engagement editor, and copy editor for the program’s online magazine, Scienceline, Rebecca writes mainly about science in relation to culture, society, and ethics. A recent graduate of Skidmore College in upstate New York, she was a contributing reporter for her college’s newspaper, The Skidmore News. In her spare time, Rebecca likes to play the fiddle, attend folk dances, and write poetry.
Joyce Terhaar, the former executive editor of The Sacramento Bee, brings more than three decades of experience as a California journalist to her role at CalMatters. Terhaar served in the top two editing roles at The Bee for two decades, encouraging investigative and data journalism that held to account powerful people – particularly the politicians making decisions for all Californians. She also wrote a bi-monthly column focused on government transparency and media issues. Early in her career, Terhaar reported for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota, The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., and The Bee. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas. A Minnesota native, she grew up on a farm and developed a lifelong love of the outdoors that she nurtures through hikes around the world. She met her husband, Geoff Long, in a newsroom and they have two grown sons.
Fresno Bee CA Divide Reporter
Manuela is a reporter at The Fresno Bee covering income inequality and economic survival for the California Divide. She is a former staff writer for PolitiFact, where she covered politics, health care and immigration. She was also a researcher for Politico Magazine, a research assistant for a writer at The New Yorker, and an intern at New York Magazine. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, she lived in New Jersey, London and Washington, D.C. before moving to the Central Valley. She has a B.A. in comparative literature from Georgetown University. Manuela is a Report for America corps member.
Mental Health Reporter
Jocelyn Wiener writes about health and mental health for CalMatters, exploring the intersection between government policies and people’s lives. She has worked as a reporter in her native California for close to two decades. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, Kaiser Health News, the San Francisco Chronicle and many other state and national publications. After graduating from Stanford University, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year and a half working with young people living on the streets of El Salvador. She earned a master’s degree at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, and reported on poverty and homelessness for The Sacramento Bee. She has worked as a freelance journalist in Central and South America and India, as well as in California.
Anne is a photographer and multimedia journalist. She previously held positions at The Hill, National Geographic and KQED before joining CalMatters in the fall of 2019. Her work has appeared in The Information, Outside Online and Public Radio International’s “The World,” among other publications. She recently graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where she focused on New Media storytelling.
Erica is the interactives intern at CalMatters helping develop data-driven graphics. As a California native, she is excited to contribute to important coverage of state issues through engaging projects. She is a recent graduate of Northeastern University, where she majored in journalism and information science. Erica previously interned at the San Francisco Chronicle, CNBC, and Boston.com.
Higher Education Reporter
Mikhail Zinshteyn has been a higher education reporter since 2015. As a freelancer, he contributed to The Atlantic, The Hechinger Report, Inside Higher Ed and The 74. Previously, he was a reporter at EdSource and before that a program manager at the Education Writers Association. Mikhail was born in the Soviet Union and has a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics. He is based in Los Angeles. Pell grants and work-study helped pay for his undergraduate degree at Union College.