Since we launched seven years ago, CalMatters has carved out a leadership role at the center of the media ecosystem in California, establishing ourselves as a trusted brand and “go-to” hub for in-depth news and information on statewide issues. Our work has led to changes in policy, new legislation, investigations and discussions at the Capitol, in political groups and beyond — and created an awareness of important issues that aren’t getting covered anywhere else.
Our team has been recognized and honored with top state, regional and national awards from ONA, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the National Press Club, the Public Media Journalists Association, the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Edward R. Murrow Award, SPJ NorCal, Best of the West and California News Publishers.
Full Stack Web Developer
Avriana Allen is a Full Stack Web Developer for CalMatters. Previously, she has worked for The Texas Tribune as an engineering fellow. Avriana holds a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where she double-majored in journalism and statistics.
Audience Engagement Manager
Anna Almendrala is audience engagement manager at CalMatters. Previously she has worked in content engagement and curation, was a health care reporter at Kaiser Health News, and a health and lifestyle reporter at HuffPost, where she created and hosted a podcast about infertility and alternative family building. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and other outlets. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Denise Smith Amos leads our statewide California Divide team. Before joining CalMatters she was the editor of the watchdog and accountability team at the Union-Tribune in San Diego. She has been a reporter, columnist and editor at newspapers in Orlando, Tampa Bay, Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Jacksonville. Denise is a Philadelphia native who earned her B.A. in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Adam Ashton works with reporters covering health care, mental health and criminal justice. He previously worked at The Sacramento Bee, where he covered state government as a senior writer and led coverage of politics and policy as capitol bureau chief. Adam has worked as a reporter and editor at the Merced Sun-Star, The Modesto Bee and The News Tribune of Tacoma. Adam reported from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on several assignments for the McClatchy Washington Bureau. More by Adam Ashton
California Voices Editor
Yousef is the California Voices editor, overseeing the commentary section for CalMatters. He previously worked for The Sacramento Bee where he was the assistant opinion editor and a member of the editorial board, covering the city and a variety of state issues. Before that, Yousef spent nearly six years working for local newspapers in the North Bay Area. He was a reporter for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa in the aftermath of consecutive years of devastating wildfires, and news editor for its sister paper, the Petaluma Argus-Courier. He started his professional career as a sports reporter at the Napa Valley Register. Yousef was born in Anaheim but raised in the Atlanta area, and earned a journalism degree at the University of Georgia. He returned to California in 2014.
Rachel Becker is a journalist reporting on California’s complex water challenges and water policy issues for CalMatters. Rachel has a background in biology, with master’s degrees in both immunology and science journalism. Before joining CalMatters, Rachel was a staff science reporter at The Verge, and her byline has also appeared in outlets including National Geographic News, Smithsonian, Slate, and Nature. In 2021 she won first place for Outstanding Beat Reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists, and in 2022 Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Water Education Foundation’s Rita Schmidt Sudman Award for Excellence in Water Journalism. More by Rachel Becker
College Journalism Network Editor
Jennifer Burger is the editor of the College Journalism Network, a collaboration between CalMatters and student journalists throughout the state to produce quality coverage of higher education. Previously, Burger spent 10 years mentoring young journalists as an instructor and adviser to student media at California State University, Bakersfield, where she received the Outstanding Lecturer award. Before serving in higher education, Burger worked as a reporter and editor for The Bakersfield Californian and ANG Newspapers (now Bay Area News Group) in the East San Francisco Bay Area. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from CSU Sacramento and a Master of Journalism from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of 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. More by Julie Cart
Chief Executive Officer
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. More by Neil Chase
Associate Events Producer
Evelyn helps build CalMatters’ editorial events program, including Sacramento Sessions, CalMatters Live and the Ideas Festival. Originally from Salinas, Evelyn now lives in Sacramento after moving here to study International Relations at Sacramento State. Before working for CalMatters, Evelyn helped manage and produce all special events at Sutter Health Park.
Ben covers housing policy and previously covered California politics and elections. Prior to these roles at CalMatters, 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. More by Ben Christopher
Marla Cone is a deputy editor at CalMatters who supervises coverage of environmental issues. Previously she was a senior editor for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she led a new initiative investigating Trump administration science policies. Cone also was senior editor/environment at National Geographic, and was one of the editors of the magazine’s gender project that was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting. She spent 18 years as the environmental reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where she pioneered the environmental health beat. She has won several 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.
Robin Cortez is a Membership Intern at CalMatters. Robin is pursuing a journalism degree with a concentration in marketing and advertising in Sacramento. She has collaborated with companies across two internships to secure brand deals, increase online visibility and grow engagement across social media channels.
Data and Interactives Editor
John Osborn D’Agostino is an award-winning data journalist, web developer 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. More by John Osborn D’Agostino
Kelly focuses on major gift donations and identifying new supporters of our organization. Before joining CalMatters, she worked as the Director of Fundraising for March of Dimes and as the Development Director for Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. Previously, she worked in marketing at Sacramento Magazine as well as Guild Mortgage. She started her career working for NBC Universal in New York City as a Page in the prestigious Page Program. Kelly is a Sacramento native and graduated from California State University Sacramento with a BA degree in Communications.
Andrew Donohue is the investigative editor at CalMatters. Previously, he served as executive editor of projects at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where helped lead digital, audio and video projects that forced major change, including Rape on the Night Shift, Amazon: Behind the Smiles, All Work. No Pay. and Reveal’s immigration reporting. He worked on teams that were twice named Pulitzer Prize finalists and won Investigative Reporters and Editors, Edward R. Murrow and Online News Association awards, among others. Before that he was the editor of Voice of San Diego, a pioneering local news nonprofit.
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. More by Nigel Duara
Community College Reporter
Adam Echelman covers community colleges through a partnership with Open Campus. He joined CalMatters from the Modesto Bee, where he covered issues of equity across Stanislaus County. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of Libraries Without Borders, a national nonprofit organization committed to promoting access to information. He’s a graduate of Yale University. More by Adam Echelman
Trevor Eischen is a product manager 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 going on impromptu road trips, seeing the nation’s statehouses and being a Luxembourger.
California Divide Reporter
Nicole Foy is the Central Valley reporter for the California Divide team. She returned home to the Central Valley in 2022 after several years as an investigative reporter in Texas and Idaho, focusing on Latino communities, agriculture and inequity. While in Idaho, she was a 2020 Community Impact Fellow for Stanford University’s John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship program, leading a bilingual COVID-19 reporting collaborative. She graduated from Biola University and is the co-founder of Voces Internship of Idaho, which places Idaho Latino students in paid newsroom internships. More by Nicole Foy
California Divide Reporter
Wendy joined CalMatters from the San Diego Union-Tribune, where she covered Baja California and the border region for four years. She previously worked as an on-air reporter at NBC7 and an investigative reporter/producer for the NBC7 Investigates team. She graduated from San Diego State University. More by Wendy Fry
Heather Tirado Gilligan
Heather is the newsroom coordinator at CalMatters. She’s a journalist who has written for outlets including Slate, The Nation, CNN, the Washington Post and USA Today. Previously, she was executive editor of the California Health Report, a news nonprofit covering disparities in health and access to health care. She’s a graduate of UC Berkeley’s school of journalism and lives in Oakland.
Editor in Chief
Kristen Go is the Editor in Chief of CalMatters. She previously worked as the executive editor and vice president of news at USA TODAY, managing editor of digital at the San Francisco Chronicle and has worked at The Arizona Republic and The Denver Post. She grew up in California’s central valley and lives in the Bay Area. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr.
Miguel Gutierrez is the Visuals Editor at CalMatters. Previously Miguel was The Texas Tribune’s photographer and photo editor, where he raised the bar for telling visually rich stories about government and politics. An Illinois native who is fluent in Spanish, Miguel previously worked in New York as a multimedia producer for the state attorney general’s office. He has two master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in journalism and Latin American studies and a bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Latino studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has also worked as a multimedia producer at KUT Radio, Austin’s NPR station, and was a video production fellow at Brave New Films in Los Angeles.
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.
Mary Franklin Harvin
Mary Franklin Harvin is CalMatters’ first-ever Audio Editor. She came to CalMatters from KQED-FM in San Francisco, where she was a producer and reporter for the statewide morning news show, The California Report. She’s also had stints with NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters and KALW-FM. Before finding radio, she worked as a writer for former president Bill Clinton out of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s Harlem office. She’s a South Carolina native and earned her graduate degree from the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Assistant Visuals Editor
Adriana is the assistant visuals editor at CalMatters. She has previously worked at The San Diego Union-Tribune and Voice of San Diego. Adriana is a first-generation Mexican-American born and raised in Chula Vista. She is also an alumni of San Diego State University and Southwestern College. Her experience includes photojournalism, video editing, graphic design and social media management.
Lauren Hepler is an investigative reporter for CalMatters, where she has covered issues including breakdowns in pandemic unemployment programs and shifting state demographics. Lauren was previously a staff housing reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, and her past stories on everything from wildfires to professional sports have been published by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Silicon Valley Business Journal and others. Lauren grew up in Columbus, Ohio, studied history at George Washington University and holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. More by Lauren Hepler
Kristen Hwang reports on health care and policy for CalMatters. She is passionate about humanizing data-driven stories and examining the intersection of public health and social justice. Prior to joining CalMatters, Kristen earned a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley, where she researched water quality in the Central Valley. She has previously worked as a beat reporter for The Desert Sun and a stringer for the New York Times California COVID-19 team. More by Kristen Hwang
Ana covers health policy and the COVID-19 pandemic. She joined CalMatters in 2020 after four years at Kaiser Health News. 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 other state and national news outlets. More by Ana B. Ibarra
K-12 Education Reporter
Carolyn Jones covers K-12 education for CalMatters. Previously, she worked at EdSource, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune. She recently served as a Fulbright Specialist in Albania focusing on media literacy. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she’s a longtime Oakland resident. More by Carolyn Jones
Sameea Kamal is a reporter at CalMatters covering the state Capitol and California politics. She joined CalMatters in June 2021 from the Los Angeles Times, where she was a News Desk editor. Sameea was one of three 2020 IRE Journalist of Color fellows, and previously worked for the Center for Public Integrity. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia Journalism School. Sameea was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California and is one of the Maynard Institute’s M200 fellows. More by Sameea Kamal
Marisa Kendall reports on California’s homelessness crisis for CalMatters. She previously covered homelessness for the Bay Area News Group, courts for The Recorder in San Francisco and crime for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida. She’s a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. More by Marisa Kendall
Jeremia is a data journalist who uses code and data to make policy and politicians easier to understand. He was previously a graphics editor at the COVID Tracking Project and a data journalist at NBC News covering elections and national politics. He grew up in California and is excited to be back home after an extended time as a New Yorker. When he isn’t on the computer you can find him out in the garden or on a bicycle. More by Jeremia Kimelman
Alexei covers Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Legislature and California government from Sacramento. He joined CalMatters in January 2022 after previously reporting on the Capitol for The Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle, where he broke the story of Newsom’s infamous dinner at The French Laundry restaurant. Alexei is a Bay Area native and attended Stanford University. He speaks fluent Spanish. More by Alexei Koseff
California Divide Reporter
Jeanne returned home to California to cover the state’s economic divide for CalMatters. She previously covered Missouri government and politics for The Kansas City Star, local and state government for The News Journal in Delaware, and criminal justice issues in Illinois. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. More by Jeanne Kuang
Lynn La is the WhatMatters newsletter writer. Prior to joining CalMatters, she developed thought leadership at an edtech company and was a senior editor at CNET. She also covered public health at The Sacramento Bee as a Kaiser media fellow and was an intern reporter at Capitol Weekly. She’s a graduate of UC Davis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. More by Lynn La
Alejandro is a climate reporter who previously reported on issues of inequality for the California Divide team. He joined CalMatters from The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the West Coast for eight years. He previously wrote about housing and real estate for the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. He’s a native of Modesto who attended the University of San Francisco and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. More by Alejandro Lazo
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 until May 2023. 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. More by David Lesher
Director of Operations
Halona Leung oversees the business and people operations at CalMatters. She has experience in research grant administration, business operations, budget management, and communications from her prior work at UC Davis. She brings a commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the workplace and in interactions with our greater community. Halona has a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California, Davis.
Robert Lewis focuses on investigations and accountability reporting. Before joining CalMatters he worked at print and public radio outlets across the country including WNYC-New York Public Radio, Newsday and The Sacramento Bee. His investigative reporting has garnered some of the industry’s highest honors including a George Polk Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and Sigma Delta Chi Awards. More by Robert Lewis
Zeke focuses on increasing philanthropic support for our work. Before joining CalMatters, he worked in a similar role at California Rangeland Trust. Previously, his career has been in development at University of San Diego and University of Arizona, as well as in SaaS sales at Classy.org. Zeke’s first language was Spanish and he is fluent. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and earned his master’s degree in history at University of San Diego.
Chief Development Officer
Kate puts her passion for democracy to work by cultivating the support that enables our work. She came to CalMatters from a similar role at the Center for Investigative Reporting – Reveal, and before that she spent a decade in development work at the Sierra Club. She previously led Planned Parenthood in her native South Dakota and was a candidate there for secretary of state. When she’s not working with donors and funders, you’ll find Kate creating meals to enjoy with family and friends, reading, working out, or playing with her two standard poodles.
Youth Journalism Initiative Manager
Michael Lozano leads CalMatters’ Youth Journalism Initiative assessing the state of California’s journalism education and industry pipeline. He previously covered election administration for CalMatters and has written for New America Media, the Long Beach Post, ImpreMedia and others, covering diversity, immigration, voting, and health. In Long Beach, he led VoiceWaves, a news training program mentoring diverse youth to share their stories online and at major sites like NPR and KCET. Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in Honors Sociology and minored in Journalism at Cal State Long Beach. Raised in South Gate, he is based in Downey. More by Michael Lozano
Byrhonda Lyons is a national award-winning investigative reporter for CalMatters. She writes and produces compelling stories about California’s court and criminal system. Her reporting has uncovered how California bounces around mentally ill prisoners, the lack of diversity among local judges, and how state police ignored a Ninth Circuit opinion and continued an asset forfeiture procedure towing people’s vehicle for 30-day tows.
Byrhonda’s work aims to hold politicians accountable and educate Californians about the ins and outs of their state government. Her work has appeared on the PBS NewsHour and in local newspapers throughout California. She won a National Headliner Award for her work during the 2018 elections. She has also received multiple awards from the California News Publishers Association (CNPA) and was a finalist for an Online News Publishers Award.
Before joining CalMatters, Byrhonda 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, a prisoner-run newspaper in California.
Byrhonda is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Arkansas’ oldest historically Black college, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. When she is not working, you can catch her at an art gallery and searching archives for trailblazing women who have been left out of history books. More by Byrhonda Lyons
Full Stack Web Developer
Prior to joining CalMatters, Kevin worked as the IT manager and web developer for the California Lawyers Association. He has also worked as a support engineer at Automattic. Before jumping into the world of technology, Kevin spent more than ten years working in government finance. He has a degree in economics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
California Divide Reporter
Felicia Mello covers the state’s economic divide. Prior to this role, she was editor for 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. More by Felicia Mello
Liliana is a reporter, multimedia producer and former professional soccer player from Lima, Peru. She was a correspondent at the 2016 Rio Olympics for El Comercio, and later covered the aftermath for The Associated Press. Her work has also been published by The New York Times, The Guardian and Spain’s El Pais. Liliana graduated from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in 2013, and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2018.
Shyla Nott is a product manager at CalMatters, based in San Diego. Previously, she was the digital content manager at inewsource and a producer for All Sides with Ann Fisher, the live public affairs talk show on WOSU Public Radio in Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, she produced the testimonies of second-generation Holocaust survivors as part of an international oral history project, which is archived in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online collection. Shyla has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and international studies from the University of Iowa and her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Hans Poschman is the Transcription Manager for a new CalMatters project and is based in San Luis Obispo. He has previously worked for the state legislature and in state and local government. He has a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelors in Political Science from Cal Poly.
Richard Procter is the 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. More by Richard Procter
Director of Membership and Engagement
Sonya builds bridges between the community and CalMatters as director of membership and engagement. Previously she managed engagement, fundraising, marketing, digital storytelling and UX at Voice of OC, a nonprofit news agency in Orange County, Calif. where she grew dramatically grew reader engagement and revenue. She is also an adjunct professor of digital journalism at Chapman University. Previously she worked for a decade at the Orange County Register as an editor and reporter across a variety of innovation areas including mobile, social media, web development, disaster coverage, infographics, technology and community news. She has been awarded infographics, news website design, news article design and social media engagement in reporting. More by Sonya Quick
Assistant Editor, College Journalism Network
Matthew Reagan is the Assistant Editor of the CalMatters College Journalism Network, a collaboration between CalMatters and student journalists from across the state to produce high-quality, student centered coverage of higher education in California. Reagan was the CJN Program Manager, a CJN Fellow and higher education intern for CalMatters. Reagan is the founding editor of the Northeast LA Neighborhood Reporting Partnership and a graduate of Occidental College. More by Matthew Reagan
California Divide Reporter
Alejandra is a California Divide reporter writing about inequality in Los Angeles. She previously covered breaking news, the pandemic and Latino communities for the Los Angeles Times. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and is pursuing a master’s degree in legal studies at the university’s law school. More by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
Deputy Managing Editor
Foon Rhee is deputy managing editor for CalMatters who works with reporters covering the state Capitol and housing. After graduating from Duke University, he covered local and state government for The Charlotte Observer before becoming a local and political editor at The News & Observer. At the Boston Globe, he was city editor and then deputy national political editor for the 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, he came to California as an editorial writer and columnist at The Sacramento Bee. In late 2018, he became editor at the Sacramento News & Review before joining CalMatters in March 2021. He was a Freedom Forum fellow in Asian studies and a Poynter Institute ethics fellow. More by Foon Rhee
California Divide Reporter
Justo Robles was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Since graduating from Rutgers University, he’s worked as a newsroom producer at Spanish-language television networks including Telemundo and Univision, earning Emmy awards in New York and California. As a bilingual reporter, he’s written from South America, Central America and Mexico. His work has been published in The Guardian, NBC News, CBS News, KQED, CNN, El Tímpano and Revista El Malpensante. More by Justo Robles
Digital Democracy Reporter
Ryan Sabalow is a Digital Democracy reporter for CalMatters. A graduate of Chico State University, he began his career covering local news for the Auburn Journal in Placer County and The Record Searchlight in Redding. He spent three years in the Midwest at The Indianapolis Star where he was an investigative reporter. Before joining CalMatters, he primarily covered California water and environmental policy at The Sacramento Bee. A lifelong hunter and outdoorsman, Sabalow spends as much time as possible in Siskiyou County, where he grew up. He’s married and has two daughters, two lunatic cats and a duck-retrieving chocolate lab named Spooner. More by Ryan Sabalow
Senior Director of Product
Sapna Satagopan is senior director of product at CalMatters, where she works across teams to grow and engage users with our news products. Sapna believes in democratizing access to the news and in building impactful news products. She most recently co-founded Xyza: News for Kids, a subscription news platform for young readers. Her professional career began in technology consulting, followed by roles in strategy, research, and consumer insights at digital and branding agencies. Originally from India, Sapna has an MBA from UC Davis along with degrees in Physics and Linguistics. She serves on the advisory board of the Statewide News Collaborative and the API Local News Innovation Advisory Committee.
Levi Sumagaysay covers the economy for CalMatters. Previously, she was a senior reporter who covered worker issues, the gig economy, inequality and corporate accountability for MarketWatch. She also was a longtime reporter and tech and business editor at the Mercury News. She is based in the Bay Area. More by Levi Sumagaysay
Jr. Product Designer
Vasuki joined CalMatters after working as an analyst at Accenture and as a freelance UI/UX design consultant. She graduated from the University of California San Diego in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. She lives in Cupertino and enjoys film photography, creating digital art and reading.
Larry is based in Kerman, in California’s Central Valley. A passion for documentary filmmaking led him into videography and photography on campus publications at Fresno City College and Fresno State University. He went on to become a writer and photojournalist for the Fresno Bee and joined CalMatters in 2022 as a CatchLight Local Fellow. More by Larry Valenzuela
Dan Walters has been a journalist for more than 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times in Eureka, while still attending high school, and turned down a National Merit scholarship to continue working as a journalist. At one point in his career, at age 22, he was the nation’s youngest daily newspaper editor. The Hanford Sentinel was the first of three newspaper editor positions before joining the Sacramento Union’s Capitol bureau in 1975, just as Jerry Brown began his governorship. Walters later became the Union’s Capitol bureau chief, and in 1981 began writing the state’s only daily newspaper column devoted to California political, economic and social events. In 1984, he and the column moved to The Sacramento Bee and in 2017 to CalMatters.org. He has written more than 10,000 columns about California and its politics and his column has appeared in many other California newspapers. Walters has written about California and its politics for a number of other publications, including The Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. In 1986, his book, “The New California: Facing the 21st Century,” was published in its first edition. He is also the founding editor of the “California Political Almanac,” the co-author of a book on lobbying entitled “The Third House: Lobbyists, Money and Power in Sacramento,” and contributed chapters to two other books, “Remaking California” and “The New Political Geography of California. He also has been a frequent guest on national television news shows, commenting on California politics. More by Dan Walters
Director of Sponsorships
Ben works with past, current and future business partners to help create strategic opportunities with advertising and sponsorships across CalMatters growing communication channels. He’ll help partners make informed decisions about our products and services and ultimately help them reach the California decision-makers and voters that matter the most to their campaigns. Ben has an extensive background in digital and analog publishing, event management and building omnichannel advertising programs that focus on solutions. He also oversees the Coast Film Festival in Laguna Beach and is an advocate for outdoor recreation.
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. More by Jocelyn Wiener
Erica is a data reporter at CalMatters helping develop data-driven graphics and tools. 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. More by Erica Yee
Director of Foundation Relations
Louise builds and expands CalMatters’ relationships with foundation partners. Prior to joining CalMatters, she worked as Director of Development at EdSource. Previously, she worked as a consultant with a diversity of education, arts, environmental, and social justice organizations in the Bay Area. Before working in the nonprofit field, Louise was an educator in California public schools. Louise, a Bay Area native, has MBA and MA degrees from John F. Kennedy University and BA from University of California, Irvine.
Politics and Campaign Reporter
Yue Stella Yu (pronounced Yu-eh Stella Yu) is a politics and campaign reporter for CalMatters. She previously covered state politics for Bridge Michigan, where she focused on gun and labor policies, money in politics and ballot proposals. She also covered politics in Tennessee, Mississippi and Missouri. She holds a master’s degree in investigative journalism from the University of Missouri. Stella is many things: A Chinese native, a Szechuan cuisine aficionado and a diehard fan of Linkin Park. More by Yue Stella Yu
Denise is a Deputy Editor at CalMatters, leading our coverage on several beats. She was previously senior editor at EdSource. As associate editor for The Center for Investigative Reporting, Denise was part of one team that won a George Polk Award and another that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She began her journalism career at The Bakersfield Californian, where she covered several topics, including higher education, and later became an editor. She also worked as an editor at the Union-Tribune in San Diego. Denise is a Bay Area native and a graduate of Santa Clara University.
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. More by Mikhail Zinshteyn