Who benefits from Supervisor grants? – June 21, 2014, inewsource
By Leonardo Castaneda, inewsource. Graphic created on Piktochart
By Leonardo Castaneda, inewsource. Graphic created on Piktochart

For this online and radio story about a controversial San Diego County Board of Supervisors grant program I acquired, cleaned, organized and analyzed 16 years worth of grants for five different county districts — about 4,000 grants in all. In the story I identified trends for all supervisors in grant recipients, as well as favored organizations for specific supervisors. This data was also set up as a searchable database for readers to look for their favorite nonprofits or local parks. I also wrote a followup to this story when the Board voted to double their available grant fund.

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Mixed signals on substance abuse at San Diego State – May 8, 2014, The Daily Aztec

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 9.38.49 PMThis story, written in collaboration with Madison Hopkins, looked at years of San Diego State University crime reports, particularly the incidence of individuals being transported by ambulance to a hospital for drug or alcohol abuse. We also talked to a student that had been taken to the hospital when others suspected she was suffering from alcohol poisoning.

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The “foreign national” in the San Diego campaign finance scandal is “almost a legend” in Mexico – Jan. 24, 2014, inewsource and KPBSthe foreign national

In January, an investigation into illegal campaign contributions to several San Diego-area political candidates was announced. Behind the scandal was Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, a little-known Mexican billionaire. For this story I researched dozens of Mexican newspapers, magazines and online news outlets, as well as Azano’s personal blogs. I was able to uncover information about Azano that no other news organization in San Diego had. The story was published in inewsource and its media partner, KPBS, where it was one of the top 10 most read stories of the week.

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Homeless Aztecs find little aid on campus – Jan. 30, 2014, The Daily Aztec

homeless aztecsThis story focused on students struggling with food and shelter insecurity while attending San Diego State University. I talked to a student who was living in homelessness, as well as a campus social worker and a local religious leader, Darin Johnson, involved in finding help for these students. I also did researched the economics of homelessness and how the sluggish economic recovery was making it difficult for students to afford increasing tuition costs. According to Johnson, the story prompted at least one student living in homelessness to approach him seeking help.

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San Diego River: Local governments and environmentalist groups share a vision of unifying parks and open spaces – May 23, 2014, San Diego State University Journalism & Media Studies 550

thinglinkFor this capstone journalism project I created an interactive Thinglink image of the San Diego River, along with a text story. The Thinklink connects to several videos about the development and history of the river that cuts across San Diego County. I talked to city planners in Santee, the first major city the river crosses, as well as an engineer involved in the revitalization of a central part of the river. I also took a look at the unique feral cats that make their home near the mouth of the river.

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SDSUPD tests facial recognition software – Dec. 2, 2013, The Daily Aztec

SDSUPD test facial recogWhen news broke that San Diego County law enforcement was leading the nation in testing military-style facial recognition technology, some organizations pointed out that one officer in the San Diego State University Police Department had used the device many more times than any other office in the county. I was able to identify this officer and interview him about the use of the devices. Analyzing the usage data I was also able to show that his usage, while still the most in the county, was not as far beyond other officers as some organizations had originally indicated.

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SDSU budget explained part 1 – Feb. 13, 2014, The Daily Aztec

SDSU budget explainedThis explainer was written at a time when a new student fee was being proposed by the university and misinformation about the university’s finances and budgeting process were rampant. Written in collaboration with the assistant news editor, I focused on analyzing and explaining the numbers in the budget and the relationship between state funding, student fees and tuition, and alternative revenues being implemented by the university.

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Aztecs say no to Keystone Pipeline – March 10, 2014, The Daily Aztec

Aztecs say noFor this story I wrote a breaking news brief that was published shortly after the event on campus in which about 50 students formed the letters NoKXL with their bodies and cellphone lights. I was also able to find an angle not even the event organizers knew—that the photographer brought on to speak and take the photo was an SDSU alumnus.

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