Anthony DePalma

Anthony DePalma


Anthony DePalma spent 22 years as a reporter and foreign correspondent for The New York Timesserving as Bureau Chief in Mexico and Canada. In 2001 he published “Here: A Biography of the New American Continent,” which was re-released as an e-book in 2014. He has focused his journalism on Latin America, especially Mexico and Cuba, but he has also travelled widely and reported from places as diverse as Albania, Montenegro, Guyana and Suriname.

His second book, published in 2006, was “The Man Who Invented Fidel,” about the rise of Fidel Castro and the impact that journalism has had on U.S.-Cuba relations. The book has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and the film rights were purchased by Moxie Pictures. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, he wrote many of the Portraits of Grief articles that won a Pulitzer for The Times in 2001.

He left The Times in 2008 to become writer-in-residence at Seton Hall University, where he completed his latest book, “City of Dust,” about the environmental and health crises that followed 9/11. The book was the basis of a CNN documentary “Terror in the Dust,” which won the Society of Professional Journalists’ award for best documentary in 2011.

DePalma also is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Among his many professional recognitions are a 2007 Emmy finalist for “Toxic Legacy,” a documentary co-production of The New York Times and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. In 2009, Columbia University awarded him the Maria Moors Cabot Award for distinguished international reporting. He has been named a media fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a visiting scholar at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

He continues to write and lecture about Latin America and the environment, while also reporting on many other subjects.

Published Work

“City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance and 9/11”, FT/ Pearson, N.Y. 2010

“The Man Who Invented Fidel”, Public Affairs, N.Y. (Translations in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) 2006

“Class Matters” Times Books, N.Y. (Chapter) 2005

“Here: A Biography of the New American Continent”, Public Affairs, N.Y. 2001, updated 2002

“Myths of the Enemy: Castro, Cuba and Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times” Working Paper 313 Kellogg Institute for International Studies University of Notre Dame. 2004

“America Septentrional,” Foreign Policy Review Institute, Philadelphia, PA. 2003

“A Reluctant Trinity,” Woodrow Wilson Center for International Affairs, Washington, D.C. 2003

The North American Elections of 2000: An Analysis,” Orbis. 2003

Public Appearances

Anthony DePalma on the 9/11 settlement and his book “City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance and 9/11

Osha Gray Davidson

Osha Gray Davidson


Osha Gray Davidson is the senior science writer for the NASA-funded journal, Earthzine, a freelance writer and photographer with investigative pieces in Rolling StoneMother JonesNational GeographicScientific AmericanDiscover Magazine and Slate, among other publications.

He has written six books of non-fiction, published a collection of photographs, and co-written the screenplay for the award-winning IMAX documentary, Coral Reef Adventure.

Published Work

“Clean Break: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It” The European Union’s biggest and most powerful industrial economy is making a clean break from coal, oil and nuclear energy. It is doing something most Americans would say is impossible, but already Germany is running on 25% clean energy and it is on track to reach 80 percent by 2050.

“The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms with Nature on the Coral Reef” “There is a word for what Darwin and the rest of us have felt when in the presence of the reef: ‘awe.’ Confronted with the reef, awe is the most appropriate response. It is probably in our nature. It is also, apparently, in our nature to destroy that which we hold in awe.”

“Broken Heartland.” “A compelling picture of one of this country’s most pressing problems…a vivid and concise description of America’s farm crisis.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Under Fire: The NRA and the Battle for Gun Control.” “In ‘Under Fire,’ Osha Gray Davidson examines the evolution of the NRA from its roots in the 19th century as a sporting club to its current status as arguably the most effective special-interest group in the second half of the 20th century. The story is told without passion but in an easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down style that many novelists would envy. Davidson, a freelance journalist, manages to describe the NRA without falling into either its clutches or those of its opponents. The result is a sufficiently objective yet richly revealing portrait of this powerful lobby.” New England Journal of Medicine.

“The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South.” “Rich with details about the rhythms of daily life in the mid-twentieth-century South, ‘The Best of Enemies’ offers a vivid portrait of a relationship that defied all odds. By placing this very personal story into broader context, Osha Gray Davidson demonstrates that race is intimately tied to issues of class, and that cooperation is possible–even in the most divisive situations–when people begin to listen to one another.” University of North Carolina Press.

“Fire in the Turtle House: The Green Sea Turtle and the Fate of the Ocean. “An eloquent ecocautionary tale wrapped in a scientific mystery. Sea turtles have thrived for more than 100 million years. Now their existence is threatened not only by human depredation but also by a virulent scourge of unknown origin.” Publishers Weekly.

“Enchanted by Prairie.” “Iowa’s tallgrass prairie was gone before we were born. Bill Witt’s marvelous photos of Iowa’s tallgrass prairie remnants and prose by Osha Davidson and Bill Witt give us a vision of what the prairie was and what it can do for us today. We did not save the prairie, but perhaps it can save us.”—Carl Kurtz

Danielle Cervantes

Danielle Cervantes


Danielle Cervantes has been obsessed with columns and rows since studying research methods in college 20 years ago. It wasn’t until she was a research librarian focusing on demographics at The San Diego Union-Tribune, however, that she discovered her tribe of data journalism nerds through Investigative Reporters & Editors. This introduction ignited the fire in her belly for watchdog journalism and crystallized her specialization in data and investigative reporting.

Before joining InquireFirst, Danielle was a data journalist for San Diego-based iNewsource and before that a senior reporter on the investigations/watchdog team at the Union-Tribune. There she examined government infrastructure and spending, disaster recovery, consumer safety, pollution and mortgage fraud.

Since 2007, she has taught investigative and data journalism at her alma mater, Point Loma Nazarene University, where she has mentored dozens of “watchpups” (young watchdog reporters) as they begin their journalism careers.

Danielle’s diverse work has won local and state awards and triggered state and federal criminal investigations. In 2006, the Union-Tribune submitted her individual work for Pulitzer Prizes in Investigative and Explanatory Reporting, and she contributed research to the newspaper’s staff’s win that year in National Affairs Reporting. She also was named a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her work investigating the city of San Diego’s public land management. In 2015, Danielle’s students took first and second place in Media Shift’s annual national hackathon for student journalists.

Danielle is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors, for which she volunteers her time training professional and student journalists from around the world. Most recently, she teamed up with IRE in early October to teach data journalism to visiting journalists from Mexicali, Mexico at San Diego State University.

Joanne Faryon

Joanne Faryon


Joanne Faryon is a journalist and documentary producer specializing in long-form multimedia projects. Her work has been broadcast on the PBS NewsHour; NPR; The National, CBC’s flagship TV news program, and across multiple PBS affiliates in California.

In 2014, she was the first journalist to report on California’s “vent farms,” special nursing home units where thousands of people are kept alive artificially, lingering for years in various states of consciousness. The project, which she produced for inewsource, was awarded the Columbia School of Journalism Meyer “Mike” Berger Award for outstanding human interest reporting, a first place Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for investigative journalism, two National Edward R. Murrow awards, a National Association of Health Care Journalism Award, the 2015 SPJ Mark of Excellence Award (San Diego chapter) and was nominated for a national Emmy.

Faryon has gone inside three California prisons to document how sentencing laws contribute to an aging, sick, and expensive prison population. Her documentary, Life in Prison: The Cost of Punishment, has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.

Faryon was also the first journalist in California to raise questions about the efficacy of the whooping cough vaccine in her 2010 documentary When Immunity Fails. Data showed most of the kids who got sick were up to date with their immunization.

Faryon traveled to the Netherlands where scientists had discovered a new mutant strain of the disease. Faryon has been a recipient of the USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, two other National Edward R. Murrow awards, a Radio and Television News Association Golden Mike for investigative reporting, two regional Emmys and several San Diego SPJ awards.

Bill Pitzer

Bill Pitzer


Bill Pitzer is an illustrator and writer specializing in creating compelling content in print and online. He has consulted and lectured widely on information design for numerous academic and corporate clients.

Bill is the principal of Infoartz, an illustration and design studio whose clients include the National Geographic Society, The New York Times, National Park Service and the Discovery Channel.

Previously, Bill was the graphics editor for The Charlotte Observer. Graphics he produced for the investigative series “Sold a Nightmare” were part of an entry that was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

Pitzer’s graphics have also won numerous regional, national and international awards, including three Sigma Delta Chi Awards, two first-place National Headliner Awards, and Silver Medals in the Society of News Design and the Malofiej Infographic competitions.

Pitzer holds an M.A. in Educational Media with an emphasis on New Media and Global Education from Appalachian State University. He is an honors graduate of Glenville State College where he earned his B.A. in Secondary Education (art and science).

Portfolio Samples

Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones


Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author of three books of narrative nonfiction.

His latest book is “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury, 2015), for which he traveled across the United States. “Dreamland” was awarded National Book Critics Circle award in March 2016 and was named one of’s Best Books of the Year.”

Quinones worked for the Los Angeles Times for 10 years (2004-2014). He is a veteran reporter on immigration, gangs, drug trafficking and the border.

Published Work

The Virgin of the American Dream is a book of murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe which journalist Sam Quinones tells readers are used by Los Angeles business owners to dissuade taggers from marring their walls with graffiti. Quinones has been taking photos of the murals for more than a decade and combines his sharp eye and his gifted writing style to produce a powerful chronicle of life in the immigrant communities of Los Angeles.

Quinones, winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and InquireFirst journalist, talks about his new book with Gustavo Arellano and OCWeekly. Quinones, who first came to understand the significance of the Virgin while living and reporting in Mexico, told Arellano, “I began to see how the Virgin, translated to Los Angeles, was used for a similar reason by immigrants, helping them navigate a new world. I was struck too by how many folks used (the Virgin of Guadalupe) as protection, as a security guard for the modest investments they had in their mom-and-pop markets or flower shops or muffler shops. That was the spark for the project. I’ve lost count, but I’d bet I have more than a hundred murals shot – and many more to go.”

“Dreamland” recounts twin stories of drug marketing in the 21st Century. A pharmaceutical corporation promotes its legal new opiate prescription painkiller as non-addictive. Meanwhile, immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico, devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza in the United States, and take that system nationwide, riding a wave of addiction to prescription pills from coast to coast. The collision of those two forces has led to America’s deadliest drug epidemic in modern times.

“Dreamland” was selected as one of the best books of 2015 by,, the Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Entertainment Weekly, Audible, and in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business by Nobel economics laureate, Prof. Angus Deaton, of Princeton University.

Quinones’ previous two highly acclaimed books grew from his 10 years living and working as a freelance writer in Mexico (1994-2004).

“True Tales From Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx” was released in 2001. It is a cult classic of a book from Mexico’s vital margins – stories of drag queens and Oaxacan Indian basketball players, popsicle makers and telenovela stars, migrants, farm workers, a narcosaint, a slain drug balladeer, a slum boss and a doomed tough guy.

In 2007, Quinones published Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration”. In it, he narrates the saga of the Henry Ford of Velvet Painting, and of how an opera scene emerged in Tijuana, and how a Zacatecan taco empire formed in Chicago. Quinones tells the tale of the Tomato King, of a high-school soccer season in Kansas, and of Mexican corruption in a small LA County town. Threading through the book are three tales of a modern Mexican Huck Finn. Quinones ends the collection with a chapter called “Leaving Mexico,” which recounts his harrowing encounter with narco-Mennonites in Chihuahua.

Donald Trump is the opportunity Mexico has been waiting for
Published March 8, 2017 in Foreign Policy
The American president’s brash style conjures up the worst Yankee stereotypes that have lived in the Mexican mind since the beginning of the country.  Within Mexico, Trump’s acidic approach has burned away the gunk of domestic politics and formed alliances, at least for the moment, that seemed unthinkable a few weeks before.  His threatening presidency thus offers a chance for Mexico to put behind it battles over minutiae, see beyond parochial interests, unify in the face of a common enemy, and, maybe find the will to attack what has made it a country that people have risked death to leave.

Why Trump’s Wall Won’t Keep Out Heroin

Published February 16, 2017 in The New York Times
Walls have been shown to stop people. Illegal crossing has all but ceased in Tijuana because of two walls, including one that starts in the Pacific Ocean and runs for more than 14 miles before hitting a mountain.  But walls have not stopped drugs, especially heroin.

Once the World’s Most Dangerous City, Juárez Returns to Life
Published June 2016 in National Geographic
Amid drug wars, Ciudad Juárez began fixing the local justice system. Now crime is down and residents ‘are losing their fear.’ What happened in Juárez to allow people to stop cowering and resume living? México found the political will, in Juárez at least, to strengthen the criminal justice system and invest in local government. Doing so encouraged some unexpected protagonists: law enforcement officials who forged a more professional police force in a country where cops are often corrupt, business people who stayed to fight rather than flee, and government officials who spearheaded dramatic reforms.

Serving All Your Heroin Needs
Published April 17, 2015 in The New York Times
Fatal heroin overdoses in America have almost tripled in three years. More than 8,250 people a year now die from heroin. At the same time, roughly double that number are dying from prescription opioid painkillers, which are molecularly similar. Heroin has become the fallback dope when an addict can’t afford, or find, pills. Total overdose deaths, most often from pills and heroin, now surpass traffic fatalities. If these deaths are the measure, we are arguably in the middle of our worst drug plague ever, apart from cigarettes and alcohol.

A New Art Scene Flourishes in Old Tijuana
Published April 14, 2015 in KCRW’s Which Way, LA?
Tijuana is in the midst of a burst of artistic and entrepreneurial creativity as new surprising riffs are rising out of the Tijuana of old. Velvet painting was once Tijuana’s only connection to art; the work of velvet painters planted the seeds for what is now a large and experimental modern-art scene. A town once known for cantinas and strip clubs is home to microbreweries and restaurants serving creative “Baja-Med” cuisine.

How Mexicans Became Americans
Published January 17, 2015 in The New York Times
SOUTH GATE, Calif. — A few weeks ago, the City Council in this suburb southeast of Los Angeles appointed a Mexican immigrant to its advisory council. Jesus Miranda is from Michoacán and owns a taco restaurant here. He’ll advise the council on housing development and other issues.Mr. Miranda’s appointment is hardly national news. But small moments like these are signs of a historic change of heart toward America and civic engagement among Mexican immigrants, many of whom, like Mr. Miranda, have been here for decades.

The End of Gangs
Published December 29, 2014 in Pacific Standard magazine
In 2007, when housing prices were still heated, factory worker Simon Tejada put his home on the market. It was a well maintained three-bedroom in the Glassell Park district of Northeast Los Angeles, and the structure was appraised at $350,000. (Tejada had bought it for $85,000 in 1985.) But only one offer came in: $150,000. “Your house is fine,” the guy told Tejada. “The neighborhood’s awful.”

In Tijuana, Mexicans Deported by U.S. Struggle to Find ‘Home’
Published November 14, 2014 in National Geographic
TIJUANA, Mexico—On the U.S. side of the border, an immigration officer unlocked a padlock on a metal door. On the other side, a Mexican officer unlocked another padlock. With that bit of antiquated protocol, the metal door opened, and Antonio Gomez stepped back into the country he’d fled as a boy.

The Rebirth of Tijuana
Published October 17, 2014 in The New York Times
Tijuana, Mexico — In Tijuana the other day, I met a waitress named Mari. Mari had left her home in Acapulco to cross illegally into the United States in 1999, but was deported three years ago to Tijuana. It had been a long time since she had seen her mother, so she went home to visit.

Public Appearances

Another México: A conversation with Storyteller Sam Quinones

Colin Marshall talks with reporter Sam Quinones, who covered gangs, drugs, and immigration at the Los Angeles Times for a decade. He has written the books Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream, True Tales from Another Mexico, and the new Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

Caitlin Rother

Caitlin Rother


New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 10 books, drawing from decades of newspaper experience covering topics ranging from criminal justice, suicide, addiction, mental illness and murder to corruption, incompetence, and waste at City Hall and in Congress. Rother has done more than 100 TV and radio appearances as a crime expert. Her latest book, “Then No One Can Have Her,” and her Kindle short, “A Complicated Woman,” were published in 2015. Her next book, “Love Gone Wrong,” a compilation of intriguing murder cases, will be released in 2016. She is currently working on a political crime book about San Diego’s historic Strippergate corruption case.

Published Work

La Jolla Cove is becoming a sea lion cesspool…and there’s not much to be done about it.
Published January 15, 2014 in the San Diego Reader.
A story about the sea lion population explosion, and related environmental issues, at the La Jolla Cove, won “Best of Show” for magazine stories at San Diego Press Club, January 2014.

Should California Taxpayers Pay for a Killer’s Sex Change?
Published August 27, 2015 in Orange Coast magazine.
A story about debate over transgender prisoners’ rights to sexual reassignment surgery at taxpayer expense, and specifically Skylar Deleon, who is on California’s death row for murdering three people.

Rother’s latest of 10 books, “Then No One Can Have Her.”
Released October 2015.
A narrative non-fiction tale about the story behind the Steve DeMocker murder case out of Prescott, Arizona,

Rother’s recent Kindle “short,” A Complicated Woman.”
Released December 2015.
A compilation of historic and compelling South Carolina murder cases.

Rother’s most controversial book, Lost Girls.”
Released July 2012.
The story behind the rape and murder of San Diego area teenagers Chelsea King (of California’s Chelsea’s Law) and Amber Dubois by sexual predator John Gardner.

Rother’s award-winning investigative profile of Carl DeMaio from 2005, which was widely quoted and considered the “Bible” on the highly controversial DeMaio when he ran for mayor of San Diego in 2012 and for Congress in 2014.

Public Appearances

TV clips of Rother discussing some of the subjects of her true crime thrillers.
Peggy Pico of KPBS interviews Rother about the controversy over her book, Lost Girls.

Mark Sauer

Mark Sauer


Mark Sauer spent 27 years as a reporter and editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune after stints at The Houston Post and at two papers in his native Michigan.

He joined KPBS as senior news editor in October 2010 and currently hosts the KPBS Roundtable, an influential talk show that airs on Fridays on radio and TV.

Sauer’s exposure of the false accusations and prosecutions of several San Diegans for murder, rape and child abuse won many regional and local journalism awards, including the Sol Price Award for Responsible Journalism.

Published Work

The Education of Mr. J.
Published April 16, 2008 in San Diego Magazine.
The young thug’s shave skull bore a tattoo of a gargoyle holding the severed head of Jesus. He approached in slow motion, swinging his head side to side, muttering expletives. His target, Thad Jesperson, sat motionless in a corner of the jail cell reserved for snitches, gays and child molesters. The ex-teacher’s eyes were wide with terror, his ears ringing with screams from adjoining cells: “Get him! Kill him!” His nightmare—that he would not get back home safely to his family—was playing out. Read more…

Justice Delayed
Published June 11, 2010 in San Diego Magazine.
His searchlights blazing, Officer Scott Walters pulled up to the Crowe family’s house at the end of a long, T-shaped driveway. He was looking for a prowler, a Charles Manson look-alike who had peered through neighbors’ windows that night and entered one home, asking for a girl named Tracy. Two frightened neighbors had called 911. Read more…

Public Appearance

Roundtable: The Big Stories of 2015