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.