CELESTE FREMON is WitnessLA’s creator and editor. She is also an award winning freelance journalist specializing in gangs, law enforcement, criminal justice and education policy. She’s the author of G-Dog and the Homeboys, and is working on a new book, An American Family, about the life of a parolee, his wife and kids, during his first four years out of prison (based on her yearlong LA Weekly series of the same name).
Her work has been honored by The American Library Association, The LA Press Club, The Society of Professional Journalists, PEN USA, The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, The Western Publishing Association, Sunday Magazine Editors’ Association, The Missouri School of Journalism, The Knight Foundation and others.
She’s a senior fellow for social justice and new media at the Institute for Justice and Journalism, formerly a Visiting Lecturer at UC Irvine where she taught literary journalism as it relates to social justice, and a periodic adjunct professor at the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. (She is also a river rafter, critter patter, rose wrangler, and the outrageously proud mother of her code ninja son Will Mason, who designed the technical side of WitnessLA.)
WILL MASON is WitnessLA’s web applications guru and site builder. A born engineer, Will began building computers at the age of 7 and mastered web development by 15. The youngest developer to be hired at NewCars.com, while still in his teens, Will wore many hats as the webmaster of the company’s three main websites taking on the additional challenge of internal tool developer, writing web applications used by the company’s sales and support teams, as well as accounts receivable. Will became a partner in Don’t Blink Design with the focused intention of developing a top tier web development firm.
Now Will is a Senior Software Engineer at Twilio, and lives with his beautiful wife, Christine, in the Bay Area.
(By sheer and marvelous coincidence, Will also happens to be the editor’s aforementioned extremely smart son.)
NOTE 1: The above profiles might lead one to assume that there’s some nepotism going on here. But, in truth, WitnessLA would never have been able to afford the services of the Don’t Blink Design team had editor Fremon not harped a great deal about the importance of family, while simultaneously employing unseemly amounts of emotional blackmail. (And she is not anywhere near as sorry about doing this as others might want her to be.)
MATTHEW FLEISCHER is the team’s senior investigative reporter. He is also a veteran LA-based journalist and editor who has been a staff writer with the LA Weekly and senior editor of the LA City Beat. He is currently a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, editor for Fishbowl LA, and he writes for several other outlets both print and online. Matt has been honored by the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies and by the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for his story “Navahoax.” His story “Children of the Revolutionary” was honored by the The LA Press Club and First Amendment Funding Inc. Matt is a recipient of a Village Voice Media Fellowship. AND he/we won 2nd place award from the LA Press Club for Advocacy Journalism for the “Follow the Gang Money” series. Part 2 of the same series, written by Matt, won 3rd place in the Press Club’s Online Investigative category. Matt would also like you to know that when he is not writing he wanders, usually by foot.
TAYLOR WALKER is WitnessLA’s Assistant Editor and news aggregator. She is a Los Angeles native who grew up in a family full of law enforcement officers. Taylor is a Journalism major who knew she wanted to be a writer by age five. She is an animal enthusiast (see Pomeranian above) and a lover of blues and folk-ish rock (think Ryan Adams, Tom Waits, Iron & Wine). She spends most of her free time with her family–hiking new trails, reading, and volunteering around LA County.