Laurence Du Sault

Laurence Du Sault covers childhood poverty in San Jose and the Bay Area as part of “The California Divide” project. Before coming to the Mercury News she covered the coronavirus pandemic as a stringer for the New York Times and as a researcher for the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she investigated police criminality for the IRP as part of a statewide coalition of news organizations examining California law enforcement. Du Sault is a recipient of the Society of Professional Journalist’s James Madison Student Journalist Freedom of Information Award, a fellow for the National Institute for Climate Education, as well as a recipient of the Randy Shilts Award for Exceptional Reporting. At Berkeley, she wrote magazine features on the environment and Indigenous affairs, reporting from Native American communities in the Golden State. After completing an internship at CIBL 101,5, public radio in Montreal, Du Sault lived and freelanced in Mexico for a year, where she perfected her Spanish and taught children in Mérida. She grew up in a strictly French-speaking home in Canada and moved to Australia at 18 to learn English. She is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal. 

Erica Hellerstein

Erica is an award-winning investigative journalist born and raised in the Bay Area. She worked as an investigative and political reporter at INDY Week in Raleigh, NC, a researcher and consultant on a VICE documentary, a reporter/researcher at PBS/Frontline and a fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation, where she covered migration and domestic violence among asylum seekers in Honduras and on the California-Mexico border. Her investigative series on North Carolina’s commercial hog farming industry won the Philip D. Reed Award for Environmental Writing and was a finalist for numerous other awards. She has a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Elle, and elsewhere, and her investigations have been highlighted in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. Childhood poverty in San Jose and for The California Divide Project Erica covers childhood poverty in San Jose and the Bay Area as part of “The California Divide.” Poverty is the biggest coverage gap in the state. In response to this, CALmatters, McClatchy’s five California news organizations and the 25 Digital First newsrooms have created a news hub with a collaboration project on the topic. “The California Divide” is an unprecedented news partnership that combines the strengths of respected news-gathering organizations across the state. The shared goal is to build a sustainable and replicable model for data-driven, change-making journalism in this critically underserved coverage area. Report for America has teamed up with three of the new hub’s newsrooms to offer three new corps member placements: CALmatters in Sacramento, The Fresno Bee in Fresno and The Mercury News in San Jose.