CONTENTS: Contact Us  |  Anonymous Tips  |  Staff Directory  |  Contributing Writers

Contact Us

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 10020, Santa Ana, CA 92711

Phone: (714) 558-8642

Anonymous Tips

Do you have a news tip for Voice of OC? We have several ways you can send us an anonymous message. No tool is completely secure, but these options below offer the best option for maintaining anonymity. Please do not send story ideas or press releases through these channels.

Please understand that news tips must have documentation or evidence. Speculation is not enough. Be specific. News tips must be newsworthy.

We regularly check each of these channels. We cannot promise each message will receive an individual response. We will respond to tips in the same method you contact us.

Encrypted Email

Proton Mail offers encrypted email services. The company is based in Switzerland and is thus governed by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act. All emails sent through the service are considered personal data.

Google Voice


We use Google Voice for our office line. The service maintains copies of call record information, with no personally identifiable information. Voice of OC will regularly delete old messages, but copies may still remain on Google’s servers.

Postal Mail

P.O. Box 10020, Santa Ana, CA 92711

You can send us mail as another secure means of communication. We recommend using a public mailbox and not a post office.

Staff Directory

NORBERTO SANTANA, Jr., Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

VIK JOLLY, Collegiate News Service Editor


MEG WATERS, Development Director

THERESA SEARS, Involvement Editor

JULIE LEOPO, Director of Photography




ANGELINA HICKS, Reporting Fellow

JOSE HERNANDEZ, Contributing Visual Journalist


OMAR SANCHEZ, Contributing Photo Journalist

KARLENE GOLLER, Media Law Attorney

TRACY WOOD, Civic Editor (Emerita)

“Voice of OC journalists work as quality of life mechanics, empowered and encouraged to dive daily into the civic trenches of Orange County’s cities and government agencies as well as the region’s arts and cultural institutions, engaging on stories that affect real people and hold powerful interests accountable.”

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Voice of OC


Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Norberto Santana, Jr. is an award-winning investigative reporter with nearly two decades reporting experience, most recently engaging Orange County government institutions and decision makers as the founding publisher of the nonprofit digital newsroom, Voice of OC.

As publisher and editor in chief, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and also writes a weekly Opinion column about Orange County government.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Orange County Press Club recognized Santana as Orange County’s best columnist.

In 2018, the Los Angeles Press Club named Santana as Online Journalist of the Year.

In 2018, the Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recognized Santana as a “Distinguished Journalist.”

And in 2013, the California Chicano News Media Association honored Santana with a lifetime achievement award.

Santana also serves on the board of directors for the national trade group for nonprofit newsrooms, the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), the national nonprofit advocating investigative journalism, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the California First Amendment advocacy group, CalAware.

In addition to journalism, Santana also teaches public affairs and investigative journalism as an adjunct faculty professor at Chapman University.

Before founding Voice of OC in 2009, Santana was a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register from 2004-2009, focusing on county government. He’s spent nearly two decades just focusing on local governments across Southern California, previously as a staff writer with outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Bernardino County Sun.

Santana began his journalistic career in the early 1990s as an apprentice reporter with Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. covering daily floor action in the U.S. Congress and followed that up with a stint covering the territorial Senate for the U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News.

In addition to his experience as a journalist, the Southern California native has a master’s in Latin American Studies, has worked as an elections analyst on National Endowment for Democracy programs across Latin America and was one of the founders of, a website featuring the work of dissident journalists inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.

Languages spoken: English and Spanish

Areas of expertise: Orange County, southern California, investigations, politics, elections, government transparency, Congress, Cuba, Caribbean, Latin America, local government, civic education and reporting education.



Civic Editor

Spencer Custodio is Voice of OC’s civic editor. Previously, he worked as one of Voice of OC’s first interns starting in 2010, covering Fullerton and general assignment stories.

During his time with Voice of OC, Custodio covered the Joe Felz election night car crashthat lead to him being charged with a DUI (the case is ongoing). He also has been covering the Irvine Veteran’s Cemetery, a first for Orange County, that led to a land swap with a developer that divided many veterans and residents. Recently, he covered the sudden resignationof former Laguna Niguel Mayor Jerry Slusiewicz over claims of bullying and intimidation that started when Slusiewicz found a tree trimming contract that was overpaid by $410,000.

Custodio graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with extensive education in Constitutional law, public policy, economics and international law. He worked as the news editor at the student newspaper, The Daily Titan, during his last semester.

Languages spoken:English

Areas of expertise: Voter registration and turnout, data analysis, homelessness, Irvine and Fullerton.



Collegiate News Service Editor

Vik Jolly is Collegiate News Service Editor at Voice of OC. He has three decades of daily journalism experience, having worked at the Orange County Register, the Associated Press and newspapers in Hawaii and Palm Springs.

Vik served as investigations editor at The Desert Sun and as the editor-in-chief of the San Diego Business Journal. Vik is passionate about public service journalism and is a full-time journalism professor at Chapman University, which has a youth media partnership with Voice of OC. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal State Fullerton, where he has been an adjunct professor for more than a decade.

Vik has been editor and a part of teams on projects for which his reporters won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, including for best enterprise, best agricultural and best investigative reporting. He also edited a three-part series on the gaps in the continuum of care in San Diego’s mental health system, for which his reporter in 2019 was awarded the Best in Show in the non-daily newspaper category by the San Diego Press Club.

Languages spoken: English. Conversational in Spanish and Hindi.

Areas of expertise: Courts, public affairs, international affairs.


Development Director

Meg McCarthy Waters is development director for the Voice of OC and works to develop multiple funding streams to support the news agency’s continued growth.

During her lengthy career, she has earned the reputation as one of the top Orange County-based public relations and outreach strategists having served many of the region’s most prominent corporations, public agencies and non-profit organizations. She has a deep commitment to open government, quality journalism, free speech and civic involvement.

She is best known for her work as a spokesperson for the 10 south county cities concerning the reuse of the former MCAS/El Toro. Over the years, she has worked with nearly all of the cities in Orange County, the County Auditor-Controller and the Transportation Corridor Agencies. In the private sector, she has represented several the county’s largest corporations.

She also has considerable expertise working with nonprofits and education including the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, UCI, Concordia University, Santa Ana Unified School District, Catholic Charities, the Alzheimer’s Association and many others.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from UC Riverside. She has taught public relations at the community college level and is a frequent guest speaker.

Contact: or 949-584-4977


Involvement Editor

Theresa Sears is Involvement Editor for Voice of OC and works with active residents throughout Orange County helping to lift their voices by facilitating the publication of daily Op-eds from a broad array of perspectives.

Theresa also handles office administration and works to help organize Voice of OC civic training programs and policy events.

With an intimate knowledge of Orange County civic issues, Theresa has worked as an active grassroots community leader on a host of public land use and regional public-benefit issues across the region for the past three decades.

As a solutions oriented activist, she has taken a leadership role in grass roots efforts supporting the public’s right to know and petition their government, community engagement, legal remedies and direct democracy.

Her efforts have preserved Orange County’s fairgrounds, Barham Ranch which is now part of Santiago Oak Regional Park, as well critical open space in East Orange. She’s also led efforts to protect Orange County’s regional park system as a leader with the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks

Languages spoken: English and some Spanish

Areas of expertise: Community organizing, direct democracy, open government – public oversight, land use, civic engagement and protecting public assets.



Director of Photography

Julie Leopo is an award-winning photojournalist. Her first photo essay was published with Voice of OC in 2015 and she has been working as a photographer with the publication ever since.

Julie has freelanced for OC Weekly, KCET, Mitú, The California Endowment, Ed Source and Vice. She has won awards for her photo essays featured in Voice of OC, and recognition for her Santa Ana photo essay, “ Lost in the City,” in Berlin, Germany. This particular photo essay also won awards for best photo essay in the 2016 OC Press Awards.

Leopo went to the Orange Coast College Community college where she was enrolled in their photo program. During her studies, she was awarded two scholarships to continue her photo work with a concentration on Social Justice. Her work has been shown on USC’s website and exhibited in a Yale photo-program show.

Languages spoken: Fluent in English and Spanish.

Areas of expertise: For three years Julie has covered all areas surrounding social issues in Orange County, Mexico, and other counties in California.




Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter covering north/central Orange County, as well as broader regional issues around law enforcement, transportation, the environment, the OC Fair, and Little Saigon.

He joined in 2018 as an intern, shedding light on turmoil and corruption claims in Westminster and uncovering a now-fired OC Fair executive’s suspect fundraising relationship with a nearby, private Christian college that the Fair had sponsored with public money.

More recently, he put out a number of investigative stories on local law enforcement agencies; detailed political jockeyingaround a controversial seawater desalting plant proposal in Huntington beach; narrated a racial reckoning inside one of the county’s largest school districts; and tracked variousquality of life issues across the region

Before Voice of OC, Brandon worked as a reporter and editor at Cal State Fullerton’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Titan, and won a number of accolades for his reporting in 2018, including a 1st and 2nd place Los Angeles Press Club award and 1st place national College Media Association award.

Brandon is currently a member of Report for America, a national network of local reporters committed to bolstering democracy throughout the U.S. 

Languages spoken: English, intermediate French and minimal Vietnamese.

Areas of expertise: North Orange County, public lands, law enforcement and public safety.



Contributing Visual Journalist

A contributing videographer to Voice of OC and a freelance journalist. Although I have been taking photographs for more than nine years my professional experience comes mainly from shooting events such as weddings, one on one photoshoots, and personal projects. I was working for Canon USA but later left to pursue more creative endeavors.

Languages spoken: Fluent in English and Spanish.

Areas of expertise:Photography and videography (including drone videos).




Noah Biesiada is a reporter covering primarily south Orange County cities, disasters, investigations and education.  

Since he joined as an intern in the summer of 2019, Noah has helped launch Voice of OC’s disaster reporting page and reported on a variety of issues, including a controversial asphalt plant located near homes in the city of Irvine, the debate over when students should return to schools during the Covid-19 pandemic and an investigative series detailing the funding mechanisms for the Orange County Great Park, Orange County’s largest civic construction project. 

He’s also served as the lead disaster reporter through four wildfires, mudslides and the Huntington Beach Oil Spill in 2021. 

Before coming to Voice of OC, Noah worked as a news editor at Cal State Fullerton’s student newspaper The Daily Titan. He won multiple awards, including a 1st place award for Best Breaking News Story covering the on campus killing of CSUF employee Steven Chan. 

Noah graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2021 with a degree in communications.

Languages spoken:  English

Areas of expertise: Irvine, Fullerton, San Clemente, Mission Viejo, Mello-Roos taxes, finance, education, disasters, investigations.




Hosam Elattar is a reporter covering the City of Newport Beach and the City of Costa Mesa who wrote his first article for the Voice of OC in January, 2020.

Hosam has written articles about curriculum changes at school districts in the County, homelessness and affordable housing as well as local food pantries and volunteer efforts during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Elattar graduated from Cal State Fullerton where he worked as a reporter and editor at the University’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Titan. During his senior year, he was one of the lead reporters with Voice of OC fellow Noah Biesiada uncovering the posting of a flier on social media with a racist watermark by a fraternity as well as covering the killing and stabbing of Steven Chan, a former CSUF administrator on campus and the trial of Chris Chuyen Vo, the CSUF employee arrested for the killing for the student paper. 

The two reporters received first place for the best breaking news story in the 2020 California College Media Awards for uncovering that Vo had returned to campus following the stabbing death.

Languages spoken: English, Arabic and Spanish.

Areas of expertise: Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and food insecurity in Orange County.




Ms. Aviles, daughter of the late renowned open government activist Richard P. McKee, is an attorney who specializes in the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown Act, and the Bagley-Keene Act, and serves as litigation counsel for Californians Aware. She attended the University of La Verne College of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2006. She has successfully assisted numerous clients in obtaining legal orders interpreting California’s open government laws and securing the release of important government records.

In 2012, she successfully represented Californians Aware when it teamed up with the Los Angeles Times to force the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission to comply with the Brown Act and turn over wrongfully withheld public records. In 2010, she won a case against California State University Stanislaus, obtaining an order requiring the University to disclose its foundation’s speaking appearance contract with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Ms. Aviles has also served as outside counsel for the San Diego County Water Authority, successfully litigating two high profile public records cases against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Eastern Municipal Water District.


Media Law Attorney

Karlene Goller is one of the nation’s most recognized First Amendment lawyers. In 25 years at the Los Angeles Times, mostly as the paper’s newsroom counsel, Goller successfully fought for open records and proceedings, and counseled reporters and editors at the Los Angeles Times Media Group’s daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, digital properties, and new media.

She is now a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Karlene Goller PC and Of Counsel at Jassy Vick Carolan advising news organizations, authors and others on issues ranging from access to libel. Goller teaches media law at UCI Law.


Civic Editor (Emerita)

Tracy Wood oversees Voice of OC’s civics reporting, including county and city government, the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Anaheim, Santa Ana and other community coverage.

Tracy is a former government reporter, foreign correspondent in Asia, and California investigative reporter and editor. She has covered the California legislature and governor’s office for both United Press International and the Los Angeles Times. As a UPI reporter, she was one of the few women combat correspondents during the Vietnam War. She joined the Los Angeles Times in California where she was an investigative reporter for 17 years, covering political and government corruption. Later she became the Orange County Register’s Investigations Editor, leading the paper’s investigations team when it broke the story of former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona’s ties to Nationwide Auction Systems founder and former Assistant Sheriff Donald G. Haidl.

She has won numerous awards for investigative reporting and in 2001 was named Los Angeles Print Journalist of the Year by Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism association.

Wood and eight other women reporters from Vietnam co-authored “War Torn, Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam” (2002 Random House). She was also part of the Los Angeles Times staff team that won the 1993 Pulitzer for coverage of the Rodney King riots. The Pulitzer was for spot news coverage for balanced, comprehensive, penetrating coverage under deadline pressure of the second, most destructive day of the Los Angeles riots.