Leslie David, Executive Director
Phone: (831) 801-1356
Leslie David is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and is a BenitoLink founding board member. She has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. She was with KRON-TV News in San Francisco as camera-woman, editor and field producer, where she won the Commonwealth Club’s Thomas Storke Award with Linda Yee for their series on the Aids Epidemic. She started as a small market news reporter shooting her own 16mm film at KEYT-TV Santa Barbara. Leslie lives on a ranch with her family in San Benito County.
Nicholas Preciado, Content Manager
Nicholas Preciado is content manager for BenitoLink, as well as a writer, editor, and journalist. He previously worked at the Hollister Free Lance, Gilroy Dispatch, and Morgan Hill Times newspapers. Nick graduated from Humboldt State University in 2013 with a B.A. in English Writing Practices and a minor in journalism.
Laura Romero, Marketing & Social Media Manager
Laura Romero is a general assignment reporter for BenitoLink, covering topics like education and city government. Formerly, she worked as an assistant account executive at Pembroke PR in San Francisco, where she assisted with press outreach, event coordination, and social media planning. Her PR skills will be put to use as she helps implement social media strategies and develops an online giving campaign.
John Chadwell, Reporter
John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God’s Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon.
Noe Magaña, Reporter
Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school’s newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State’s Spartan Daily.
Becky Bonner, Reporter
Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.
Blaire Strohn, Reporter
Blaire Strohn is a graduate student at Oklahoma State University focusing on International Agriculture. Blaire also graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Communications. Born and raised on a cow/calf operation ranch in Paicines, she is passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.
Frank Pérez, Reporter
I’m a lifelong resident of San Benito County. I reside in Hollister with my wife, Brenda. I’m embarking on my 19th year at San Benito High School, where I teach world history and Mexican-American history.
In addition, I’m moonlighting as a freelance journalist for BenitoLink.
My passion is delving deeper into the nuances of the local, historical record, while including lesser-known stories of our past. My hope is that county residents will have a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of San Benito County, realizing that its uniqueness depends upon our responsibility as its stewards.
Carmel de Bertaut, Reporter
Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces.
Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker.
She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018.
Mathew Koller, Reporter
Matt Koller is a freelance journalist and photographer covering issues that affect both San Benito and Monterey County. He’s worked as a naturalist in Southeast Alaska, a photographer in the mountains of Colorado, and crewed sailing boats in Hawaii—but feels most at home on the Central Coast, writing about the community.
Paul Hersh, Copy Editor
Paul Hersh is an accomplished copy editor who has worked for the Monterey County Herald for over 15 years. Hersh oversees writing, training and reviews all staff writers and works directly with interns and freelance writers.
Liz Smith, Bookkeeper
Heather Graham, Reporter
I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. I moved to California at the age of 18. Now, age 31, I have been happily married to my high school sweetheart seven years, we have one son together. In addition to being a wife and mother, I am also a college student. My interests include writing, photography, books, and films.
Diana Lopez, Reporter
Diana Lopez is a rising sophomore at San Benito High School. She was previously part of our Junior Journalism program. As a junior journalist she covered topics ranging from high school life to government. For her internship Lopez will be taking on bigger stories including investigative reports.
Fernando Gonzalez, Graphic Designer
Fernando Gonzalez is a Graphic Design Intern at BenitoLink. He aims to enhance the reader experience by providing informative and attractive graphics. A recent Gavilan College graduate, Fernando is excited to begin his career in digital media with BenitoLink.
Francisco Romero, Web Developer
Francisco is a web developer intern through the Emma Bowen Foundation. He is a rising senior at San Jose State University where he aims to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. He hopes to use his school experience in web development to assist BenitoLink.
Melissa Melton, Marketing
Melissa Melton is a media intern at BenitoLink. She is a Business Administration major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, minoring in Integrated Marketing Communications, Statistics, and German. On campus, she serves as Treasurer of Cal Poly’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. She is passionate about media and is excited to share the stories of San Benito County’s diverse community.