To get involved inside of the prison walls contact Lt. Samuel Robinson - Public Information Officer at:firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Perry was a professional journalist for 15 years, working first at the Pacific Sun newspaper as a proofreader and writer and then at string letter as a copy editor. She has lived almost all her life in Marin and is an enthusiastic reader, walker, cook and crossword fan. When she’s awake, she always has some kind of music playing.
Joan is a writer and event producer and producer of documentaries. Her previous positions include reporter for the Marin Independent Journal and Crittenden News Service, columnist for The News Marin and Assistant to the President for Public Information at College of Marin . Margaret Mead, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Gene Kelley and Julia Childs are among the people she has interviewed.
She has served as president of the Marin County Board of Education, Northern California Peace Corps Association, Marin Shakespeare Festival, Marin YMCA, Marin Chapter of National Women’s Political Caucus and Wednesday Morning Dialogue. She currently serves as an advisor to the San Quentin News and is on the board of directors of Marin Shakespeare Company. A San Francisco native, she is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and received a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University . She has one son, Scott, a lighting director, who lives in Honolulu .
John C. Eagan
My name is John C. Eagan and I am a retired journalist with more than 30 years in the news business. Born and raised in Florida, I served three years in the U.S. Army in South Carolina and Germany. I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
I was a reporter-photographer for the Ft. Lauderdale News and sports editor of the companion newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, before moving to California where I was a reporter- photographer for the Arcadia Tribune and Napa Register, managing editor of the Petaluma Argus-Courier and editor of the Novato Advance. I also was publisher of Marinscope Community Newspapers, a group of weekly newspapers in Marin County.
For 12 years I was with The Associated Press as reporter, editor and executive in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Chicago.
I founded and headed the Computer Training Center in San Rafael, California, for 12 years.
Community activities have included San Rafael and Ignacio Rotary, Petaluma Kiwanis and Napa Optimist clubs, and Temple City Junior Chamber of Commerce. I am a member Tiburon Baptist Church, where I have been a member of its choir for many years and I’ve served two terms as an elected church deacon.
I served two one-year terms as elected president of the Novato Chamber of Commerce. I have also served on the Marin County Civil Grand Jury.
For more than 20 years I have come periodically with members of my church to Saturday evening services in the San Quentin Protestant Chapel.
Since 2008, I have been an adviser and mentor to the inmates who produce the San Quentin News, which had been shut down for about 18 years.
In April 2008, then-Warden Robert Ayres Jr. asked me to help reactivate the newspaper, which I agreed to do as a volunteer.
Several other volunteer advisers have joined the newspaper since then.
I agreed to work with the inmates and administration because I believed the newspaper could make a difference – a difference in the lives of the inmates, and a difference in the public’s understanding of the prison system.
I am impressed with the inmates who have learned to become skilled journalists. The San Quentin News has become an outstanding, high-quality, award-winning publication that does a remarkable job of reporting what is good and what is bad about the criminal justice system – and what needs to be improved or changed.
Jon first met the San Quentin News team as part of a social sector-focused experiential learning course during his Berkeley-Haas MBA program. He led the team of fellow students that developed a business plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of the newspaper and to achieve the SQ News staff’s big hairy audacious goal of providing free access to every prisoner in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Jon completed his MBA in May 2015, including coursework in effective non-profit board governance. He stayed on as a business advisor to the SQ News and has remained active and committed since the end of that first engagement with them. In early 2016, Jon founded and became Director of the Friends of San Quentin News, an independent project under the 501c3 fiscal sponsorship of Social Good Fund. The Friends of San Quentin News is now the affiliated non-profit fundraising and business facilitation entity for SQ News and supports its circulation and social impact growth plan.
Jon holds an engineering degree from MIT and spent 11 years in the US Navy, serving the last 6 in Washington DC for the headquarters of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program. He has lived in 13 states across the country and currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two sons, where he works as a business and innovation manager for a high-tech company. Jon commutes to San Quentin periodically to work, catch up, and laugh with the SQ News team.
Linda Xiques became a San Quentin News adviser in the spring of 2013. Six years earlier, she had retired from a 30-year career in journalism thinking she had put deadlines behind her for good. But from the moment she walked into the office of San Quentin News —the computers clicking, reporters talking, joking, the vibe full of energy and movement—she was glad to be back in a busy newsroom again.
Like the men she now helps to mentor, Xiques learned her journalism skills while on-the-job. A newspaper reader since childhood, she also loved writing, was co-editor of her high school newspaper and worked on college publications. Her academic career was sporadic: Cameron College in Oklahoma, Merritt College in Oakland, College of Marin in Kentfield, with an end-goal of San Francisco State University. But life—marriage, children, the rambunctious Sixties—kept getting in the way. Feeling the years slipping by, Xiques decided to see what she could accomplish without a degree.
She began freelancing for various publications in the Bay Area, learned research techniques by volunteering, was hired as a part-time, then full-time reporter, and in 1982 was promoted to Managing Editor of the Pacific Sun, a well-respected alternative newspaper in Marin County. As a reporter, she received two San Francisco Press Club awards for her writing. A year after becoming an editor, Xiques won an award for Lifestyle Editing in the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Competition of 1983; two years later, she received a second award in the 1985 competition. In 1984, the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) honored the Pacific Sun with a First Place Award for General Excellence, as well as awards for in-depth reporting and feature writing.
In Xiques’ 24-year tenure as Managing Editor and later Executive Editor of the newspaper, Pacific Sun reporters collected a total of 55 writing awards from press organizations such as the San Francisco Press Club, the CNPA, the Association of Alternative Newspapers, the Peninsula Press Club, the Lincoln Steffens Awards for Investigative Journalism, as well as others.
This recognition received by the writers Xiques worked with and mentored remains a source of great pride for her.
Nikki Meredith is an award-winning journalist whose career started with National Public Radio. She subsequently worked as a feature writer for the Pacific Sun and the Marin Independent Journal. Her articles have also appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic, Harpers, Psychology Today, Parenting, Health, USA Today, California Living and the Utne Reader.
Steve McNamara was one of the three initial advisers of the San Quentin News when Warden Bob Ayers revived it in the spring of 2008. Steve devised the paper’s design and typography, moving it toward its appearance as a real newspaper. When San Quentin’s print shop was closed in 2011, he became the paper’s acting publisher, setting up and running the non-profit structure that pays for the paper’s printing and distribution to other prisons and to donors and interested individuals. He also created the paper’s first website whereby inmates’ family members and others could access issues of the paper on the Internet.
Steve brought 53 years of newspaper experience to the News. He had been a reporter and editor for daily, weekly and monthly publications in North Carolina, Miami, Europe and San Francisco. He was owner/editor/publisher of the Pacific Sun in Marin County from 1966 through 2004 when he and his wife, Kay, sold the paper. He was president of the California Society of Newspaper Editors (dailies and weeklies), a director of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and founding president of both the National Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and California Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Also, he taught journalism at San Francisco State University and was a member of the Innovation and Planning Commission of the California Department of Education.
Steve’s involvement took a significant turn in 2012 when his daughter Marisa Rodriguez, a San Francisco Assistant District Attorney, asked why he spent so much time at San Quentin. He said she would visit the newspaper office. She was so impressed with the men she met that she convinced her boss, San Francisco D.A. George Gascón, to join her on a visit. Thus began the San Quentin News Forum, an ongoing program where judges, district attorneys and others in the criminal justice system sit with selected inmates and exchange frank views. It has proved an eye-opener for many who previously gave little thought to the people they sent to prison.
When Steve was owner/editor/publisher of the Pacific Sun, the paper’s reporters were strongly involved in San Quentin and criminal justice generally. However, Steve had little personal interest in those areas. That all changed when he accepted Warden Ayers’s offer to help revive the paper. He became closely involved with the paper’s staff and other inmates, establishing friendships that have continued after their paroles. He says that the men he has met are among the smartest and most motivated persons he has ever known, and he now has a deep interest in fixing our criminal justice system.
William J. Drummond’s career includes stints at The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, where he covered the civil rights movement, and the Los Angeles Times, where he was a local reporter, then bureau chief in New Delhi and Jerusalem and later a Washington correspondent.
Drummond was appointed a White House Fellow in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford, worked briefly for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and eventually became associate press secretary to President Jimmy Carter. In 1977 he joined NPR and became the founding editor of “Morning Edition.” He joined the Berkeley faculty in July, 1983.
His most significant recent contribution to journalism came by way of the partnership he established with the San Quentin News beginning in the summer of 2012.
Yukari Iwatani Kane
Yukari Iwatani Kane is a journalist and author. Her book, Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, was published by HarperCollins in March 2014. She has more than fifteen years of experience covering the technology industry and wrote about Apple during the last years of Steve Jobs’s reign for The Wall Street Journal. She broke many stories, including the news about the CEO’s liver transplant. Before that, Yukari was a correspondent in Tokyo. She started her career at Reuters and U.S. News and World Report. She teaches at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.