A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Members, Watchdog Reporters Rachel and Luis

Luis Zambrano and Rachel Heimann Mercader

Please join us in welcoming our newest members, watchdog reporters Rachel Heimann Mercader and Luis Zambrano.

We were delighted to personally welcome Rachel and Luis at our recent luncheon meeting celebrating World Press Freedom Day.

Rachel Heimann Mercader

Born and raised in San Francisco, Rachel is a 2020 graduate of Rhodes College.

Looking back on her college years, she recalls entering her undergraduate studies thinking she wanted to become a neurosurgeon.

“But a required history course changed my direction,” she explains. “I fell in love with learning about and researching the stories of the past. Newspapers were always a key source to understand why things were and are.”

Rachel worked as an editorial assistant at the Institute for Public Service Reporting at the University of Memphis, where she contributed to research and reporting of in-depth investigative series.

In September 2021, she joined the Naples Daily News as a breaking news reporter, covering courts, cops, and crime. Five months later she was promoted to government watchdog reporter covering Collier County.

Luis Zambrano

Luis is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University, where he interned as a health reporter for Cronkite News and as a political reporter with the Arizona Capitol Times.

Luis notes, “I’ve aspired to be an investigative reporter ever since I gained an appreciation for local reporting.” His interest lies in politics and how it affects local communities and underserved people.

He was hired in September 2021 as a watchdog reporter for the News-Press covering Cape Coral, and adds, “I place a heavy emphasis on the unique issues and challenges facing this fast-growing but suburban-like city.”

Again, a warm welcome to Rachel and Luis, and a heartfelt thank you to board member Laura Greanias, Florida Investigations Editor with USA TODAY Network, for recruiting these talented young journalists to the press club.