Denise Zapata is the associate editor for California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting. She has spent her career as a journalist in California, most recently in San Diego. Her newspaper experience began at The Bakersfield Californian, where she covered education and county government and was later named city editor. In 2000, Denise joined The San Diego Union-Tribune as an assistant metro editor, overseeing reporters focused on local government and education. She also worked as a reporter for the Watchdog Institute, based at San Diego State University. Denise is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of Santa Clara University.