Editorial Bios

Diablo Editorial Team

Susan Dowdney Safipour

Editor In Chief

Other kids bugged their mothers for toys and candy at the five and dime check out. Susan bugged her mother to buy her magazines. In third grade, she launched her first magazine. To get her classmates and teachers to subscribe, she put quizzes in one issue and the answers in the next. The next step was journalism school at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a string of newspaper jobs, including 7 years with the Contra Costa Times, before landing at Diablo in March, 2000. She is still a magazine junkie.

Contact: ssafipour@maildiablo.com
Twitter: @diabloeditor
Instagram: @diabloeditor



Rachelle Cihonski

Managing Editor, Diablo

Covers: Departments, Social media, Click/online contests

Most parents punished their children by forcing them to read; Rachelle’s parents disciplined their daughter by limiting her to finishing one book per day. Naturally, Rachelle pursued a bachelor’s degree in English. And after doing a brief stint in L.A. for college, she was immediately convinced that the Bay Area, where she was born and raised, was more to her liking. Upon her return she began interning at Diablo in pursuit of her desire to work as an editor, which was soon fulfilled when she accepted the assistant editor position in 2014. She has since worked her way into managing Napa Sonoma magazine and Diablo Weddings, and is currently the managing editor for Diablo. Rachelle enjoys her morning cups (yes, plural) of coffee, running, cooking (and eating), weekend boating or camping trips, and burying her nose for the billionth time in any of the seven books in the Harry Potter series.

Contact: rcihonski@maildiablo.com
Twitter/Instagram: @rachellealyse



Deanne OConner

Art Director

As a kid, Deanne sneaked looks at naked people in her mom’s National Geographics, and pondered her dad’s Sports Illustrated. Later, she looked forward to first, Seventeen magazine’s monthly arrival, then Rolling Stone—which Deanne spent hours with as a teen.

 As an adult she found her way into publishing and fell in love. That love brought her across the country and eventually to Diablo. Deanne’s addicted to the feeling of “yes, that’s it!” that comes when you hit upon a great creative idea.

When not at Diablo, you’ll find her making stuff in her garage, or sitting on her Benicia patio watching the boats go by on the Carquinez Strait.

Contact: doconnor@diablopubs.com
Instagram: @deanneonfire
Twitter: @deanneonfire


Katie Henry

Features editor, Diablo, Napa Sonoma, and Diablo Weddings

Covers: Homestyle, education, news

After writing her first "novel" at the age of seven, Katie quickly realized she had a deep love for the written word. This love only grew at Chico State, where she majored in English and worked on campus in the writing center. There, she realized that words were not only amazingly fun, the nitty-gritty of following grammar rules was pretty awesome, too. Katie began her professional career as a high school English teacher but eventually decided to pursue her editorial dreams, one of the best choices she’s ever made. She can be spotted all around the East Bay, running the open space trails or sipping a brew on the patio of a favorite restaurant, enjoying the splendor of this beautiful valley she has called home all her life.

Contact: khenry@diablopubs.com


Ali Saragoza

 Associate Editor, Diablo, Managing Editor, Napa Sonoma

Covers: Food scene, community calendar, editorial internship manager

Alejandra, also known as Ali, is an East Bay native and has been an avid reader and writer for as long as she can remember. When she was a child, she could often be found writing short stories and poems in her journal, and she had her first work published when she was 11 years old. She pursued her passions at UC Santa Barbara, where she studied communication and professional writing and editing—and enjoyed the social scene of Isla Vista. She also studied abroad in Madrid for a year, and while interning at an English-language magazine, she discovered a love for food writing. When she’s not out trying the latest restaurant, Alejandra can be found hiking with her Labrador, sipping a cocktail, watching a Warriors game, or baking cookies (and eating the cookie dough, of course).

Contact: asaragoza@diablopubs.com
Instagram: @asaragoza


Lauren Bonney

Assistant Editor

If you asked Lauren at five-years-old what she wanted to be when she grew up she would have said “A veterinarian!” Every Saturday morning she would be glued to the TV watching Animal Planet, mouth agape, absorbing everything from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom to The Crocodile Hunter until she was unwillingly dragged away. So, it was much to her parents’ surprise when Lauren fell in love with writing and storytelling after a creative writing assignment in the seventh grade, and decided she wanted to be a writer. She majored in English and History from Santa Clara University and is a staunch lover of the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. You can find her cheering on the Giants with a beer in hand, indulging in a cheese plate, and eagerly planning her next adventure.

Fun fact: Kangaroos are born roughly the size of a jellybean.


Samantha Schneider

Art/Web Assistant

Covers: Online content, art collection, "Instagram Snap of the Week" blog

Sam’s interest in art and design started in kindergarten at Ayer’s Elementary in Concord where she was introduced to finger painting. She studied design and communication at UC Davis and started her career as a web intern at Diablo magazine. When Sam is not at the Diablo office you can find her at a baseball game with her boyfriend, running local races, eating ice cream, watching The Walking Dead, Instagraming or planning her next trip to Disneyland!

Contact: sschneider@maildiablo.com
Instagram: @toinfinity89


Peter Crooks

Senior Editor/Senior Writer

Covers: Arts and entertainment, personality profiles, news, and service

Peter returned to his hometown of Lafayette and began working at Diablo magazine in 1998, after spending most of the '90s as a scuba-diving, movie-watching, library-frequenting vagabond, living in Micronesia, Australia, and the Grand Canyon National Park. In addition to his love of all things East Bay, Pete is a major film buff—his movie blog, Pete's Popcorn Picks, can be found at diablomag.com, and he has contributed weekly reviews for radio programs on KFRC, KNBR, and 107.7 The Bone. He has written stories for the Arizona Daily Sun, Via magazine, Athletics magazine, and Theowlmag.com, and appeared as an expert tipster on the television programs Bay Area Backroads and Eye on the Bay.

Contact: pcrooks@maildiablo.com

Twitter: @popcornpicks



Nicholas Boer

Senior Food Writer

Covers: Food and drink

Nicholas discovered Hamburger Helper as a kid, putting him on track to sous chef positions at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards and Postino (formerly Tourelle) in Lafayette. In Kauai he was executive chef at Plantation Gardens and a cook at The Master under three star Michelin chef Louis Outhier. Nicholas has also been an executive chef in Sausalito, San Francisco, and Corte Madera. When he got weary of burns and stitches he became a journalist and has been a food writer in the East Bay ever since. He now spends his time bicycle riding in an ever-losing battle to expend more calories than he takes in.

Contact: nboer@diablopubs.com


Clay Kallam

Diablo Dish columnist

Clay has lived in Contra Costa County since Orinda had more ranches than Range Rovers, and what  excitement there was in Walnut Creek was cruisin’ the Main. Fine dining? Pizza at Pinky’s and Freddie’s, and breakfast at Millie’s – plus the occasional dinner at the Casa O and good old-fashioned American Mexican food at El Charro.

Now, however, Clay gets to experience the best in modern California cuisine as the Diablo Dish columnist, and as he’s been to too many restaurants over the years, it’s a perfect fit. Susan Safipour is quick to point out writing Diablo Dish is the best job in the East Bay, and he’s ready to dig in, figuratively and literally, to the task at hand.

Contact: dish@maildiablo.com
Twitter: @DiabloDish


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Get on the A-List!

Sign up to get our e-newsletter and receive exclusive invites to special events, parties, and happenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags