Neal Matthews

Neal Matthews is a former Navy diver and parachute rigger who studied photojournalism and filmmaking at San Diego State University, then worked for ten years at the Reader. He moved on to be a contributing editor for New West/California Magazine, Boating, Travel Holiday, and Popular Photography. He has also written for the New York Times.

Matthews has worked on stories and shot photographs in about 20 countries plus Antarctica, and has won many journalism awards. He is married and currently lives and writes in San Diego, California, where he continues practicing underwater photography, a passion he developed in the Navy. His website is

He has several Reader eBooks available through bookstores:

A Few Rounds with the Mongoose

A 1985 Road Trip with Boxing Champ Archie Moore

by Neal Matthews

I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam

Map Points and Secret Moves of the Contra War

by Neal Matthews

To Save a Symbol

The California Condor Controversy Endures

by Neal Matthews

Wing Men

Who Was Behind the Navy Tomcats?

by Neal Matthews

Latest Articles

When Duke Was King

In the air over Vietnam.

Randy Cunningham taxied the F-4 Phantom onto the catapult aboard the USS Constellation, and both he and Bill Driscoll, the radar intercept officer in the back seat, turned to look at the spinning fingers of ...

Notes from Underground

An incendiary history of San Diego's counterculture press.

It's time we said it loud and clear: San Diego is the armpit of the world. This town is middle class, stupid, mediocre, and boring. It is plastic, sterile, unhip, and sexually repressed; it is ...

Mr. San Diego, part two

The Decline of a Western Tycoon

Kroc got on the phone and in a very high-pitched voice he said, “Mommy, I bought us a baseball team today.” There was a long silence, but I imagine what she said to him.

Mr. San Diego: Born With the Century

The man who built this city is rocking but still rolling at 93.

I don’t know why we expanded like this. I guess I’m a damn fool and like to work and create things. We had to have jobs, industry. San Diego wasn’t like Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Steel.

Offally Healthy

If San Diego is eventually forced to build a multi-billion-dollar secondary sewage treatment system, the legal mandate for such an undertaking will be found in Federal Judge Paudi Brewster’s ruling on March 28. After an ...

Dust Flies Over Ancient Settlement

Conflict over C.W. Harris site

Rogers named the oldest group the San Dieguito people because their stone tools were found along the San Dieguito River. The next group, whose artifacts rest above those of the San Dieguitoans, he called the La Jolla people.

Unnatural Erosion

It looks like a big vacant lot along the cliffs on the western slope of Point Loma, just below Point Loma Nazarene College, between Ladera Street and the fence marking the U.S. Navy property. There’s ...

Jorge Hank Finally Talks

Last Wednesday, May 2, was a day of reckoning foretold by many Tijuanans. They may not have been able to peg the exact date it would happen, but they knew it was coming: Antonio Vera ...

I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam

Map points and secret moves of the contra war

The details published here are just a fraction of what Plumlee knows about U.S. government actions in Central America. He can rattle off names of pilots and the secret, illicit missions they flew until the listener’s eyes glaze over.

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