Ruben Castaneda is a former reporter for the Washington Post and author of the memoir South Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in District of Columbia
Castaneda was born and raised in Los Angeles, the son of a gas company worker and a homemaker.
He is the eldest of five children. After working at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner he was hired by the Washington Post in 1989 where he became a crime beat reporter in Washington, Doctorate. C. There he covered the height of District of Columbia"s crack epidemic which saw over 400 murders a year, among the highest murder rate in the country. Castaneda later moved to cover Prince George"s County, Maryland court room stories where he was instrumental in exposing widespread police brutality by the Prince George"s County Police Department.
Castaneda left the Post in 2011 and worked on his memoir.
In the memoir Castaneda explains that while he was working as a journalist for the Post he was also secretly buying and using crack himself, often from the same neighborhoods and people he was reporting on during the day. Castaneda has been clean since 1992.
He was one of two first place winners for "Feature Writing" in the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild"s Front Page Awards (2007), for "Cracked" published in the Post.