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California Watch facts

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California Watch, launched in 2009 by the Center for Investigative Reporting, is the largest investigative team in the state. California Watch reporters expose injustice, waste, mismanagement, wrongdoing, questionable practices and corruption so that those responsible can be held to account and the public is armed with information it needs to debate solutions and spark change.


With offices in the Bay Area and Sacramento, the California Watch team produces in-depth, high-impact reporting on issues such as money and politics, education, public safety, health and welfare, and the environment. We place emphasis on stories that have the broadest possible relevance, with the potential to have an impact on quality of life for Californians and their communities. Recent stories have exposed serious seismic hazards on the University of California and California State University campuses, waste in federal stimulus contracts, money laundering by state political parties, the near tripling of maternal mortality rates in California over the last decade, and the seismic issues California hospitals face. In 2011, California Watch published “On Shaky Ground,” the results of a 19-month investigation into the seismic safety issues at California public schools.

We engage the public in our stories through interactive tools that make it easy to localize our reporting and by offering resources for the public to connect with leaders and decision-makers on key issues. We offer searchable databases through our Data Center and other resources, links and guides that enable anyone to do his or her own basic watchdog investigations.


We distribute California Watch reporting through collaborative relationships with local and regional news organizations. California Watch has established relationships with more than 50 organizations throughout the state – including newspapers, online publications, television, radio and ethnic media – to help localize and distribute our reporting. We also publish unique, original content on californiawatch.org, including an in-depth daily blog, and we use the social media ecosystem – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and other tools – to reach even wider audiences. 

California Watch shares a radio producer with KQED San Francisco (public radio and television), distributes to ethnic media throughout the state in partnership with New America Media and is part of the Investigative News Network.
In January 2010, California Watch announced the formation of the California Watch Media Network, which includes some of the state’s largest and most reputable news organizations. The network now includes the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, Bakersfield California, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, Riverside Press-Enterprise and The Tribune, San Luis Obispo.  Broadcast members include KQED (San Francisco), KABC (Los Angeles), KXTV (Sacramento) and KGO (San Francisco).
The news organizations that are part of the California Watch Media Network receive stories and daily news posts from California Watch and will work to find new ways to collaborate on future investigative projects.

California Watch is supported by grants from the James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and The California Endowment.

A goal of California Watch is to develop new models for journalism sustainability. Our sustainability model is based on diversified revenue sources, including philanthropic support, sponsorships, individual memberships, fees for reporting products, web advertising and content licensing agreements.

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