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California Watch releases myFault app for the iPhone

App helps Californians find out just how close they are to seismic hazards. App also offers an emergency supply checklist, as well as a simple flashlight

App is just one element of California Watch’s 19-month investigation into the oversight of seismic safety at California’s public schools. Story package includes several installments, a searchable database, interactive maps, coloring book and more.

BERKELEY, CA – April 7, 2011 – California Watch today released myFault, an iPhone app to help Californians learn their own proximity to seismic hazards. The app also include checklists of what to have on hand, what to do in the case of an earthquake and a built-in flashlight feature for phones that are LED flash-enabled.

The app, available for $0.99 in the iPhone App Store, is just one of the many elements of “On Shaky Ground,” a 19-month investigation into seismic safety at K-12 public schools in California.

“This is an element of the investigation that helps all Californians be better prepared,” said Chase Davis, a California Watch reporter and developer at California Watch who built the app. “Not only do we want to shed light on the issues of seismic safety at our state’s public schools, we want to give everyone useful tools to be even more prepared.”

The app lets Californians, by typing in the street address of a home, school or workplace, to find out how close they are to three seismic hazards: fault zones, landslide zones and liquefaction zones. The app also includes the definition of each term. In addition, it provides a checklist of what people can do to prepare for an earthquake and what to know and do when one strikes, based on recommendations by emergency responders, FEMA and the American Red Cross. This feature works entirely offline, just in case internet or cell phone access is interrupted after a quake.

“One of our challenges and opportunities is to continue to grow new audiences and generate revenue by adapting to new and evolving technology,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting. “We wanted this story to utilize every possible platform, and we think this will help us reach new audiences. Any revenue generated by the app will be used to further our work.”  

Produced by California Watch, the state’s largest investigative reporting team, myFault is based on the same government data used to report the series on seismic hazards in California schools. “On Shaky Ground” reveals that the Division of the State Architect approved at least 20,000 school building projects in California, even though they lacked the final safety certification required by law. The series also includes a searchable database and interactive map to locate individual schools and potential hazards, rich video content and resources for taking action. The series debuts at www.californiawatch.org/earthquakes at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, and continues with an unprecedented number of distribution partners in broadcast, print, radio and online through Monday, April 11.

About California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting

California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process. California Watch receives funding from The James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the California Endowment. California Watch received a National Headliner Award in 2011 for “Best Online Only Journalism Site.” In 2010, California Watch was awarded a general excellence award from the Online News Association, and its staff also was named “Journalists of the Year” by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR reports have reached the public through television, print, radio and the web, appearing in outlets such as 60 Minutes, PBS Frontline, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Politico and U.S. News & World Report. CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards including the Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and a National Magazine Award for Reporting Excellence. More importantly, its reports have sparked congressional hearings and legislation, United Nations resolutions, public interest lawsuits and change in corporate policies. CIR founded California Watch to help create a new model for regional investigative and high-impact reporting.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Marlene Saritzky


Filed under: K–12, Public Safety


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