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Inside the Newsroom

VIDEO: Senior editor Salladay 'completely addicted' to political coverage

October 12, 2010, 12:05 AM | Mandy Hofmockel

As the leader of the California Watch Sacramento bureau and as the primary editor of the California WatchBlog, Senior Editor Robert Salladay guides robust coverage of often-overlooked statewide topics. 


California Watch steps out for coffee with readers

October 8, 2010, 1:47 PM | Meghann Farnsworth and Ashley Alvarado

Well, that was fun! This past Monday, Oct. 4, California Watch reporters, editors and other staff spread out across the state for our second Open Newsroom.

Our goal was to meet current and potential readers and to introduce ourselves to communities – and we were able to do just that. At 10 different locations, from Sacramento to the Bay Area, Visalia and Los Angeles, we met people from all walks of life.

Public engagement manager Ashley Alvarado had one of the most robust experiences; she kibitzed with a dozen or so people over coffee and pastries at the Xokolatl Café in Los Angeles. Conversation topics ranged from illegal immigration to race in America, botany, and closing the education gap. There was a diverse collection of folks at the coffeehouse, and those who sat down to chat came from very different backgrounds. Among them were parents concerned about keeping their kids off the street and getting a quality education, an immigrant struggling to achieve legal status, and a U.S. Marshal fighting crime in the States and Mexico...

VIDEO: Freedberg adds international background, startup experience to team

October 6, 2010, 12:05 AM | Mandy Hofmockel

In his career, Louis Freedberg reported on the anti-apartheid movement, the Clinton White House and the education system. Now the co-founder of California Watch covers the K-12 and community college systems as a senior reporter.



California Watch tests new way to engage readers with lead-jewelry project

October 5, 2010, 12:25 AM | Mark Katches

Make a difference. Innovate. Engage communities.

That’s what we’re trying to do at California Watch. Our ultimate goal is to produce high-impact stories that prompt change, serve the public and reach audiences in new ways.  

So we are especially proud of our story this past weekend on lead threats in jewelry. We think it meets the goals we have set internally for our biggest projects.

Reporters Joanna Lin and Mandy Hofmockel detailed how California regulators have hit a national retailer with five violation notices in a span of 16 months for repeatedly selling jewelry containing illegal levels of lead.

Mandy Hofmockel/California WatchA heart-shaped pendant that tested high for lead

The dangers of lead in jewelry may not sound like a new story. But if you think the problem has been eliminated, you’d be sadly mistaken. 

The toxic metal is especially harmful to young children and women who are pregnant. Prolonged exposure to lead can cause developmental issues, including stunted growth and brain damage. High levels of lead can still be found in all kinds of consumer...

Outside the Newsroom: Bringing our team to a WiFi spot near you

September 30, 2010, 4:55 AM | Ashley Alvarado and Meghann Farnsworth

The California Watch team is taking a coffee break, and you’re invited. Next Monday, Oct. 4, our reporters, editors and interns will fan out to coffeehouses across the state for our second Open Newsroom event.

It’s been roughly nine months since our first Open Newsroom, and in that time we’ve moved to a beautiful landmark building on Center Street in downtown Berkeley and our staff has grown significantly. So we figured it was time you, our readers, got to meet the California Watch team. What better way for us to connect – and get out of the office – than by meeting up over a cuppa joe?

From 9 a.m. till noon on Oct. 4, we’ll set up shop in coffeehouses from Sacramento to Irvine. Check the map to find the reporter nearest you and stop by and say hello. We’re looking forward to meeting you and hearing what’s going on in your community. Got tips? We’re here to listen and learn. We’ll also be tweeting throughout the morning. Join in our conversation by using #opennews in all your tweets.

And if that’s not incentive enough, we’re giving away one iPod Touch. All you have to do is stop by one of the coffeehouses where we’re working (see the map below) and introduce yourself to us. We’ll give you the secret code word that you can then e-mail to info@californiawatch.org (along with your name, phone number, and address). A winner will be randomly selected the next day....

VIDEO: Armendariz merges tech skills with journalistic research

September 27, 2010, 12:05 AM | Mandy Hofmockel

Agustin Armendariz sifts through rivers of data to find solid nuggets of information for reporting.


VIDEO: Teaching experience helped shape reporter’s perspective

September 20, 2010, 12:03 AM | Mandy Hofmockel

Erica Perez went from teaching English at a high school to writing about the education system as an investigative reporter with California Watch.


VIDEO: Senior reporter Williams brings deep experience to California Watch newsroom

September 13, 2010, 12:05 AM | Mandy Hofmockel

In the first of a weekly series of video bios, California Watch senior reporter Lance Williams talks about his career as an investigative journalist and the transition to the world of nonprofit journalism. 


Looking forward to another year of life outside the comfort zone

September 10, 2010, 12:05 AM | Mark Katches

A year ago today, California Watch published its first story online – a piece about questionable homeland security grant spending. It was written by G.W. Schulz, who covers homeland security for the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The story ran on the front page of 25 newspapers the following day and reached more than 1.8 million newspaper subscribers. We produced the story at three different lengths and edited custom versions for several news organizations across the state. As a new startup, we didn’t know what to expect when we started contacting newsrooms about the story. We honestly would have been happy if just a few news outlets decided to take it. The broad reach blew us away...

Listen to reporter Will Evans talking about BP stimulus story on 'Which Way, LA?'

August 5, 2010, 6:37 PM | Austin Fast

Oil giant BP is under heavy pressure from Washington to pay for the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon blowout. At the same time, it’s collecting $308 million in stimulus money for its role in building a power plant near Bakersfield. California Watch reporter Will Evans spoke with "Which Way, LA?" host Warren Olney on Aug. 3 about his role reporting this story.

The interview with Will begins around minute 01:20 of the broadcast.


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