CaliforniaWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, has launched its Web site, loaded with original reporting, databases and story ideas. Lance Williams and Chase Davis will cover money and politics. Corey Johnson has the K-12 schools beat. Erica Perez is covering higher education. On the health and welfare beat is Christian Jewett. The project has a data analyst, Agustin Armendariz. Radio reporter Michael Montgomery will focus mostly on criminal justice issues. In the spring, the project plans to hire two more reporters — one to cover public safety issues and another on the environment.
Searchable databases currently available on the site include stimulus contracts, lobbying, campaign finance, university fees, crime statistics and the census.
"For 32 years, CIR has done valuable investigative reporting, much of it with 'Frontline' and '60 Minutes.' But never before has CIR had a team of investigative journalists this large, and never before have we had the flexibility to pursue stories that focus on what arguably is the most important, most complicated, and most messed-up state in the nation," writes Robert "Rosey" Rosenthal, former Chron managing editor who is now executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting.