After months of hard work, Califoria Watch and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism will launch a multi-part series Friday on hunger in California.

Part of our collaboration model calls for working with students. This partnership with 13 graduate students at USC was by far the most ambitious student project we’ve done at the Center for Investigative Reporting. Keep in mind when you see the series that these students did all this while juggling a full and demanding class load. Is this getting ready for the real world or what?

The first story looks at the growing number of Californians facing challenges feeding themselves and their families, and how this problem may worsen because of the recession and state budget crisis. The second story, coming next week, examines food stamps, their usage, and how more people could benefit from their use. The third major story looks at the how much food is wasted and potential solutions. Each story is accompanied by several sidebars, including video.

USC Associate Professor Sandy Tolan managed the project and the editing and reporting effort. Marcia Parker, the project launch manager for California Watch, who is now with Patch.com worked closely with Sandy in the editing and managing of the series. It’s a first-rate body of work.

We continue to learn how to collaborate with different news organizations and university journalism programs and believe these partnerships benefit all involved – most importantly the public, who will have access to all of the stories through our Web site and a special site developed by USC. Parts of the hunger project will also be broadcast on KQED Radio, television stations and newspapers around the state.

Good luck.

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting and is now the largest investigative reporting team operating in the state. Visit the Web site at www.californiawatch.org for in-depth coverage of K-12 schools, higher education, money and politics, health and welfare, public safety and the environment.

Robert J. Rosenthal

Robert J. Rosenthal is a board member at The Center for Investigative Reporting. An award-winning journalist, Rosenthal has worked for some of the most respected newspapers in the country, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosenthal worked for 22 years at the Inquirer, starting as a reporter and eventually becoming its executive editor in 1998. He became managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2002, and joined CIR as executive director in 2008. Before joining the Inquirer in 1979, Rosenthal worked as a reporter for six years at The Boston Globe and three-and-a-half years at The New York Times, where he was a news assistant on the foreign desk and an editorial assistant on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pentagon Papers project. As a reporter, Rosenthal won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Award for magazine writing, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for distinguished foreign correspondence, and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for Third World Reporting. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in international reporting. Rosenthal was a Pulitzer Prize judge four times. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.