At precisely the time California newsrooms are shrinking, the state is experiencing its worst budget and governance crisis in decades.

Come meet members of the California Watch leadership team and other media professionals this Friday at noon at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco as they consider the implications of these simultaneous realities. 

Quality journalism is still being done around the state, but in a less sustained way than a decade ago. This is certainly the case nationally as a number of reports have asserted. The downsizing of the news media raises troubling questions about how Californians will be informed about what is happening in the state — in both public and private institutions that affect their lives in fundamental ways. 

I’ll be moderating the panel, which will consist of Sandy Close, executive director of New America Media; Stuart Drown, executive director of the Little Hoover Commission; Mark Katches, California Watch’s editorial director; Martin Reynolds, editor of the Oakland Tribune; and David Lauter, assistant managing editor/California, Los Angeles Times.

For more information, or to buy a ticket, check out this listing on the Commonwealth Club Web site.

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.

Louis Freedberg

Louis Freedberg was formerly executive director of the California Media Collaborative, whose goal was to devise new strategies for coverage of key California issues. The Collaborative joined forces with CIR in May 2009. Until August 2007, Freedberg worked at the San Francisco Chronicle in a variety of roles: columnist and member of its editorial board; Washington correspondent during the presidency of Bill Clinton; and higher education reporter. He was a senior editor at Pacific News Service, now New America Media, where he established and directed Pacific Youth Press. He was the founder and director of Youth News in Oakland, which trained high school students as radio news reporters. He has written and reported for a wide range of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post and National Public Radio. He has reported from diverse regions of the world, including Southern Africa, the former Soviet Union and Central America.. He was the recipient of a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford and an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship. He has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in psychology from Yale University.