More than 40 media partners have carried California Watch stories – a pretty extraordinary number given that we haven’t been around that long. You can see the names of all our partners if you scroll about half way down our About page.
Here’s the scoop on how we partner up with news organizations. First we look for geographic symmetry. If a story has a strong tie to say, Ventura County, it’s a no brainer for us to approach the Ventura County Star. That’s just one example. Newsroom leaders up and down the state have told us they are especially interested in our content provided the stories have a strong local hook.
We also know that stories about statewide politics will appeal to the Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle. Other newsrooms have told us they like these stories too, but without a local connection, they probably won’t bite.
Some newsroom leaders have told us that environment and higher education top their lists of topics of interest. Others say public safety and health and welfare coverage matter most.
That works for us. We have plans to cover all of these topics.
Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as we can. But we also understand that individual stories we produce will not appeal to every news outlet in the state. We can live with that. The trick is to find the news outlets that do want the work we’re trying to place. We have a lot of balls in the air and couldn’t be happier with the response we’re receiving from newspapers, TV and radio and online outlets.
Collaboration can take many forms. In some cases, we will partner early with news organizations to tailor our project to regional interests. With the largest investigative team in California on our staff, more often we hope to develop stories that are ready to publish.We are also working in unique ways to partner with ethnic media outlets. So far, our stories have been translated into four languages.
In most ways, my job is no different than the last two places I worked and where I built investigative teams. I manage and edit projects and prepare them for publication. But where things change radically is toward the end of the process. That can mean editing multiple versions of a story and then working with my boss Robert Rosenthal and colleague Louis Freedberg to distribute the stories and find partners who want our work. Each stage of the process has its thrills and its frustrations. But it’s a new world we’ve embraced here at California Watch – a new world with enormous possibilities.
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 for in-depth coverage of K-12 schools, higher education, money and politics, health and welfare, public safety and the environment.