We really had no institutional baggage to overcome when we built our California Watch team from scratch. No voices telling us, “You can’t do that.” Or, “That’s not the way we do it here.” We weren’t weighted down by the kind of intractable culture that has made it hard for lots of newsrooms across America to adjust and adapt quickly enough to a fast-changing world.
We have pretty much thrown out the old rule books. Here editors will write and report and – gasp – reporters will edit. And even crazier than that: investigative journalists are blogging – a ton. Our hard-working staff has generated close to 100 blog posts in a little more than three weeks, on top of some kick-ass stories, terrific multimedia and nearly two dozen searchable databases. If you missed it, be sure to check out the video by Mark S. Luckie about our team and mission.
In our first few months of operation, the staff of California Watch has begun to mold its own way of doing things – one that stresses innovation, ideas, and a can-do spirit. We will try new things, and we will occasionally miss the mark, but you can’t move forward without throwing out antiquated, obsolete rules and challenging the way journalists have operated. It’s one of the endearing things in our little newsroom that makes this an absolutely thrilling place to be.
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.