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California Watch is a nonprofit investigative news organization that focuses on public affairs issues in California.
A project of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, California Watch was founded in 2009 and is based in Berkeley, Calif. In March 2012, the CIR merged with the Bay Area nonprofit news site The Bay Citizen under the auspices of CIR. The new organization had a combined staff of 70, of which about 40 had been CIR staff, and a 2012 budget of $10.5 million. California Watch’s staff works out of offices in Berkeley, Sacramento, and Orange County.
Nearly all of California Watch’s initial $2.1 million annual budget was provided by three foundations, which funded the organization with $3.7 million in startup grants. Since then, it has worked to broaden its funding base and has increased its annual budget to a projected $4.8 million in 2011. It hopes to eventually develop a model that’s also based on individual memberships, sponsorship, and licensing.
California Watch charges a small per-story fee to provide its stories to other news outlets. The Watch has a regularly updated website, though its primary focus is on collaborating with other California news outlets. Its editors have referred to it as a “boutique wire service,” and they often edit various versions of an investigative report to personalize it to each news outlet, including several translated versions for local ethnic media.
The organization has used unorthodox methods of publicizing its stories, including distributing coloring books and offering lead testing at events.
SeeClickFix is a website and application that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues to local government. The Connecticut-based startup was founded in 2008 and offers free web and mobile phone tools to connect residents and local government bodies. SeeClickFix has partnered with about 800 news organizations as of 2011, including The New York Times, the Washington Post,…