August 24th, 2012

Get an inside look at California’s forgotten prison population.

Under federal court order to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, California is now releasing thousands of prisoners or transferring them to county jails. But the rapidly aging and dying prisoners confined to state prison hospices are often left behind. As many as 3,300 inmates in the U.S. die in prison every year.

August 20th, 2012

Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show

The man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training – which preceded fatal shootouts with Oakland police in the turbulent 1960s – was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report.

One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Richard Masato Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities. He was a member of several radical groups before joining and arming the Panthers, whose members received international notoriety for brandishing weapons during patrols of the Oakland police and a protest at the state Legislature.

Get the full story and watch the exclusive video for more information.

Photo: A young Richard Aoki is involved in a 1969 protest at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way near the UC Berkeley campus. CREDIT: Courtesy of the Oakland Tribune

May 1st, 2012

"Once you’re in you’re in. There’s no backing down. I felt like I was finally a part of something." - Go behind the story of the documentary "Nuestra Familia, Our Family," a film about gun violence in Salinas, California.

April 6th, 2012

Roughly 1.8 million people live in low-income unincorporated communities in California. These communities are outside of recognized city boundaries and therefore lack many public services, including sewer systems and clean water. California Watch reporter Bernice Yeung visited several of these communities across the state and spoke to residents about the challenges they face.

March 19th, 2012
A photograph from the new book “Valley of Shadows and Dreams” by Ken and Melanie Light. The two spent five-years documenting farm workers’ daily experiences in California’s Central Valley. See more images and learn more about their project here
March 16th, 2012

Ken and Melanie Light embarked on a five-year photographic journey of a region known for its agricultural plenty – and the marginalization of its people. In their book, “Valley of Shadows and Dreams,” the Lights dig deep into the harsh truths of farm workers’ daily experiences in California’s Central Valley and take a hard look at the legacies of politics, bureaucracy and control in the region. In our new video, we interviewed the Lights about their experiences reporting in the Valley.

March 7th, 2012

CIR’s reporting has uncovered serious problems with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s oversight that could be putting over 100 million Americans who live near nuclear plants at risk.


Despite the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan last March, nuclear power is experiencing a rebirth in the United States. Billions of dollars in federal funding has been allocated to develop nuclear capacity; applications are under consideration to build more than a dozen new reactors; and last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced approval for the construction of the first new nuclear reactors in more than three decades. 

But what about the nation’s existing fleet of aging reactors? Licensed to operate for 40 years, many of these plants are steadily, if quietly, getting extensions from the NRC. Seventy-one of the nation’s 104 plants already have won approval for 20-year extensions. Watch our new investigation, done in collaboration with Al Jazeera English’s “People & Power,” which takes a closer look into surprising problems in the NRC’s oversight of aging nuclear plants.

February 24th, 2012

Six days before he died, Van Ingraham was found on the floor of his room. His neck was broken and his spinal cord was crushed and disfigured. The injury was so severe, medical experts said it looked like he could have been put in a headlock or hanged.

But even if Ingraham knew how he’d been injured, his severe autism prevented him from revealing it. He’d never uttered a word in his life – only his injuries could speak for him.

Solving the mystery of Ingraham’s death in the summer of 2007 was left to the detectives at the Fairview Developmental Center, a state-run institution in Costa Mesa where Ingraham lived in a sterile room. A tiny window allowed only a sliver of light into his world.

Ingraham’s family sent him to Fairview when he was just 8 years old. He lived under the care of the state for 42 years. Restless, he would sprint through hallways. He would urinate on himself when upset. At his worst, he would strike at his own face, though never at his three roommates or others around him.

The coarseness of Ingraham’s life at Fairview was matched only by the sloppiness of the investigation into his death. Watch our in-depth video to learn more about Ingraham’s case.

October 28th, 2011

Wonderful video of San Francisco and the Bay.


San Francisco, circa 1958


A Sunny Day in San Francisco in 1958 

From Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco looks shiny and new under a light blue sky in this amazing 16mm Kodachrome footage from 1958. Jeff Altman, a professional film colorist in Chicago, restored the film, which was shot by his grandfather. He was a police officer in Chicago and a 16mm film enthusiast, shooting rolls of perfectly exposed film on trips around the U.S. You can see his equally lovely footage of Las Vegas in 1962 here, along with an interview with Altman, in which he describes the process of restoring the footage.

Reblogged from
September 7th, 2011


Students from around the country reflect on how the 9/11 attacks shaped their generation.

Check out the PBS NewsHour video quilt, NewsHour Extra video quilt and submit your own video here.

Reblogged from PBS NewsHour
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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.