‘CBS News California Investigates’ to provide content for stations across the Golden State

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Jennifer Mitchell, president of CBS Stations‘ west coast and midwest division, has announced a new California-based investigative initiative, CBS News California Investigates, and named longtime journalist Julie Watts as the regional CBS California correspondent.

Through CBS News California Investigates, Watts will uncover and raise awareness of serious issues impacting Californians, hold local officials accountable, obtain answers for viewers and provide solutions.

The segments will air weekly on the CBS-owned stations in Sacramento (KOVR and KMAX), San Francisco (KPIX) and Los Angeles (KCAL and KCBS) and will be available across streaming channels and digital.

“We are taking a closer look at the intricacies and issues facing our local communities through a California legislative and accountability lens,” said Mitchell in a statement. “With this dedicated investigative news role, we aim to uncover the stories shaping policies and impacting the lives of Californians. Julie is a well-known, award-winning investigative reporter in the region, and we have complete confidence she is the perfect journalist to delve into issues and hold government officials accountable.”

Watts will be based in Sacramento, Calif., where the state capitol is located.

Her responsibilities will span from Northern to Southern California, collaborating closely with CBS Sacramento, CBS Bay Area and CBS Los Angeles.

California is somewhat unique in that most of the major U.S. networks own a cluster of stations in the state, particularly in Los Angeles and San Fransisco.

In fact, most networks own more stations in California than any other single state, though they also often control stations in the tristate area of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey and often extending into New England. These stations, however, are scattered across multiple states. 

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This likely made these stations a prime candidate for trying out the idea of a shared investigative correspondent serving the entire state, and this could be a model for owned stations in other parts of the country, though no additional plans were announced by CBS.

By using the “CBS News California” branding, the group is clearly looking to make the offering relevant to viewers of all its stations in the state. CBS-owned stations typically brand under “CBS News (City or Region).”

“Together, Watts and the newsroom investigators across the state will conduct in-depth investigations into issues impacting these communities. CBS News California Investigates aims to empower the communities with knowledge and foster transparency, accountability and, ultimately, a stronger, more informed public,” reads CBS’s announcement of the new role.  

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