Hunger in the Golden State

In 2010, as record numbers of Californians sought food assistance, the USC Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication teamed up with California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, to launch an investigative multimedia series, “Hunger in the Golden State.” The series ran in California newspapers (including The Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle), on radio stations (through KQED’s statewide public broadcast, The California Report), and at online news outlets, like

Annenberg journalism professor Sandy Tolan transformed his class into a newsroom to produce the series, alongside former California Watch launch manager Marcia Parker and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Parker and Tolan served as co-teachers and editors of the project, with ad(itional editing by the California Watch team.

Over six months, 13 Annenberg journalism graduate students interviewed dozens of state and local food bank officials as well as Californians who struggle with food shortages every day. The reporting unearthed new numbers showing rising hunger at an unprecedented rate in California and nationwide that affected millions – including those in affluent areas – yet remained invisible to many.