WitnessLA is an independent, non-profit source of criminal justice news in the public interest.
We have a special focus on the relationship between violence prevention, the juvenile justice & criminal justice systems, law enforcement, prisons, parole, courts, and methods of school discipline, affect the health and well being of California’s communities and beyond.
Using the tools of our award-winning investigative journalism, news reporting and commentary WitnessLA––and our weekly newsletter, The California Justice Report—aims to shine a light on our institutions of justice in order to hold public officials and agencies accountable, advance public knowledge, and aid in fostering solutions, both on local and statewide levels.
We also coach student reporters in the art of investigative journalism in the public interest, in order to help grow the next generation of smart, humane, observant, and absolutely fearless newswomen and newsmen. The resulting stories are published in WitnessLA.
Although WitnessLA is Los Angeles-based, as its name suggests, our reporting stretches well beyond LA, and we often partner with news organizations in other parts of the state and nation to extend our reach still farther.
In addition to our cooperative relationships with other publications, each semester we mentor a group of journalism majors in the rigors and exhilarations of criminal justice reporting.
We live in a time where many talented journalists find their work constrained by an over-focus on the fiscal bottom line. For this same reason, investigative reporting is too frequently considered a luxury. For this reason, new models like ours, and those of other nonprofit news organizations, are filling crucial gaps in journalism.
At WitnessLA we consider it a necessity and privilege to do so.
Awards & Recognition
Since our launch in 2007, WitnessLA‘s reporting has been honored by The Missouri School of Journalism, The Society of Professional Journalists, and The Southern California Journalism Awards.
Our generous and valued supporters include: The California Endowment, The Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Institution for Justice and Journalism (which gave us our first grant, through a fund sponsored by the Ford Foundation).
Community Partners is our fiscal sponsor, and we couldn’t do our work without them.
Prior to launching WitnessLA in 2007, purely as an experiment, Fremon worked as an award winning freelance journalist specializing in gangs, law enforcement, criminal justice, incarceration policy and education reform. She is also the author of “G-Dog and the Homeboys” (Hyperion 1995, University of New Mexico Press, 2004, 2008) and the upcoming “Downfall,” about corruption and brutality inside the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, the LA Weekly, Ms., The Huffington Post, MSNBC, and Salon. Her work has been honored by The American Library Association, The LA Press Club, The Society of Professional Journalists, PEN USA, The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, The Western Publishing Association, Sunday Magazine Editors’ Association, The Missouri School of Journalism, The Knight Foundation and others. She taught literary journalism as it relates to social justice at UC Irvine, and reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she still coaches students in investigative journalism.
Assistant Editor, Editor California Justice Report
Walker curates the California Justice Report, a weekly newsletter of criminal justice-related news and views from California and beyond. In addition to her editorial work, Walker is WitnessLA’s senior reporter.