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Julie Watts


Julie Watts is a national-award-winning investigative correspondent for CBS News, covering California. Her investigations, Capitol accountability reports, and solutions-oriented journalism air weekly on CBS stations across California.

Based in the State Capitol for maximum access to lawmakers and state agencies, Julie is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable, getting answers, and digging deeper into the issues that matter to you. Her work has prompted recalls, government investigations, and new laws.

Watch Julie's Recent Reports Here

Notable Work

The 14-time Emmy® Award-winning journalist has also been honored with many prestigious national journalism awards including a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award and multiple National Press Club, National Headliner, and Gracie awards. Julie's work has also garnered more than a dozen regional awards including Associated Press and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

In 2023, Julie was recognized for her work on several stories and investigations in collaboration with CalMatters. Julie received an Emmy Award for her work on Trial By Fire, an investigation into the increasing rate of PTSD and suicide among CalFire firefighters.

She was also honored with a National Headliner Award and Capitol Press Club  Award for "WAGE THEFT: When Bosses Don't Pay". The investigation in collaboration with the CalMatters divide team, led to a joint legislative hearing, an independent audit, and sweeping policy reforms. It also led to an innovative nationwide CBS News and Stations collaboration resulting in the most widespread local news examination of state-by-state wage theft policy to date prompting action by the U.S. Labor Secretary.

In 2022, Julie was honored with a National Press Club Award and an Emmy® Award for THE COVID LAB: State Secrets Exposed. The 14-month investigation was prompted by whistleblowers inside California's $1.7B COVID testing lab. The reporting led to state and federal investigations, two new pieces of legislation, and shined a spotlight on shocking public health failures that it appeared state regulators tried to hide.

In 2021, Julie received an Emmy® Award for her investigation into "State-Sponsored Identity Theft."  The five-year investigation held the state's unemployment agency (EDD) accountable for putting millions at risk of identity theft. The reporting prompted a joint legislative hearing, a state audit, and a new law.

Julie first exposed the issue while working at CBS in San Francisco and she was previously honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award for her early reporting on the issue.

Julie was also the recipient of an Emmy® Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2020 for her reporting on the California Highway Patrol's failure to respond to DUI 911 calls and a National Headliner Award for her investigation into the financial impact of new cell towers near schools.

In 2020, Julie received an Emmy® Award for "Troubling Water: The Ripon Child Cancer Investigation."  After four children were diagnosed with cancer at one school, parents initially blamed a cell tower on campus. Then, the CBS13 investigation revealed a history of cancer-causing chemicals in the city's water, exposed glaring errors and omissions in city water reports, and uncovered evidence that the school district knew about the chemicals in school drinking water but failed to tell parents.

In 2016, Julie's "Toxic Safety" investigation into car seat flame retardants prompted multiple recalls and led to significant changes within the child car seat industry. The investigation was honored with the National Gracie Award for Best Investigative Feature, the National Press Club's Award for Consumer Journalism, and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service.

Julie also won a National Gracie Award for her investigation into California's Newborn DNA Database and a National Headliner Award for her child ID theft investigation, "Toddler Has a Credit Card." That investigation also prompted a new state law in 2016.

In 2014, the investigative series "UN-Covered California" earned Julie her first National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism. The reports exposed numerous flaws within California's health insurance exchange and prompted action by state regulators and changes within the insurance industry.


Before her current role, Julie was an investigative reporter/anchor at CBS in Sacramento where she built an award-winning California Capitol Accountability franchise.

Before that, Julie spent a decade at CBS News San Francisco (KPIX) as the station's Consumer-Investigative Reporter and a contributing reporter for CBS News where her ConsumerWatch stories were distributed to CBS stations across the country.Julie also had a weekly ConsumerWatch segment on CBS News Los Angeles (KCAL/KCBS).

While at KPIX, Julie was also a News Anchor and Meteorologist (AMS). She was named Best News Anchor by the Associated Press for her role as anchor and host of the KPIX weekend morning show and she won the American Meteorological Society's prestigious award for "Excellence in Science Reporting by a Broadcast Meteorologist" while at KPIX.

Prior to that, Julie earned her meteorology credentials (AMS Seal) from the American Meteorological Society while working at KCRA 3 in Sacramento. In addition to weekend weather, she hosted the "KCRA Noon Show Live from the Arden Fair Mall."

Nationally, Julie appeared as a host on TLC's "Designing Spaces" and was an entertainment reporter/producer for BBC & Reuters-TV in Los Angeles.

Julie began her news career as a Traffic Anchor, Weather Anchor, and Reporter for CBS-47 in Fresno. She was also the voice of news and traffic each morning on the Central Valley's Clear Channel radio stations.

Julie earned a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and an M.A. in Online Journalism from the University of Southern California where she was named Graduate Student of the Year.

Off Air

As a digital journalist, Julie is skilled at enhancing her news reporting through creative uses of social media to strategically target key audiences. For example, while working as a Consumer Reporter in San Francisco, Julie founded The successful blog and social media brand provided an outlet to share relevant research and reports with a targeted online audience of parents that the local CBS station wouldn't otherwise reach.

Julie works with several non-profits and journalism organizations. She's been an active member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for over a decade and serves on key committees ranging from Awards to Conferences.

Julie also spent more than a decade on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). As the Emmy® Awards Chair and Gala Chair, Julie oversaw the regional Emmy® Awards competition and produced five Emmy® Awards galas in 10 years.

It is notable, in light of her role as the California Correspondent, that Julie has spent her entire career in California and has strong ties up and down the state. Julie was born and raised in the Bay Area and went to college in Los Angeles before beginning her local news career in the Central Valley.

She later met and married her husband while working in Sacramento for the first time. After moving to San Francisco for a decade, they returned to the Sacramento area in 2019 to raise their family.

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