Frequently Asked Questions
What is ProPublica—and what’s its mission?
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our mission is to expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing. Based in Manhattan, we have a newsroom of 34 full-time journalists.
Each story we publish is distributed in a manner designed to maximize impact. For example, we worked closely with the Los Angeles Times to produce a series about the failed oversight of California’s nurses. Many of our “deep dive” stories are offered exclusively to a traditional news organization, free of charge, for publication or broadcast. We published more than 110 such stories in 2011 with more than 25 different partners. Each story is also published on our site. Our site also highlights investigative reporting produced by others (MuckReads). The idea is to make our site both a destination for our own journalism and a tool to promote good work in the field.
Our annual report for 2011 is here.
How are you funded?
We are currently funded entirely through donations. The Sandler Foundation made a major, multiyear commitment to fund ProPublica at its launch. We have received other philanthropic contributions as well.
Can I donate?
Yes, please. Click here to donate. Hundreds of people have already done so by credit card; you can also send us a check if you’d prefer. Contributions are tax deductible in the U.S. to the extent permitted by law.
How much does all of this cost?
We have an annual budget of about roughly $10 million in 2012. We spent $9.2 million in 2010 and $9.6 million in 2011. Details can be found in our annual financial reports (PDF), and our tax returns (PDF), both of which are posted on our site as soon as they’re finalized. We spend about 85 percent of our total expenses on news—compared with about 15 percent for leading newspapers and magazines.
You won the Pulitzer Prize, right?
Two, actually. We won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2010, and the Pulitzer for National Reporting in 2011. And since you asked, we’ve also won three George Polk Awards, the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the Selden Ring Award for “investigative reporting that has brought results” from the Annenberg School of the University of Southern California, the Batten Medal from the American Society of News Editors, both the Magazine Award and the Online Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors, three Overseas Press Club Online Journalism Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for online investigative reporting, a General Excellence Award from the Online News Association, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Media Entrepreneurship, two Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. We were also a finalist for a slew of other awards, ranging from the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service to the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting from Harvard’s Kennedy School four times. Here’s a rundown of many of the stories that have won awards.
Who works at ProPublica and how can I contact them?
We have a full-time staff of 42. That includes our 34 reporters, editors and producers, as well as eight administrative staff. Here’s our masthead.
How do you pronounce “ProPublica”?
How do I interview a ProPublica staffer, or book a ProPublica reporter for my radio/TV show?
Contact our director of communications, Mike Webb.
I have a story for you to cover. Where can I send it? What details should I include?
The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. A short summary of what you think needs attention is the best way to start. You’ll hear from us if we’d like to hear details or see documents.
With what organizations have you partnered to publish or broadcast stories?
We’ve partnered with many news organizations, ranging from “60 Minutes” on TV to newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, to NPR News, “This American Life” and “Marketplace” on public radio, to Politico, Slate, Salon and The Daily Beast online, and to the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Newsweek and BusinessWeek magazines. Some partnerships involve close collaboration between reporters and editors at ProPublica and another news organization. Sometimes they involve multiple partners—such as our investigation into shootings by New Orleans police after Hurricane Katrina, which was done in collaboration with The New Orleans Times-Picayune and PBS’s “Frontline.”
We have published stories with your local paper if you live in: Albany, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Bradenton, Fla., Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fresno, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Middletown, N.Y., Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Sarasota, Seattle, Tampa, or Washington, D.C. The list grows, and other local papers can—and have—reprinted our stories.
I’m an editor. Who do I get in touch with about partnering on a story?
Please e-mail our director of communications, Mike Webb.
Can I republish one of your stories?
Yup. Unless otherwise noted, you can republish our articles and graphics (but not our photographs) for free. You just have to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately. If you’re republishing online, you have to include all links. We’re licensed under Creative Commons, which provides the legal details. (The license says “no commercial use.” We’re fine with ads appearing on the same page as republished stories, but you can’t resell the stories or sell ads specifically targeted to them.) If you have questions, contact our general manager, Richard Tofel.
Are you hiring?
We do occasionally have openings—you’re welcome to check out our jobs page for the latest.
How about internships?
We have several paid internships, including specialized internships in computer-assisted reporting, news applications and research. Again, check our jobs page for the latest.
Do you have a code of conduct for your reporters and other employees?
Indeed, we do.
How can I request a correction?
Who runs ProPublica?
We have a governing Board, which has fiduciary responsibility for ProPublica, hires the management team, oversees its members and sets their pay. We also have a Journalism Advisory Board that provides editorial advice from time to time to our top editors. And we have a Business Advisory Council that advises primarily on questions of technology and other business issues.
None of these groups ever sees, or knows about, our stories before they are published.
Day to day, ProPublica is directed by Paul Steiger (editor-in-chief and CEO), Stephen Engelberg (managing editor) and Dick Tofel (general manager).
Help, I tried to register or e-mail an article but it says “not authorized.”
In rare cases, when you try to register or e-mail an article to a friend, you’ll get a “not authorized” error message. This is because our system becomes confused and believes you may have tried to submit the form more than once. If you close your browser window, and come back to our site and try again, it should work. We apologize for the hassle. Please let us know of any problems you’re having at email@example.com.
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