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New ProPublica Reporting Network Will Recruit Citizen Journalists for Investigative Reporting

First Assignment: “Adopt A Stimulus Project”

New York, N.Y. (May 20, 2009)—America’s largest investigative newsroom today announced the launch of its new citizen journalism initiative, the “ProPublica Reporting Network.” Members of the network will work virtually alongside of ProPublica’s news team to gather information, pursue leads and find sources.

The ProPublica Reporting Network will be led by Amanda Michel, ProPublica’s Editor of Distributed Reporting and the former editor of the Huffington Post’s OffTheBus. The goals are to tap into local knowledge and expertise, particularly when reporting on the federal stimulus program, and to build broader public interest in investigative journalism. Anyone—including practicing and retired journalists, students, policy experts, construction workers, homemakers, accountants—can join the ProPublica Reporting Network.

The first assignment for members will be to “Adopt a Stimulus Project,” where people will dedicate themselves to following a local road or bridge reconstruction project funded by the stimulus and to monitor it through its completion. These reporters will be looking to see what is getting repaired, how highly trafficked the road or bridge is, whether companies that receive funds are following environmental and labor laws, how many people are employed by the project, and so on.

“This is precisely the kind of nitty-gritty investigative work that will reveal some surprising facts, but takes time and patience to do well,” said Michel.  “In the process of working with our network members, we’ll take investigative journalism into a new collaborative sphere and help the American people determine where the stimulus program is succeeding and where it’s falling short.”

“The sheer size and breadth of the stimulus project lends itself to making this the first project of the ProPublica Reporting Network,” said Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica’s managing editor. “We want to get reports from people across the country to help us measure the impact of the spending and to see what’s really taking place in their communities.”

To sign up for the network, send an e-mail to Amanda@ProPublica.org or visit http://www.propublica.org/special/reportingnetwork-signup to register.

“Adopt a Stimulus Project” is being developed as a joint initiative with WNYC Radio and The Takeaway

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With the largest news staff in American journalism devoted solely to investigative reporting, ProPublica is supported entirely by philanthropy and provides the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own Web site and to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article. To get ProPublica’s coverage sent to your inbox, sign up for the daily ProPublica Report.

Photo by flickr user sparkieblues http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparkieblues/3971258497/

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