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ProPublica Announces Additional News Hires

Prize-Winning Reporters Join New Investigative Group

New York, NY (April 16, 2008)— ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom producing journalism in the public interest, today announced further additions to its news staff.  Eric Umansky, former “Today’s Papers” columnist for Slate, is senior writer and will become the lead daily contributor to ProPublica’s enhanced web site, which will launch later this Spring.  Susan White, former enterprise editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, will become an editor at ProPublica.  Sheri Fink, MD, Christina Jewett of the Sacramento Bee, Abrahm Lustgarten, formerly of Fortune magazine, and Joaquin Sapien, formerly of the Center for Public Integrity, are joining ProPublica as reporters.

Paul E. Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, said, “Managing Editor Steve Engelberg and I are very pleased to have been able to recruit these superb additions to ProPublica’s news team.  They provide a depth and breadth of experience that we think will enable us to get off to a strong start this year, and to build ProPublica into a top-flight investigative journalism operation.”

ProPublica, when fully staffed later this year, will have the largest news staff in American journalism devoted solely to investigative reporting, with roughly 25 fulltime reporters and editors.  ProPublica will be supported entirely by philanthropy and will provide 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.

Stephen Engelberg, managing editor of ProPublica, noted, “With these appointments, we now have a news staff of 12 people in place or on the way, with more to come very soon.  The soul of a great investigative team is its reporters and we’ve been fortunate to attract a very high level of reportorial talent.  Their willingness to help us create ProPublica reflects the enduring desire of journalists to write great stories that have impact and make a difference.”

Eric Umansky wrote Slate’s “Today’s Papers” feature from 2001 until 2006.  He then received a Gordon Grey fellowship from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  Earlier in his career, Umansky was a senior associate editor of Brill’s Content magazine, and the editor of Motherjones.com.

Susan White worked at the San Diego Union-Tribune from 1994 until 2007, serving ultimately as the newspaper’s enterprise editor.  She played a key role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of corruption by former U.S. Rep. Randy Cunningham.  Her experience at the Union-Tribune included stints as border editor and writing coach.  Earlier in her career, Ms. White worked for 14 years as a reporter and television critic at the Lexington [Kentucky] Herald-Leader.

Sheri Fink has been an independent reporter and producer since earning her medical degree and Ph.D. in neurosciences from Stanford University ten years ago.  Most recently, Dr. Fink has been a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellow in Health.  She has also been a frequent contributor to PRI’s “The World”, Discover magazine and the IAVI Report.  She is the author of War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival, which won a American Medical Writers Association special book award.

Christina Jewett has worked at the Sacramento Bee since 2002.  Her reporting on criminal justice has been honored with awards from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the National Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

 

Abrahm Lustgarten is a former staff writer and contributor for Fortune, and has written for Salon, Esquire, the Washington Post and the New York Times since receiving his masters in journalism from Columbia University in 2003.  He is the author of the forthcoming book China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet, a project that was funded in part by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

Joaquin Sapien was a reporter for The Center for Public Integrity from 2005 until earlier this year.  He was the lead reporter on a year-long investigative project on “Superfund’s Toxic Legacy,” which just received the Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in non-deadline online independent reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.  Before joining CPI he wrote for Environmental Media Services.

More information on ProPublica can be found at http://propublica.org

Contact: Richard Tofel 917-512-0250 dick.tofel@propublica.org

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

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