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More Top Reporters Joining ProPublica

Latest Recruits Come from Leading Newspapers, Web Sites

New York, NY (June 5, 2008)— ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom producing journalism in the public interest, today announced seven more additions to its news staff. Robin Fields, formerly an investigative reporter at the Los Angeles Times, is a senior reporter at ProPublica. Jennifer LaFleur of the Dallas Morning News will be director of computer-assisted reporting. Jake Bernstein of The Texas Observer, Michael Grabell of the Dallas Morning News, Paul Kiel of TPMmuckraker and A.C. Thompson are joining ProPublica as reporters. Krista Kjellman, associate producer in the investigative unit of ABC News, is joining ProPublica as a web producer.

Paul E. Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, said, “These seven new hires give us an outstanding base of talent as we begin publishing in the weeks ahead. We’re very pleased to have been able to attract such a range of talented journalists to ProPublica.”

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, “These additions bring our news staff to 19—more than two-thirds of the total we anticipate. We expect to be publishing on our web site very soon, and in longer form, with leading news partners, not long after that. We’re thrilled that so many excellent reporters, editors and other journalists are drawn to our vision of investigative journalism in the public interest.”

Robin Fields has worked for the Los Angeles Times since 1999, and as a full-time investigative reporter since 2002. Stories she has done in recent years include investigations into rogue political fundraiser Norman Hsu, California’s adult guardianship system and abuses at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Fields began her career at the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. Fields has received a National Journalism Award for investigative reporting, a Sigma Delta Chi Public Service Award and an Associated Press Managing Editors Public Service Award.

Jennifer LaFleur has been the computer-assisted reporting (CAR) editor since 2003 for The Dallas Morning News, where she works on the investigative team. She has directed CAR at the San Jose Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and was IRE’s first training director. She has won awards for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues. Ms. LaFleur is the co-author of IRE’s Mapping for Stories: A Computer-Assisted Reporting Guide.

Jake Bernstein has worked at The Texas Observer, an investigative biweekly, for six years, and as its executive editor since 2004. Earlier in his career, he was a staff writer for the Pasadena [Texas] Citizen and then for the Miami New Times. His work has received numerous state-level and national journalism awards, and The Texas Observer, under his leadership, was named Best Political Magazine of 2005 by Utne Reader. Bernstein is co-author of Vice: Dick Cheney and The Hijacking of the American Presidency (2006).

Michael Grabell has been a reporter for the Dallas Morning News since 2003, covering police, courts and aviation safety and security. He was a member of the newspaper’s team covering Hurricane Katrina and led a six-month investigation into a bus fire that killed 23 nursing home patients fleeing Hurricane Rita. The investigation was a 2007 finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

Paul Kiel has written for TPMmuckraker, Talking Points Memo’s investigative reporting blog, since 2006. TPM’s coverage of the firings of U.S. attorneys and politicization of the Department of Justice won a George Polk Award for legal reporting.

A.C. Thompson has been a reporter for 12 years, mostly in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2006-2007 he was an investigative reporter for SF Weekly. For eight years before that he worked in a similar role for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. His work has also appeared in a number of national magazines. His work received the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2005. Thompson is co-author of the book Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights.

Krista Kjellman has been an associate producer in the investigative unit of ABC News for almost three years. The Blotter, the investigative unit’s web page on which Ms. Kjellman played a key role, has, during this period, been honored with the Online News Association Award for investigative journalism, a George Foster Peabody Award and an IRE Award.

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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