ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network began in January 2018 after our staff thought about how we could help to remedy the lack of investigative reporting at the local level. Many local news organizations are facing enormous financial strain and cutbacks; they want to do deeper accountability coverage but simply don’t have the resources. That issue is exacerbated by the fact that the strongest accountability reporting these days often relies on a mix of specialized skills that can be scarce in local newsrooms, including data, research, design and social media.
We now partner with more than 20 newsrooms across the country, and we will be accepting applications for our next groups of partners over the coming months. You can learn more about our previous work below.
Here’s information on how to apply.
Current Partners and Projects
Unchecked Power: The Extraordinary Power of Alabama Sheriffs
Reckon by AL.com
Reporter: Connor Sheets
Invisible Walls: Connecticut’s Separate and Unequal Housing
Reporter: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas
The Real Bosses of New Jersey: How Unelected Officials Run Your Government
New York, New York
Reporter: Nancy Solomon
The Untouchables: Investigating South Carolina’s Judges
The Post and Courier
Charleston, South Carolina
Reporter: Joseph Cranney
Locked Down: An Investigation of Mississippi’s Prisons
Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting
Reporter: Jerry Mitchell
Profiting From the Poor: Inside Memphis’ Debt Machine
Reporter: Wendi C. Thomas
Miswired: How Kentucky Missed the Technology Revolution
Reporter: Alfred Miller
Projects Underway and Launching Soon
Charleston, West Virginia
Reporter: Ken Ward Jr.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Reporter: David Bernstein
The New Orleans Advocate/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans, Louisiana
Reporter: Joan Meiners
Reporter: Rachel Otwell
Reporter: Alden Woods
Reporter: Danielle Ohl
Reporter: Brianna Bailey
Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting
Reporter: R.G. Dunlop
Reporter: Carol Marbin Miller
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Reporter: Tony Schick
Previous Partners and Projects
Louisiana’s Ethical Swamp: Lawmakers’ Conflicts of Interest
The New Orleans Advocate
New Orleans, Louisiana
Reporter: Rebekah Allen
A Sick System: Repeat Attacks After Pleading Insanity
The Malheur Enterprise
Malheur County, Oregon
Reporter: Jayme Fraser
The New Power Brokers: West Virginia’s Natural Gas Industry
Charleston, West Virginia
Reporter: Ken Ward Jr.
Awards and Impact
Our impact has been extraordinary.
In Indiana last year, the South Bend Tribune, working with ProPublica senior reporter Ken Armstrong, reported on how police officers in Elkhart beat a handcuffed man and about how the police chief promoted officers despite records of discipline. As a result of those articles, the police chief was forced to resign, an independent investigation was launched and the officers involved in the beating were criminally charged. The mayor of Elkhart also abandoned his reelection effort.
This year, MLK50, a nonprofit news organization in Memphis, Tennessee, reported on how the area’s largest hospital system sued and garnished the wages of thousands of poor patients, including its own employees, for unpaid medical debts. The hospital subsequently said it would raise the minimum wage it pays employees, dramatically expand its financial assistance policy for hospital care and stop suing its own employees for unpaid medical debts.
WNYC, another Local Reporting Network partner, reported on how a company in Camden, New Jersey, provided a false answer on an application for tax breaks, leading the state to freeze the tax break pending further investigation.
The Anchorage Daily News, in a first-of-its-kind investigation, found that one in three communities in Alaska has no local law enforcement: no state troopers to stop an active shooter, no village police officers to break up family fights, not even untrained city or tribal cops to patrol the streets. Following that coverage, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr visited Alaska and later declared a state of emergency, releasing millions in federal funds to devote to the problem.
In Rhode Island, The Public’s Radio reported how 911 call takers were not trained to provide CPR instructions by phone and about people who died after those call takers failed to give proper guidance. The state legislature is poised to add money for training in the coming year’s budget.
Other projects from 2018’s ProPublica Local Reporting Network exposed lapses in worker safety at nuclear facilities; failures in public housing; conflicts of interest that allowed Louisiana legislators to benefit themselves, their relatives and their clients; how West Virginia residents have paid a price as the natural gas industry gains power; and the devastating toll of post-traumatic stress disorder on first responders.
Here are some of the honors Local Reporting Network projects have received:
- Louisiana Press Association, Best investigative reporting, Gibbs Adams Award, first place Rebekah Allen, Andrea Gallo, ProPublica, 6/19
South Bend Tribune
- Goldsmith Prize finalist for investigative reporting from the Kennedy School of Government, 2/19
- Society for News Design Bronze Medals for social media, 2/19
- Indiana Associated Press Media Awards second place for investigative reporting, 5/19
- Indiana Associated Press Media Awards first place for enterprise reporting, 5/19
- Indiana Associated Press Media Awards first place for Best Multimedia Storytelling, 5/19
- News Leaders Association Frank Blethen Award for Local Accountability Reporting (small) finalist, 3/19
- Indiana Society of Professional Journalists Story of the Year, 4/19
The Southern Illinoisan
- Illinois Press Association Knight Chair Award for Sustained Investigative Journalism and Award for News Reporting, first place (2 awards), 5/19
- Illinois Associated Press Media Awards first place for investigative reporting, 3/19
- Scripps Howard Award finalist for environmental journalism, 2/19
- West Virginia Press Association first place for governmental reporting (story on House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw and his ties to the natural gas industry), 8/19
- West Virginia Press Association first place for best legal affairs reporting (story on court fights between residents and companies over natural gas royalties), 8/19
- West Virginia Press Association second place for best in-depth or investigative reporting (story on the similarities between West Virginia’s relationship with the coal and natural gas industries), 8/19
- West Virginia Press Association second place for legal affairs reporting (story on Fayette County leaders’ attempts to limit drilling in the county), 8/19
- Malofiej International Infographics Awards Silver Medal, features (Powerless), 3/19
- Society for News Design Silver Medal for news features and Bronze Medals for coverage, multimedia and maps (3 awards), 2/19
- Online News Association finalist for explanatory reporting (Powerless), 8/19
Santa Fe New Mexican
- Association of Health Care Journalists Awards for Excellence in Health Care Coverage first place for public health coverage, 3/19
- National Headliner Award first place in television/environmental (with InvestigateTV), 4/19
- Florida Associated Press Professional Broadcasters, Second place investigative 4/19