About the Local Reporting Network

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
Birmingham, Alabama
Reporter: Connor Sheets

Invisible Walls: Connecticut’s Separate and Unequal Housing
Connecticut Mirror
Hartford, Connecticut
Reporter: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

The Real Bosses of New Jersey: How Unelected Officials Run Your Government
WNYC
New York, New York
Reporter: Nancy Solomon

The Untouchables: Investigating South Carolina’s Judges
The Post and Courier
Charleston, South Carolina
Reporter: Joseph Cranney

Overcorrection: Crisis in California Jails
The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California
Reporter: Jason Pohl

Locked Down: An Investigation of Mississippi’s Prisons
Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting
Jackson, Mississippi
Reporter: Jerry Mitchell

A 911 Emergency: Rhode Island’s Deadly 911 Flaws
The Public’s Radio
Providence, Rhode Island
Reporter: Lynn Arditi

Lawless: Sexual Violence in Alaska
Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage, Alaska
Reporter: Kyle Hopkins

Profiting From the Poor: Inside Memphis’ Debt Machine
MLK50
Memphis, Tennessee
Reporter: Wendi C. Thomas

Miswired: How Kentucky Missed the Technology Revolution
Louisville Courier-Journal
Louisville, Kentucky
Reporter: Alfred Miller

Projects Underway and Launching Soon

Charleston Gazette-Mail
Charleston, West Virginia
Reporter: Ken Ward Jr.

Daily Herald
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Reporter: David Bernstein

The New Orleans Advocate/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans, Louisiana
Reporter: Joan Meiners

NPR Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Reporter: Rachel Otwell

Arizona Republic
Phoenix, Arizona
Reporter: Alden Woods

The Capital
Annapolis, Maryland
Reporter: Danielle Ohl

The Frontier
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Reporter: Brianna Bailey

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting
Louisville, Kentucky
Reporter: R.G. Dunlop

Miami Herald
Miami, Florida
Reporter: Carol Marbin Miller

Oregon Public Broadcasting
Portland, Oregon
Reporter: Tony Schick

Previous Partners and Projects

Accused in Elkhart: Justice in an Indiana County
South Bend Tribune
South Bend, Indiana
Reporter: Christian Sheckler

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 Gazette-Mail
Charleston, West Virginia
Reporter: Ken Ward Jr.

Half Life: Nuke Lab Workers Getting Sick
Santa Fe New Mexican
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Reporter: Rebecca Moss

HUD’s House of Cards: Public Housing Failures
The Southern Illinoisan
Carbondale, Illinois
Reporter: Molly Parker

Trauma After Tragedy: PTSD in First Responders
WMFE
Orlando, Florida
Reporter: Abe Aboraya

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:

The Advocate

  • 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

Charleston Gazette-Mail

  • 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

WMFE

  • Florida Associated Press Professional Broadcasters, Second place investigative 4/19

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