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All the Ways You Can Help Our Reporting Right Now

We’ve got a lot of stories in the works. Here are the questions we’re putting to you.

This story was first published in ProPublica Illinois’ weekly newsletter. Sign up for that here.

If you haven’t noticed, part of how we do our reporting here at ProPublica Illinois is by asking you to help us.

As each story we publish takes shape, a few of us get in a room together and ask the reporter: What data do you need? What visuals do you need? And, how can people around Illinois help you understand, quantify and shape your reporting?

Sometimes the answer is as simple as putting a question out there that our readers might know something about. We’ve got a couple of those in the works right now. And, for most, there’s no expiration date. So, here’s what we know, what we’ve heard and questions our reporters are still asking.

Jerrel Floyd has been reporting on the neglect of African-American cemeteries in Illinois.

“We’ve gotten a lot of different responses for cemeteries out of state that we’re keeping a record of but it would be great to see more Illinois cemeteries added to the conversation. What do you know about abandoned African-American cemeteries in Illinois?

Jerrel can be reached at [email protected].

Melissa Sanchez has been investigating how unpaid tickets are driving thousands of Chicagoans into debt.

“We’ve heard from dozens of people. Their stories help me figure out where to focus next, what records or data to look for and to simply better understand the scope of the problem. A lot of people call to ask whether they should file for bankruptcy. One woman sent me a lawsuit from one of the city’s debt collectors. Recently, we met with a current city employee who almost lost his job over tickets. Please reach out if you want to share your story — or if you’re an insider with information. We’re particularly interested in talking with folks repeatedly hit with Chicago’s $200 city sticker ticket, people whose wages or accounts have been garnished over city debt, or who were suspended from city jobs over tickets.”

Melissa can be reached at [email protected].

Jodi Cohen has been digging into research misconduct by a prominent psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I asked readers to contact me if they had been a patient or research subject of Dr. Mani Pavuluri. Pavuluri had violated research rules and put children at risk while conducting a study on the effects of lithium on children, federal and university authorities found. Since my reader request was so specific, I didn’t know what I would hear — if anything. But parents reached out and shared their experiences, some of which informed a follow-up story I wrote last week about additional problems with the study. I’m still talking to families. And you can still help. Do you have information to share about research ethics, scientific misconduct, clinical trials, institutional review boards (IRBs) and related issues anywhere in the state? I am interested in learning more.”

Jodi can be reached at [email protected] or @jodiscohen on Twitter. We also set up a custom email address for this story, which is [email protected].

Sandhya Kambhampati is looking for people in southern or western Illinois who are members of an Elks Lodge, the VFW or an American Legion club.

If that’s you or someone you know, please reach out to her at [email protected] or @sandhya__k on Twitter.

Thanks for reading! And, of course, if this round of questions isn’t for you, no harm in sharing them with people you know, right?

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