Today, ProPublica is teaming up with the journalism crowdfunding site Beacon to encourage more coverage of workers' comp across the country.
Nearly a century after most states established protections for the American worker, at least 33 have reduced benefits, created hurdles to getting medical care or made it more difficult to qualify for workers' comp, according to an ongoing investigation by ProPublica and NPR. It's an issue that potentially affects hundreds of thousands of workers who report serious work-related injuries or illnesses every year.
As part of our investigation, Insult to Injury, we asked people to tell us about their experiences navigating workers' comp claims — and more than 300 have shared their stories so far.
Now, we're partnering with Beacon to invite journalists to take these stories — along with state-by-state research, detailed benefits data, and our Reporting Recipe — to help us document the impact of workers' comp reductions across the country.
Beacon's platform gives journalists the tools they need to fund their work by connecting directly with engaged readers. Its goal is to power impactful, in-depth stories that matter to the public – a mission that aligns with our own. In the past, Beacon has successfully funded projects on mass incarceration, net neutrality, climate change and more.
Here's how journalists can join the Beacon-ProPublica workers' comp partnership:
1. Dig into the story. Check out ProPublica's Reporting Recipe for background on workers' comp, benefits data and policies by state.
2. Find a source. Sign up here to be matched with workers who've been affected where you live.
3. Pitch your project. Think you've got a solid story in the works? Awesome! Head to Beacon to pitch your project and start raising funds. It could be a story, an interactive or a multimedia project, as long as it builds on ProPublica's workers' comp investigation to explore the impact in your city or state. As an added incentive, Beacon will match the first $250 raised for any ProPublica-based pitches – just make sure to add the "Workers' Comp" tag.
4. Send us your story! Local journalists play a vital role in making broader accountability issues — like disparities in workers' comp — accessible and relevant to communities most affected. We're excited to be opening up our investigation to support Beacon journalists who share our mission. We look forward to seeing your great work.