This has been a year of impact for ProPublica's journalism. We're making a difference.
So as 2011 comes to a close, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help ProPublica continue this important work.
What do I mean by impact? I hope two examples -- one "big" and one "small," both profoundly important, and both in the news this month -- give you an idea.
First is fracking -- the hydraulic fracturing method of drilling for natural gas. When we first wrote about the subject (in 2008), the industry was in denial about any threat to our water from unsafe drilling methods, and was refusing to disclose the toxic chemicals used in the process. New York's governor, unaware of the issues, was about to approve unfettered drilling. Our first story changed that, and we've kept at it.
This month, the EPA finally confirmed that reckless fracking can—and has—polluted drinking water. Texas and Colorado have mandated disclosure of those chemicals. New York officials are limiting drilling. The U.S. Department of Energy will recommend safety steps.
And everybody, it seems, is talking about fracking. It was the subject of an Oscar-nominated movie, and of numerous newspaper reports. ProPublica broke the key stories on drinking-water contamination, maneuvers to gain exemption from environmental laws, chemicals left in the ground, effluent in our rivers and streams, and health impacts on local communities—more than 150 stories over three and a half years. The result is one of those shifts in popular outlook that alters the world just a bit.
Impact can also be more personal. Also in 2008, we started writing about violence in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Two years ago, we spotlighted the shooting death by police of a man named Danny Brumfield. This month, an NOPD officer was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in that shooting. One family had achieved a measure of justice.
This is the kind of work your support helps make possible. It's the kind of work that has won us Pulitzer Prizes two years in a row, the first ever for an online news organization. And 85 cents out of every dollar we receive is spent on news.
In 2011, we have definitively documented racial and ethnic bias in the awarding of presidential pardons, put persistent heat on bankers and regulators for their diffidence in the face of the continuing foreclosure fiasco, given parents new tools to assess how their kids' schools are performing, called out abuses by both parties in the redistricting process, revealed conflicts of leading medical societies and pinpointed the cancer risk in those proliferating new airport scanners.
ProPublica had 100 donors two years ago, 1300 last year. We need your help today to end 2011 on a strong note, and to propel our efforts to hold powerful interests accountable in 2012. Please click here to join us in that work.