Today, with our story about gun trafficking in Chicago, produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times, we are officially launching the ProPublica Illinois website and beginning to regularly publish our journalism.
ProPublica Illinois is the first regional operation of ProPublica, the New York-based investigative nonprofit newsroom that has, as it nears its 10th anniversary, achieved far-reaching impact for its work and won four Pulitzer Prizes, among many other awards. We are excited and proud to bring that legacy and mission to Illinois: to produce investigative journalism with moral force, impelled by what matters most in our state.
You can meet our 12-member editorial team here. Most of us are Illinois natives or longtime residents, joined by a few brand-new transplants. We bring experience covering criminal justice, housing, municipal finance, immigration, child welfare, government, education, labor and other issues, as well as expertise in data journalism, news applications and engagement. All of us share a passion for investigative journalism and a commitment to uncovering injustice and wrongdoing.
What do we hope to accomplish at ProPublica Illinois? Here are a few of our goals:
- To produce investigative journalism that spurs change to make our state a better place to live.
- To contribute to and strengthen the journalism ecosystem here.
- To help build a community of investigative journalists and a body of work that is more representative of the world around us, telling stories of importance to communities that are often overlooked and bringing those stories into the lives of the people most affected by them.
We’ve already begun to take the first steps toward achieving these ambitions.
We are partnering with City Bureau, a small journalism nonprofit on Chicago’s South Side, to create a calendar of every public meeting in Chicago. In concert with Illinois Humanities, we’re offering a $15,000 grant for a project to help us connect with communities in downstate Illinois. With the Chicago Tribune, we’re continuing important reporting on a county property tax system that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor. We’ve started scraping data from the Cook County Jail to create a real-time ticker of what happens at one of the country’s largest and most troubled correctional facilities.
We are also currently investigating bankruptcy in Chicago and the treatment of juvenile prisoners downstate, among other topics. A newly announced grant project will allow us to expand our reach by supporting a reporter working in a smaller city or community in Illinois with resources and time to do in-depth reporting in their own newsroom.
As we begin introducing ourselves and our work, you can keep up with what we’re doing by signing up for our newsletter here. And we’d love to hear your tips and story ideas; reach us at [email protected] or, for general inquiries, [email protected].