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Welcome to ProPublica Illinois

Rohan Patrick McDonald for ProPublica

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].

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ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing. We were founded over 10 years ago to fill a growing hole in journalism: Newsrooms were (and still are) shrinking, and legacy funding models are failing. Deep-dive reporting like ours is slow and expensive, and investigative journalism is a luxury in many newsrooms today — but it remains as critical as ever to democracy and our civic life. More than a decade (and six Pulitzer Prizes) later, ProPublica has built the largest investigative newsroom in the country. Our work has spurred reform through legislation, at the voting booth and inside our nation’s most important institutions.

Your year-end donation will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work into 2021. From COVID-19, to our elected officials, to racial and criminal justice and much more, we are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else. Make your gift of any amount today and join the tens of thousands of ProPublicans across the country, standing up for the power of independent journalism to produce real, lasting change. Thank you.

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Portrait of Louise Kiernan

Louise Kiernan

Louise Kiernan is editor-in-chief of ProPublica Illinois.

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