ProPublica has selected five new partner newsrooms and local journalists for its Local Reporting Network: Nick Judin with Mississippi Free Press; Isabelle Taft with Mississippi Today; Caleb Bedillion with Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal; Patrick Lohmann with Source New Mexico; and Samantha Sunne with WVUE. This group will begin their investigative projects on Jan. 3.
Mississippi Free Press — Nick Judin (Mississippi)
Judin is state reporter with the Mississippi Free Press — having first joined the Jackson Free Press in that role in 2019 — covering the state legislature, public health and infrastructure. In addition to leading the state’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, his award-winning reporting on the Jackson water crisis has developed an international following. In 2020, The Washington Post identified him as one of Mississippi’s top political reporters. In 2022, he was a USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellow focused on housing and evictions. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
Mississippi Today — Isabelle Taft (Mississippi)
Taft is a health reporter at Mississippi Today, the state’s flagship nonprofit news organization based in Jackson, where she has covered abortion, maternal and infant health, mental health and the operations of the state Division of Medicaid. She previously reported on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the Biloxi Sun Herald, where she won the 2020 Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism from the Mississippi Press Association. She has also worked as a researcher and fact-checker on book projects in Washington, D.C., and as a copy editor at Viet Nam News in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal — Caleb Bedillion (Mississippi)
Bedillion is an investigative reporter with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo. As a 2021 member of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, he exposed how missing search warrants across Mississippi prevented scrutiny of no-knock raids. Bedillion’s reporting has also probed fatal shootings by police, unearthed sprawling allegations of abuse and mistreatment at a therapeutic boarding school, and revealed a litany of misconduct claims involving local and state officials. In 2019, he was named the top reporter in Mississippi by the Associated Press for his watchdog and public records reporting. He completed a master’s degree from Yale University’s divinity school in 2015.
Source New Mexico — Patrick Lohmann (New Mexico)
Lohmann is a reporter for Source New Mexico, where he’s worked since the nonprofit news outlet launched in fall 2021. Before that, he worked as a reporter covering various topics at The Syracuse Post-Standard and the Albuquerque Journal. Lohmann has won several state and national journalism awards for his work, including a New York Emmy Award for investigative reporting on a cult-like Alcoholics Anonymous group and a Sigma Delta Chi award for feature reporting on an upstate New York militia member who died of COVID-19. Lohmann was born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico, and now lives in Albuquerque.
WVUE — Samantha Sunne (Louisiana)
Sunne is a freelance journalist based in New Orleans. She is the recipient of four national grants and several awards for investigative reporting, with work published in NPR, The Washington Post, NOLA.com and other outlets. She teaches at conferences, universities and newsrooms around the world, including for organizations like Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Her book, “Data + Journalism: A Story-Driven Approach to Learning Data Reporting,” is being published by Routledge this month.
ProPublica launched the Local Reporting Network at the beginning of 2018 to boost investigative journalism in local newsrooms. It has since worked with nearly 60 news organizations. The network is part of ProPublica’s local initiative, which includes offices in the Midwest, South and Southwest, plus an investigative unit in partnership with The Texas Tribune.