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ProPublica Announces More Staff Additions

Newsroom Will Include Seven Pulitzer Winners

New York, N.Y. (July 10, 2008) — ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom producing journalism in the public interest, today announced six additions to its initial news staff. Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber, metro investigative reporters for the Los Angeles Times, are joining ProPublica as senior reporters. Marcus Stern, news editor of the Copley News Service in Washington, D.C., Chisun Lee, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, and Mosi Secret of the Independent Weekly in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina are joining ProPublica as reporters. Thomas Detzel, investigations editor of the Oregonian of Portland, Oregon, becomes editor at ProPublica. Separately, Michael Webb, deputy director of communications & strategy at the Brennan Center, is joining ProPublica as director of communications.

Paul E. Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, said, “We couldn’t be more pleased. With these stellar staff additions, ProPublica’s initial news staff of 28 will include seven Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters and editors.”

ProPublica has the largest news staff in American journalism devoted solely to investigative reporting. ProPublica is supported entirely by philanthropy and will provide the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own Web site and to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article.

Stephen Engelberg, managing editor of ProPublica, noted, “We’ve nearly completed our recruiting, with only a senior researcher and a Web producer yet to be hired. The quality of the staff we’ve been able to attract gives us lots of potential — and the responsibility for living up to that potential. We’re determined to do just that.”

Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber were the lead reporters on a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times titled “The Troubles at King/Drew” hospital that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service in 2005. Ornstein has reported for the Times since 2001, in the last five years largely in partnership with Weber. Earlier, Ornstein spent five years as a reporter for the Dallas Morning News. He is vice president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and a former Kaiser Family Foundation media fellow. Weber has reported for the Los Angeles Times from 1994 to 1999 and again beginning in 2003. Previous to her prize-winning collaborations with Ornstein, Weber spent a year reporting from inside California’s juvenile court system, prompting reforms in state law. Earlier in her career she reported for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Orange County Register.

Marcus Stern had worked for Copley News Service in Washington, D.C. since 1983. In 2006, he shared the Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for his role in breaking the story of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s wide-ranging corruption. Stern has also, in recent years, reported extensively from Iraq and other conflict zones. He spent most of the 1990s covering immigration issues for Copley.

Chisun Lee is counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, she served as a law clerk for a federal district judge in New York, and was formerly a staff writer for the Village Voice. Her reporting earned a Crystal Gavel Award from the New York State Bar Association in 2003 and a 2004 New York Press Club award.

Mosi Secret has been a staff writer for the Independent Weekly in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina since 2005, while also working for the last two years as a stringer for the New York Times. Earlier, he worked at the Houston Press and the Columbia Journalism Review. Secret won the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for distinguished coverage of children and families in both 2007 and 2008 and the North Carolina Press Association Award for Investigative Reporting in 2007.

Thomas Detzel has been an editor at the Oregonian since 1995, and has been the newspaper’s investigations editor since 2004, reporting to Mr. Engelberg until the latter joined ProPublica in January of this year. Work to which Mr. Detzel and his team of reporters contributed was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News and the George Polk Award for National Reporting, both in 2007. Earlier in his career, Detzel spent 16 years as a reporter and editor at smaller newspapers in Oregon, including 12 years at the Register-Guard in Eugene.

Michael Webb has been deputy director of communications & strategy at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law since January 2007. Prior to that, Webb served as publicity & syndication director for The Nation magazine, and in various roles for a number of elected officials. Earlier in his career, Webb held marketing and promotion jobs in the music industry.

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