ProPublica today named the seven newsrooms and local reporters that will participate in the inaugural ProPublica Local Reporting Network.
The yearlong initiative, which kicks off in January, was created to support investigative journalism at local and regional news organizations, particularly in cities with populations below 1 million. ProPublica will reimburse the newsrooms for salary for the selected reporters and provide extensive support and guidance for their stories.
Winners were selected from a pool of 239 applications from 45 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The projects selected by editors should surprise and probe deeply, with the potential to spur positive change. Topics covered, among others, will include conflicts of interest, housing, mental health care, criminal justice and workplace safety. The selected newsrooms and reporters are:
- The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) — Rebekah Allen
- Charleston Gazette-Mail (Charleston, W. Va.) — Ken Ward, Jr.
- Malheur Enterprise (Vale, Ore.) — Jayme Fraser
- Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.) — Rebecca Moss
- South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Ind.) — Christian Sheckler
- The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Ill.) — Molly Parker
- WMFE (Orlando, Fla.) — Abe Aboraya
Participants in the ProPublica Local Reporting Network will work in and report to their home newsrooms while collaborating with ProPublica senior editor Charles Ornstein. ProPublica's expertise with data, research and engagement will be available for their stories as well. The stories will be jointly published by their news organizations and ProPublica.
“This project was started to give local newsrooms across America needed resources and support to execute investigative journalism that digs deep and holds power to account,” Ornstein said. “The powerful proposals from our inaugural group of reporters are very much in that spirit, and I look forward to working with them to help bring their stories to fruition over the next year.”