ProPublica announced on Thursday the three newsrooms and local reporters that will participate in accountability projects for the newest round of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. The selected journalists — Laurence Du Sault of Open Vallejo, Sarah Alvarez of Outlier Media and Nuala Bishari of the San Francisco Public Press — will begin on April 1 and continue for one year. This group of projects is made possible by a grant from Knight Foundation.
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with these three highly innovative newsrooms,” said Sarah Blustain, deputy editor, local, for ProPublica. “At a time of ongoing crisis in local news, it is a privilege to be able to combine these reporters’ deep community knowledge and ProPublica’s resources to create high-impact journalism.”
Open Vallejo (Vallejo, California) — Laurence Du Sault
Laurence Du Sault is a reporter at Open Vallejo, in northern California, where she covers law enforcement and public corruption. She previously was the income inequality reporter at the Mercury News for the California Divide, a multi-newsroom project led by CalMatters, which received the 2021 National Press Foundation Poverty and Inequality Award for its coverage of how COVID-19 impacted vulnerable renters in the state. Du Sault also served as a reporter with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, where she and her colleagues won the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter’s 2020 Investigative Reporting Award for “California’s Criminal Cops,” a statewide police accountability project.
Outlier Media (Detroit) — Sarah Alvarez
Sarah Alvarez is the founder and editor of Outlier Media. She developed Outlier’s model after years of trying to figure out how journalists could do a better job filling information gaps and increasing accountability to low-income news consumers. She launched Outlier in 2016, during her year as a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. Before founding Outlier Media, Alvarez worked as a senior producer and reporter at Michigan Radio, the statewide NPR affiliate. Her reporting has also been featured on NPR, Marketplace, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Bridge Magazine, the Detroit News and the New York Times.
San Francisco Public Press (San Francisco) — Nuala Bishari
Nuala Bishari is a journalist at the San Francisco Public Press, where she investigates policy and equity issues pertaining to homelessness and housing. Prior to joining San Francisco Public Press, she led the newsroom at SF Weekly, one of the last alternative weeklies on the West Coast. While there, she secured a USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowship to study the impact of encampment sweeps on homeless people’s health. Bishari also earned a first place award from the California News Publishers Association for a story about seniors escaping the 2018 fire in Paradise, California. Her work has also appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, the Guardian and In These Times.
Local reporters will work from and report to their home newsrooms, while receiving extensive support and guidance for their work from ProPublica, including collaboration with a senior editor and access to the nonprofit newsroom’s expertise with data, research, engagement, video and design. The work will be published by the participating newsroom and simultaneously by ProPublica.
ProPublica launched the Local Reporting Network at the beginning of 2018 to boost investigative journalism in local newsrooms. Since then, it has worked with more than 40 newsrooms. The network is part of ProPublica’s growing local initiatives, which include units in the Midwest, South and Southwest, as well as an investigative unit in partnership with the Texas Tribune.