Today, ProPublica announced it will expand in the Northwest by establishing a new regional team of investigative journalists reporting on accountability issues in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.
This hub will be the fifth in a growing network of state and regionally based ProPublica investigative offices, including the Midwest, South, Southwest and Texas. These teams of reporters and editors provide critical reporting at a time when local accountability journalism is increasingly scarce.
Our approach in the Northwest will be a new one for ProPublica, a hybrid model that matches the strengths of staff reporters with those of journalists working with our Local Reporting Network at other news outlets in the region. Our new editor will oversee three ProPublica reporters who will be based in the region and the work of three Distinguished Fellows who work for local news organizations.
“Collaboration will be a hallmark of our work in the region,” said Charles Ornstein, managing editor for local initiatives at ProPublica. “Just as there is no one cause to the crisis in local journalism, we believe there is not one solution to it. We believe this hybrid model will be a meaningful addition to this important region.”
ProPublica’s investigations in the Northwest have spurred considerable change. A project on criminal justice failures in Alaska done in collaboration with the Anchorage Daily News prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to declare a federal emergency and was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Last year, ProPublica partnered with Oregon Public Broadcasting to explore how the federal government has broken its treaties with Indigenous tribes by failing to stop the decline in the salmon population, and we worked with the Seattle Times on a series of articles about alarming reports of abuse and poor services at a network of private schools in Washington state. A dedicated ProPublica reporting unit would further such efforts.
“The Northwest is a vital region for technology and trade and increasingly a harbinger for the effects of climate change,” said Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica’s editor in chief and a former managing editor at The Oregonian in Portland. “Having a presence in the Northwest has been high on our list of priorities since we began expanding locally.”
To help launch this new initiative, ProPublica has begun a search for a regional editor. For anyone interested in future reporting positions, visit propublica.org/jobs and subscribe to our careers newsletter.