ProPublica announced today that it has hired Topher Sanders of The Florida Times-Union as a reporter covering racial inequality.
Sanders has reported on education and city government for the Times-Union, of Jacksonville, Florida, since 2008. Named to the investigative team in 2013, he became the paper’s investigative editor in 2014.
"ProPublica is producing smart journalism that’s having an impact on our country and beyond," Sanders said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to tackle important issues from a national perspective." He will start at ProPublica in late summer.
Sanders's data-driven reporting on juvenile plea deals and the time Jacksonville juveniles spend in pre-trial detention facilities was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award this year. His reporting on public records concerns and questionable behavior by Jacksonville's elected public defender prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to order an investigation of the office in 2013. The investigation resulted in a scathing grand jury report asking Scott to remove the elected official.
Sanders's education reporting was recognized in 2012 by the Education Writers Association. His work has also appeared in Essence, Black Enterprise and Newsweek magazines. He started his career at The Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Alabama.
"Racial inequality is one of the most important topics ProPublica covers," said Managing Editor Robin Fields. "Entrusting this beat to Topher’s probing, inspired reporting, we’re ready to take it to the next level."
ProPublica's coverage of racial inequality is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation.