ProPublica announced Monday that Tracy Weber, deputy managing editor, has been promoted to managing editor. In this role, she will lead ProPublica’s national journalism to ensure that the newsroom takes on ambitious projects with moral force.
Weber is succeeding Robin Fields, who served as ProPublica’s managing editor for nine years during which she oversaw everything from its coverage of the pandemic to a vast array of outstanding national projects touching on racial inequality, health care, the military and more. Fields, who was one of ProPublica’s original hires, is returning to the reporting ranks for an assignment that will take full advantage of her abilities and range.
Weber also joined ProPublica at its launch in 2008 as a senior reporter after 11 years at the Los Angeles Times. She’d demonstrated a remarkable range as a journalist at the Times, where she paired up with Charles Ornstein, now ProPublica’s managing editor for local, to reveal life-threatening shortcomings at Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. The powerful series of stories won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Weber’s first ProPublica project, a series with Ornstein on the failings of California’s Board of Registered Nursing, forced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to immediately replace most of its members. That story was a finalist for the 2010 Public Service Pulitzer Prize.
Weber became a senior editor in 2014, editing, coaching and helping conceptualize some of ProPublica’s strongest work, from a series on the dismantling of workers’ compensation and its devastating consequences, to reporting on systemic inequities that allow America’s wealthiest citizens to pay little or nothing in federal taxes. Her tenure as senior editor was marked by innovation, including an investigation told as an oral history of a drug cartel’s brutal assault on a Mexican border town.
Since the fall of 2020, Weber has been a deputy managing editor responsible for organizing and overseeing major projects launched by our national staff. Work edited by Weber has won virtually every major honor in journalism. This includes a series she co-edited on leadership failures that led to deadly accidents in the Navy and Marines, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting; stories on children separated from their families at the border that won the Peabody Award’s first ever Catalyst Award; a series revealing abuses inside the Border Patrol honored with an RFK Human Rights Journalism Award; a series on the dubious use of jailhouse informants to secure convictions that won a National Magazine Award; and a series on how the bankruptcy system punishes poor Black Americans that received an American Society of News Editors Award.
“Tracy Weber is one of the finest journalists I’ve ever worked with,” Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica’s editor in chief, said. “I’ve never seen anyone better at getting a reluctant source to go on the record. As an editor, she has displayed a remarkable gift for storytelling. Again and again, reporters under her do the best work of their careers.”
In addition, Assistant Managing Editor Alexandra Zayas is being promoted to deputy managing editor, reporting to Weber and overseeing a small team of reporters and with senior responsibility for two new ProPublica initiatives: a global public health team and the teams that will be managed by the newsroom’s senior editor for visual storytelling. Zayas joined ProPublica in May 2017 as a senior editor after 12 years at the Tampa Bay Times, where she was an investigative reporter and enterprise editor. Her 2012 investigation on abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes won the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting and the Livingston Award and was a Pulitzer finalist for Investigative Reporting.
“Alex Zayas has an incredible ability to help reporters tell investigative stories through powerful narratives,” Engelberg said. “She guides reporters to tell memorable tales that keep accountability at their core.”
Zayas has overseen a series of ProPublica projects marked by her skills at working with specialty teams and outside partners to produce stories that combine riveting narratives with graphics, videos and long-form filmmaking. Work she edited on racial disparities in health care won two National Magazine Awards and a Polk Award in 2021, in addition to being part of a coronavirus coverage package that was a Pulitzer finalist. She co-edited a Pulitzer-winning series on how a crackdown on MS-13 shattered immigrant lives on Long Island, edited a story on an American charity where Liberian children were sexually exploited and worked with ProPublica’s news applications team to helm the “Sacrifice Zones” investigation revealing more than 1,000 hot spots of cancer-causing industrial air pollution.
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With a team of more than 130 dedicated journalists, ProPublica covers a range of topics, focusing on stories with the potential to spur real-world impact. Its reporting has contributed to the passage of new laws; reversals of harmful policies and practices; and accountability for leaders at local, state and national levels. Since it began publishing in 2008, ProPublica has received six Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, four Emmy Awards and nine George Polk Awards, among others.