Impact

Journalism in the Public Interest

Impact has been at the core of ProPublica’s mission since we launched in 2008, and it remains the principal yardstick for our success today. Our investigative journalism does more than expose wrongdoing and injustice; we intend for it to spark real-world change.

We’ve written a whole white paper on the topic, and examples of how our stories have produced such change — from the resignation of corrupt officials to the passage of new laws — are compiled in our annual reports. On this page, you’ll find our reporting on the impact of our work.

Featured Impact

Facebook Won’t Let Employers, Landlords or Lenders Discriminate in Ads Anymore

The sweeping changes come two years after ProPublica’s reporting, which sparked lawsuits and widespread outrage.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax

The changes come after ProPublica’s reporting showed how TurboTax maker Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax prep they could have gotten for free.

Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the practice of secluding children “appalling” and said he will work with legislators to end it.

We Reported on a Nonprofit Hospital System That Sues Poor Patients. It Just Freed Thousands From Debt.

After an investigation by MLK50 and ProPublica, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is erasing debt for unpaid hospital bills owed by more than 6,500 patients. Our reporting found the hospital had profited by aggressively pursuing patients who couldn’t pay.

More Impact

COVID-19 Killed at Least 25 Residents of One Illinois Nursing Home. The Family of One Victim Has Filed a Lawsuit, Alleging Negligence.

The family of a Bria of Geneva resident who died from the coronavirus in April claims in the lawsuit that the nursing home failed to adequately test residents and staff, and didn’t isolate infected residents in time to protect others.

The State Attorney General Is Scrutinizing This Assisted Living Facility Over Its Handling of COVID-19. Some Residents Are Suing It, Too.

Coronavirus was infecting residents and staff of a Queens adult home, who told ProPublica management had misled them about its spread. Now, the New York attorney general is examining what happened and several residents are suing.

The Trump Administration Has Put Federal Workers at Coronavirus Risk, Senators Say

Citing ProPublica’s reporting, 22 Senate Democrats have asked the White House to explain its management of federal employee safety.

This Rural School District Has Been Asking for Wi-Fi for Years. Now It’s Finally Getting It.

An anonymous individual donated a dozen internet hotspots. A school district near Chicago is sending Chromebooks. And a superintendent in rural Illinois is stunned by the support to keep his students learning.

Congress Is Investigating Whether a Ventilator Company Is Gouging the U.S. — and Why the Government Is Letting It Happen

A congressional subcommittee is questioning a federal decision to pay quadruple the price for the commercial version of a ventilator Royal Philips N.V. had developed with taxpayer funds.

Attorney General Barr Refuses to Release 9/11 Documents to Families of the Victims

The move comes after President Donald Trump promised to help families, who accuse Saudi Arabia of complicity in the attacks. Barr says he cannot even explain why the material must stay secret without putting national security at risk.

Democratic Senators Demand Answers on Trump’s Secretive Border Expulsions

After ProPublica’s report, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee ask the Department of Homeland Security to explain why it thinks emergency powers granted to the CDC allow it to bypass existing asylum laws.

ER Staffing Company Reverses Benefits Cuts for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

Alteon Health rolled back cuts to vacation and retirement benefits for emergency room doctors and medical professionals after ProPublica’s reporting. Hours are still being reshuffled as non-coronavirus patients avoid the ER.

Illinois Quietly Reversed Its Ban on a Dangerous Physical Restraint for Students

After a ProPublica Illinois and Chicago Tribune investigation sparked a statewide ban on some forms of seclusion and restraint of students, a small group of schools lobbied against the measure. And it worked.

Sen. Burr Faces DOJ Investigation for Selling a Fortune in Stocks Right Before the Market Crashed

The investigation comes after ProPublica reported that the North Carolina lawmaker unloaded a significant portion of his total stock holdings before the coronavirus sell-off in the stock market.

“Now I Can Afford My Meds.” After Months of Appeals, Retiree’s Medicaid Benefits Are Restored.

South Carolina’s Medicaid agency abruptly and unexpectedly canceled Judith Persutti’s insurance in 2019, but reinstated it following a little-used appeals process.

The VA Will Now Let Some Administrative Staff Work From Home

After New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica reported that the VA was not allowing telework, the agency reversed course. Some workers remain skeptical that the policy will be implemented.

The Senator Who Dumped His Stocks Before the Coronavirus Crash Has Asked Ethics Officials for a “Complete Review”

After ProPublica’s report that Richard Burr dumped stocks after reassuring the public about coronavirus readiness, he said he welcomed an ethics investigation.

Spencer’s Pressured Employees to Come to Work, Selling Gag Gifts and Sex Toys, Until We Called

One store manager said the gag gift shop was “valuing us coming in and selling dildos and shot glasses over the health of our families.” Just before its deadline to comment, the store announced it was closing due to coronavirus.

House Democrats Probe Faulty Test Kits’ Role in Delaying Coronavirus Response

The House Oversight Committee cited ProPublica’s reporting in requesting documents from the Trump administration.

VA Secretary Under Investigation After Complaint He Looked for Dirt on a House Staffer Who Said She’d Been Assaulted

The agency’s internal watchdog told lawmakers about the probe after ProPublica unearthed the allegations against Secretary Robert Wilkie.

Senators Call on Highway Administration to Finalize Car Seat Test Rules

Two senators, citing ProPublica’s reporting on the dangers of Evenflo’s booster seats, want NHTSA to finish rules that Congress mandated 20 years ago.

He Went to Prison After a Prosecutor Hid Evidence. Seven Years After Our Story, He Walked Free.

Tyronne Johnson was featured in a 2013 ProPublica investigation that showed how a prosecutor kept jurors from hearing evidence that may have helped him beat a murder charge. He was granted parole this week and credits the story with helping him.

Illinois Adopts Stricter Rules Against Secluding and Physically Restraining Students in Schools

The state board of education stopped short of a complete ban on seclusion after a small number of special education schools asked for more leeway in dealing with students.

California Takes a First Step Toward Improving Its Failing County Jails

After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, a state oversight agency is proposing tougher scrutiny and consequences for dangerous conditions in California’s county jails.

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