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

The Supreme Court Has Adopted a Conduct Code, but Who Will Enforce It?

Experts say it is unclear if the new rules, which come after reporting by ProPublica and others revealed that justices had repeatedly failed to disclose gifts and travel from wealthy donors, would address the issues raised by the recent revelations.

Dozens of Museums and Universities Pledge to Return Native American Remains. Few Have Funded the Effort.

Reporting from nearly 50 local newsrooms, based on ProPublica’s “Repatriation Project,” has sparked a wave of apologies and commitment to returning ancestral remains. But without funding for the work tribal nations could still face empty promises.

Texas Legislature Closes Gun Background Check Loophole

State lawmakers passed a bill requiring courts to report involuntary mental health hospitalizations of juveniles for inclusion in the federal gun background check system. The law closes a gap revealed by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune in 2022.

Legislation to Support Stillbirth Prevention Heads to House After Unanimous Senate Approval

Following ProPublica’s reporting on the nation’s stillbirth crisis, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill to fund prevention. After the Senate passed the legislation unanimously in September, the House is expected to take it up next.

More Impact

After Decades, Voters Finally OK Replacement for Crumbling Idaho School

The vote follows a yearlong investigation by the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica into how the state’s restrictive funding policies left students studying in deteriorating buildings across the state.

Ticketed at School as a Teen, a Young Black Woman Is Suing an Illinois City for Violating Her Civil Rights

It took four years and a jury trial for Amara Harris to beat the ticket that accused her of stealing another girl’s AirPods. Now she’s heading back to court in the hope of stopping schools from using police to discipline students.

Minnesota AG Sues Contract-for-Deed Seller Who Allegedly Targeted Muslim Community

The complaint, which alleges violations of lending law and religious discrimination, follows a ProPublica and Sahan Journal investigation.

Mississippi Lawmakers Move to Limit the Jail Detentions of People Awaiting Mental Health Treatment

Supporters say the measure is a step forward in curbing the number of people jailed during civil commitment. But some local officials say the impact will be limited unless the state makes other changes, including adding psychiatric beds.

More States Are Allowing Child Support Payments to Reach Children

Since a ProPublica investigation found that states were seizing child support headed to families as reimbursement for the mother having received welfare, at least six states have changed their policies. Others are debating doing the same.

Sports Team Owners Face New Scrutiny From IRS Over Tax Avoidance

A new campaign by the tax agency comes after ProPublica revealed how billionaires generate what can be hundreds of millions in tax savings by purchasing professional sports teams.

EPA Proposes Ban on Pesticide Widely Used on Fruits and Vegetables

The ban on acephate comes a week after a ProPublica investigation highlighted the EPA’s controversial finding that the bug killer doesn’t harm the developing brains of children.

FDA Moves to Scrutinize Specialized Health Screenings

The agency issued a rule that brings new scrutiny to a range of critical lab-developed tests, including certain cancer and prenatal screenings. ProPublica previously reported how lab-test accuracy and marketing had skirted federal oversight.

New Legislation Would Expand Access to Disaster Relief, Provide Help With Titles for Large Number of Black Landowners

The bills come after ProPublica’s reporting on land passed down informally within families, known as heirs’ property. Representing about one-third of Black-owned land in the South, it can be ineligible for aid and vulnerable to forced sales.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chair Calls for More Mental Health Care Providers in Rural Areas

Citing ProPublica’s reporting on the barriers faced by veterans in crisis, Sen. Jon Tester asked VA Secretary Denis McDonough to increase the number of providers and ensure they are “in locations where veterans need them most.”

Soldiers Charged With Violent Crimes Will Now Face More Scrutiny Before They Can Simply Leave the Army

The change comes after reporting from ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and Military Times revealed that hundreds of soldiers charged with offenses like sexual assault and domestic violence left the Army without facing courts-martial.

EPA Finalizes New Standards for Cancer-Causing Chemicals

The regulation specifically targets ethylene oxide, which a ProPublica analysis found was the single biggest contributor to excess industrial cancer risk from air pollutants nationwide.

After Decades of Imprisoning Patients, Idaho Approves Secure Mental Health Facility

The Idaho Legislature has approved funding for a 26-bed facility after ProPublica found that state lawmakers and officials ignored repeated warnings about the practice of locking up mentally ill patients who hadn’t been convicted of a crime.

After CPAP Recall, Philips Must Institute New Safeguards in Agreement With U.S. Justice Department

The settlement comes nearly three years after the company acknowledged that an industrial foam fitted inside its machines could degrade and release toxic substances into the masks worn by patients.

New Utah Law Prioritizes Child Safety in Custody Courts

The legislation, which limits the use of reunification therapies and increases scrutiny of expert witnesses, follows ProPublica’s reporting on courts’ handling of custody cases involving allegations of violence.

Michigan Lawmakers Working to Fix a Program That Failed to Compensate the Wrongfully Convicted

State law provides $50,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, but a ProPublica investigation showed how the law’s narrow requirements led to delays, partial settlements and outright denials of payments.

Chevron Will Pay Record Fines for Oil Spills in California

The penalties come after an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica found that companies were profiting from illegal spills and California’s oversight of the industry was lax.

Idaho Legislature Approves $2 Billion for Schools to Repair and Replace Aging Buildings

The funding was pledged by Gov. Brad Little after an Idaho Statesman and ProPublica investigation showed students learning in poor conditions. Educators say it’s only a start to fixing decades-old problems.

New EPA Rule to Slash Cancer-Causing Emissions From Sterilization Facilities

The new rule comes after a 2021 investigation by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune revealed the EPA’s yearslong failure to inform communities of the risks they faced from cancer-causing ethylene oxide emissions.

Indiana Enacts Law to Allow State Child Services to Investigate More Abuse Claims at Youth Centers

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that aims to curb abuse at youth treatment centers for those 18-21 years old. It comes after a ProPublica-IndyStar investigation into employees at Pierceton Woods Academy.

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