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Impact

Journalism in the Public Interest

Impact has been at the core of ProPublica’s mission since we launched 10 years ago, 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, as well as the stories of people whose lives have been affected by our work.

Alyssa Schukar, special to ProPublica

Isaura Martinez

Chicago, IL

Isaura Martinez and hundreds of other temp workers shared their stories with ProPublica to shed light on a shadow system harming workers and burdening the economy. “Once the stories came out, it motivated me to continue denouncing these sorts of injustices,” she said.

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More Profiles

Edmund D. Fountain, special to ProPublica

Rebecca Glover

New Orleans, LA

Reporter A.C. Thompson dug into an “unclassified” death after Hurricane Katrina. He found out the victim was shot by police and died in custody. The victim’s aunt, Rebecca Glover, is grateful for the attention the case received but worries about others who haven’t seen justice.

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Demetrius Freeman for ProPublica

Deborah Goldberg

New York, NY

ProPublica’s enterprising reporting on fracking gave an attorney the information she needed to address critical environmental issues. “To my mind, ProPublica’s series of articles was the most informative account we had of what was happening with fracking,” she said.

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Kim Raff for ProPublica

Kristen Davis

Salt Lake City, UT

Kristen Davis wanted someone held accountable after she suffered adverse reactions to a drug used during surgery. She found the ProPublica Patient Safety Community on Facebook and values the support and information shared there.

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Luke Sharrett for ProPublica

Bil Musgrave

Warrick County, IN

Bil Musgrave, a retired coal miner with cancer, stood to lose his health insurance when a coal company went bankrupt and wanted to use money earmarked for workers’ benefits to cover legal fees and other bills. ProPublica reported the story, the company withdrew the plan and Musgrave kept his health insurance.

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Sarah Glicksteen for ProPublica

Noemi Martinez

Jacksonville, FL

Noemi Martinez felt angry and powerless when she was unfairly ticketed and fined for a pedestrian violation. ProPublica and Florida Times-Union reporters gave her hope — and their story led to her receiving pro bono legal representation.

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Kendrick Brinson for ProPublica

Christopher Copolillo

Los Angeles, CA

As a student journalist, Christopher Copolillo used Debt By Degrees, ProPublica’s tool for assessing the debt burden college’s put on low-income families, to hold his own university accountable.

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Michael McElroy for ProPublica

Marie McCausland

Cleveland, OH

Marie McCausland experienced painful symptoms days after giving birth, which she recognized from a ProPublica article on maternal mortality. “ProPublica’s reporting literally saved my life,” she said.

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Recent Impact

St. Luke’s to Suspend Heart Transplants After Recent Deaths

The move comes two weeks after ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle reported on pervasive problems in the historic heart program.

A Political Boss Goes Down

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, one of the last leaders of the old Democratic machine, loses the Democratic primary to a wealthy political newcomer.

Red Cross General Counsel David Meltzer Resigns Over Handling of Sexual Assault and Harassment Allegations

The charity’s CEO, Gail McGovern, announced Meltzer’s resignation this morning following a ProPublica story last week.

Judge: Kushner Company Must Reveal Identities of Real Estate Partners

The ruling comes in a class-action lawsuit filed by tenants of Kushner-managed apartment complexes in the Baltimore area.

Baltimore Judge Tosses Alford Plea, Rebuking Prosecutor

Demetrius Smith has long maintained he pleaded guilty to a shooting he did not commit. Now, over the prosecutor's objections, his conviction has been set aside.

Nevada Pardons Wrongfully Convicted Man Featured in Our Story

The pardon clears Fred Steese’s name after state prosecutors had pushed him into an arcane plea deal even though a judge had declared he was innocent. “I’m not a felon anymore,” Steese said.

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Stories

Federal Judge to Consider Independent Monitor for Illinois Child Welfare Agency

State officials have failed to deal with children stuck in psychiatric hospitals.

Illinois Lawmakers Demand Explanation on Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals

A call for state welfare officials to appear at a public hearing follows our ProPublica Illinois investigation.

Pennsylvania State Police Adding Oversight to Troopers’ Interactions With ICE

Officers must now file a report when they call federal agencies. Meanwhile, Trooper Luke C. Macke continues to detain immigrants for ICE.

Federal Watchdog Launches Investigation of Age Bias at IBM

After a ProPublica story spotlighting IBM’s practices in shedding older workers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission consolidated age discrimination complaints against the company from around the country.

Group to Send Lawyers to Help Incarcerated Teens

Controversy at youth facility in southern Illinois sparks a nonprofit to act.

Congress Aims to Force Pentagon Reform on Open Burning of Munitions

A provision of the latest proposed defense spending bill mandates that the Department of Defense address one of its longstanding and dangerous sources of pollution.

Connecticut Set to End “Dual Arrests” in Domestic Violence Cases

A bill before the governor aims to limit the harm caused when victims are arrested along with their abusers.

Marines Open Investigation into Active-Duty White Supremacist

The inquiry begins after a ProPublica and Frontline investigation and as a congressman calls on Department of Defense to better police its ranks.

Nonprofit Watchdog Group Shutting Down

Project Six is closing its doors following our story revealing conservative donors.

Fair Housing Groups Sue Facebook for Allowing Discrimination in Housing Ads

Borrowing from ProPublica’s playbook, advocates created fake companies and bought discriminatory ads on the social network.

Here’s One Issue Blue and Red States Agree On: Preventing Deaths of Expectant and New Mothers

From Indiana to Oregon, lawmakers are passing bills to increase scrutiny of maternal deaths. Often, they’re citing our “Lost Mothers” series.

Atomwaffen, Extremist Group Whose Members Have Been Charged in Five Murders, Loses Some of Its Platforms

Three technology companies have banned the neo-Nazi group from using their online services after reporting by ProPublica. Atomwaffen’s t-shirt retailer is out, as well.

Top Lawmakers Call for Investigation of DEA-Led Unit in Mexico

Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate cited ProPublica’s reporting into the DEA’s role in two operations in Mexico that resulted in dozens, perhaps hundreds, of deaths.

Congressman Calls For Investigation Of Conservative Think Tank

Veteran Democrat Lipinski joins critics of the Illinois Policy Institute with a letter to the IRS.

Cook County’s Residential Property Tax Assessments Deeply Unfair, Independent Study Confirms

Findings that assessments were error-ridden and burdened the poor undermine Assessor Joseph Berrios’ claims that he properly valued residential property.

Florida Bill Seeks to Stop Arrests of Injured Immigrant Workers

The bill follows an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, which found that insurance companies were turning in unauthorized immigrants who were injured on the job.

As March Primary Nears, Study on Cook County Property Tax System Still Under Wraps

Initial mid-December deadline for review gives way to new release date: late February.

Congressman’s Bill Would Force Trump Administration to Fulfill Pledge to Study Racial Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., cited our report that minority neighborhoods pay higher car insurance premiums than white areas with the same risk.

Manhattan District Attorney Says He’ll No Longer Accept Contributions From Lawyers With Cases Before Him

Cy Vance had faced criticism after declining to prosecute high-profile defendants such as Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. and Harvey Weinstein, whose lawyers had donated to his campaign.

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