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

EPA Takes Action to Combat Industrial Air Pollution

The EPA announced a raft of targeted actions and specific reforms including stepped-up air monitoring and scrutiny of industrial polluters in the wake of ProPublica’s investigation into toxic hot spots.

Intuit Will Pay Millions to Customers Tricked Into Paying for TurboTax

State attorneys general just reached a $141 million settlement with the Silicon Valley juggernaut. Victims will receive up to $90 each.

Tennessee Judge Who Illegally Jailed Children Plans to Retire, Will Not Seek Reelection

Since 2000, Judge Donna Scott Davenport has overseen juvenile justice in Rutherford County. Following reporting from Nashville Public Radio and ProPublica, public outcry and a bill seeking to oust the judge, Davenport announced her retirement.

House Bill Would Blow Up the Massive IRAs of the Superwealthy

The proposed reform stems from a ProPublica story that detailed how PayPal founder Peter Thiel had amassed $5 billion, tax-free, in a Roth IRA. If the bill passes, Roth accounts would be capped at $20 million for high-income individuals.

More Impact

Congress Investigates Portable Generator Manufacturers Following Carbon Monoxide Deaths

Many generators available for sale have not received potentially lifesaving safety upgrades. Citing a ProPublica, Texas Tribune and NBC News investigation, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform wants to know why.

Army Corps of Engineers to Order New Study of Grain Elevator That Could Harm Black Heritage Sites

Following our reporting, a federal agency says that a proposed grain elevator in Louisiana could harm a historic plantation and asks why a report was changed to minimize discussion of possible damage.

“We’re at a Crisis Point”: NY Attorney General Hearing Spotlights Child Mental Health Care Failures

After THE CITY and ProPublica exposed a dramatic drop in beds at state psychiatric hospitals, New York’s top law enforcer takes agonized testimony from patients and providers — and the parent who’d told us of her son’s monthslong wait for care.

Facebook Finally Agrees to Eliminate Tool That Enabled Discriminatory Advertising

Six years after ProPublica revealed that Facebook allowed advertisers to exclude Black users and others, the company agreed to a settlement with the Justice Department to overhaul its ad algorithm system.

Louisiana Limits Solitary Confinement for Youth

The governor signed Louisiana’s first law restricting isolation for youth after two suicides and a ProPublica, NBC News and The Marshall Project investigation into harsh conditions in a new state juvenile facility.

A Sheriff’s Captain Called Our Investigation an “Entertaining Piece of Fiction.” An Inspector General Disagrees.

A new report bolsters findings by KPCC/LAist and ProPublica that deputies in the Antelope Valley are stopping and arresting Black students at disproportionate rates. The Sheriff’s Department now calls it a “serious concern.”

Civil Rights Lawsuit Accuses Police of Unlawfully Arresting a High Schooler in the Early Days of the Pandemic

The lawsuit cites findings from a ProPublica and Texas Tribune investigation that featured Socrates Shawn, who was commuting between his divorced parents’ homes when he was pulled over and arrested in April 2020 by an officer in Progreso, Texas.

Juvenile Detention Center That Illegally Jailed Kids Now Will Answer to an Oversight Board

The board is being put in place after a Nashville Public Radio/ProPublica investigation detailed how Tennessee's Rutherford County was jailing children at rates unmatched in the state.

Louisiana Sued Hurricane Katrina Survivors for Misusing Recovery Grants. Now It Has Halted Collection Efforts.

Louisiana sued thousands of homeowners for not following the rules in spending grants after Katrina. After a joint news investigation, the state says it hopes a federal agency will approve a settlement that will allow it to drop the lawsuits.

Alaska Charges Former Acting Attorney General With Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Ed Sniffen faces three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached in high school in 1991.

Federal Probe of COVID Testing Company With Stunning Error Rate Expands to Nevada

A federal investigator emailed Nevada officials, notifying them that he would subpoena documents related to Northshore Clinical Labs’ operations in the state.

Illinois Will Investigate Possible Civil Rights Violations in Student Ticketing

The Illinois attorney general’s office said it is trying to determine if a suburban Chicago school district violated students’ civil rights when police ticketed them for minor misbehavior.

Illinois Will Stop Helping Cities Collect Some School Ticket Debt From Students

Since a Chicago Tribune-ProPublica investigation, school officials say they’re reevaluating when to involve law enforcement in student discipline.

Lawmakers Demand Action on Child Welfare Failures

Calls for improved access to mental health and substance abuse treatment follow reporting by ProPublica and The Southern Illinoisan on the large number of parents investigated repeatedly by Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.

Lawmakers Approve $600 Million to Help Fix Housing Program for Native Hawaiians

State legislators passed landmark legislation to help buoy a long-troubled program for making reparations to Native Hawaiians. The move follows a ProPublica and Star-Advertiser investigation.

Illinois’ Education Chief Urges Schools to Stop Working With Police to Ticket Students for Misbehavior

Responding to a ProPublica-Chicago Tribune investigation, Illinois’ schools superintendent says ticketing students hurts children and their families.

Liberty University’s Handling of Sexual Assaults Under Investigation by Department of Education

ProPublica previously detailed how the evangelical school had dismissed reports of rape and threatened to punish accusers for running afoul of its moral code. Investigators are now looking into whether Liberty violated federal law.

Louisiana Lawmakers Could Limit Solitary Confinement for Teens Following Alarming Revelations

An investigation by ProPublica, NBC News and The Marshall Project found that youth in a Louisiana lockup were held in solitary around the clock for weeks.

Maine Will Soon Hire Its First Five Public Defenders. Most of the State Remains Without Them.

The only state in the country with no public defenders will still need an estimated $51 million to provide the service to indigent defendants in all 16 of Maine’s counties. It’s “not a solution, it’s a patch,” says the agency’s director.

Conditions at Mississippi’s Most Notorious Prison Violate the Constitution, DOJ Says

“The problems at Parchman are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision,” the report said.

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