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

Grace, Black Teen Jailed for Not Doing Her Online Coursework, Is Released

Grace’s story, first published by ProPublica Illinois, prompted outrage and debate across the country. Though a judge refused to set the girl free, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release from a juvenile detention facility in Detroit.

Florida Governor Signs Law Reforming Program for Brain-Damaged Infants

Parents who participate in the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, receive a pledge from lawmakers that they will no longer have to fight for “medically necessary” expenses the program has claimed to cover all along.

New York City Council Proposes Sweeping NYPD Reforms

The council has announced a package of bills to reshape the NYPD and improve officer accountability. A City Council member cited a “direct line” from ProPublica’s coverage to the proposals.

Illinois Dramatically Limits Use of Seclusion and Face-Down Restraints in Schools

A new bill will ban school workers from locking children in seclusion spaces and limit most uses of isolated timeout and physical restraint. A ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation found widespread abuse of the practices in Illinois.

More Impact

Tax-Funded Forest Institute in Oregon Misled Public, May Have Broken State Law, Audit Finds

State auditors found that an agency intended to educate the public about forestry presented biased information favoring the timber industry and possibly violated state law. The audit was prompted by our investigation last year into the agency.

State Attorneys General Push Federal Government to Follow the Law and Finally Create Side-Impact Tests for Kids’ Car Seats

A co-leader of a group of 18 attorneys general calls ProPublica’s story about the lack of side-impact tests for children’s booster seats “horrifying” and says it’s about time federal regulators stepped in to protect kids.

Democratic Senators Call for Investigation of Tax Avoidance by the Ultrawealthy

Calling ProPublica’s Secret IRS Files series a “bombshell,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse demanded an investigation into how the rich use “legal tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of income taxes.”

County Officials in Texas Settle Lawsuit Alleging Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases

Local agencies reform how they handle sexual assault allegations and pay compensation to survivors following a lawsuit and a 2018 investigation by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica.

Facing New Complaint, South Carolina Magistrate Removed as County’s Chief Judge

Magistrate Angel Underwood was removed from her post after court officials sat on a complaint for years. Underwood has been accused of failing to remain impartial toward the local sheriff’s department, which her husband used to run.

Campaign to Rein in Mega IRA Tax Shelters Gains Steam in Congress Following ProPublica Report

One proposal would ban the kinds of transactions that helped Peter Thiel amass $5 billion in his Roth; another would cap how much could be saved tax-free in these retirement accounts. But two unrelated bills could undermine those efforts.

The Ultrawealthy Have Hijacked Roth IRAs. The Senate Finance Chair Is Eyeing a Crackdown.

Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he planned to rein in tax breaks for gargantuan Roth retirement accounts after ProPublica exposed how the superrich used them to shield their fortunes from taxes

The U.S. Is Closing a Loophole That Lured Mexicans Over the Border to Donate Blood Plasma for Cash

Selling blood plasma in the U.S. could net Mexican residents hundreds of dollars a month — if they donated often enough. But some were putting their health at risk to do so.

How China Spreads Its Propaganda Version of Life for Uyghurs

Thousands of videos of Uyghurs denying abuses against their community are showing up on Twitter and YouTube. They’re part of an elaborate influence campaign by Chinese officials to counter reports of human rights violations in Xinjiang.

How Our Investigation Into Untested DNA Evidence Helped Solve a 1983 Murder

When reporter Catherine Rentz found a 1983 article about a student who was raped and murdered, she immediately recognized the similarities to crimes committed by a serial perpetrator she’d been investigating.

After NYPD Found “No Wrongdoing” in Officer’s Killing of Kawaski Trawick, a Watchdog Finds Fireable Offenses

New York City’s police oversight agency brought disciplinary charges against the officer who killed Kawaski Trawick. While the NYPD found no wrongdoing, ProPublica published footage showing it was the cops who escalated the situation.

After Grace’s Story, Michigan Will Study Its Juvenile Justice System

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed a task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and recommend reforms after a Black teen was jailed for not doing her online coursework.

Oregon House Moves to Curb Forest Institute’s Power and Budget

After our investigation found that a tax-funded institute acted as a lobbying arm for the timber industry, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill that would significantly cut the institute’s funding and redirect the money to climate science.

Following a DUI Arrest, Maine Defense Lawyer Banned From Representing Defendants

For nearly two weeks after her arrest, a Maine lawyer continued to be contracted by a state agency with a record of mismanagement to serve as legal counsel for Maine’s poorest residents.

We Reported on How California Rarely Cracks Down on Oil Companies. Now Regulators Have Fined One Company $1.5 Million.

After years of lax enforcement, California regulators slapped hefty fines on an oil company for nearly 600 violations. But concerns remain whether that penalty will ever be paid.

An Online Lender Gave Hundreds of PPP Loans to Fake Farms. Now Congress Is Investigating.

A House committee has opened a probe into loans by Kabbage and other fintech companies after ProPublica reported that millions had gone to businesses that do not exist.

Missouri Lawmakers Approve Reforms to Controversial Clean-Energy Loan Program

Lawmakers approve consumer protections and oversight to PACE loans that have disproportionately burdened borrowers in Black neighborhoods.

Clean-Energy Loans Trapped Black Homeowners in Debt. The Legislature Just Started Trying to Fix the Problem.

Lawmakers in Missouri are exploring ways to rein in the state’s clean-energy loan program, which ProPublica found disproportionately harms Black homeowners.

Florida Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Infants Publicly Embraces Reforms It Once Fought

While the executive director of the Florida program has sent a letter to families saying they will get more benefits and “services you have long deserved,” some parents ask why NICA waited until lawmakers insisted before embracing reform.

Kushner Companies Violated Multiple Laws in Massive Tenant Dispute, Judge Rules

Judge finds Kushner-owned management company charged "deceptive" fees to thousands of tenants, in lawsuit filed after ProPublica found widespread problems in their apartments.

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