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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.

Featured Impact

Top Official at Memorial Sloan Kettering Resigns After Failing to Disclose Industry Ties

Dr. José Baselga, the hospital’s chief medical officer, stepped down days after a report by ProPublica and the New York Times that he failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from the health care and drug industry in research articles.

Facebook Promises to Bar Advertisers From Targeting Ads by Race or Ethnicity. Again.

Settling an investigation by the state of Washington prompted by a ProPublica story, the social networking company said it would no longer allow advertisers to exclude users by any federally protected categories.

Influential Texas Commission Says Blood-Spatter Testimony in Joe Bryan’s Murder Case Was “Not Accurate or Scientifically Supported”

The findings of Texas Forensic Science Commission will make it harder to deny a new trial to Bryan, a high school principal convicted of murdering his wife. The case was the subject of an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine.

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.

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.

Impact Profiles

Lexey Swall for ProPublica

Demetrius Smith

Baltimore, MD

Demetrius Smith was wrongfully convicted of murder, but still had a felony conviction because of an unusual plea deal. ProPublica’s story spurred a new hearing for Smith that cleared his criminal record.

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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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Dylan Wilson for ProPublica

Tim Newman

Beaufort, SC

Tim Newman was an advocate for his fellow civilian contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping them get medical care. A ProPublica story drew national attention, and policy change, for their hidden plight.

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David Ryder for ProPublica

Allisa Song

Seattle, WA

Research scientist Allisa Song didn’t just get outraged when she read ProPublica’s story on medical waste. She organized a dream team of fellow scientists and engineers to invent a solution.

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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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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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Kirsten Luce, special to ProPublica

María Eugenia Vela

Allende, Mexico

María Eugenia Vela’s husband was killed when a drug cartel swept through their small town in Mexico. For years, she never got answers until a ProPublica story revealed what happened.

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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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Stories

Texas House Unanimously Votes to Create Governor’s Task Force on Sexual Assault

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Donna Howard, credits an investigation by Newsy, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica for spurring reforms.

Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty

Guilty pleas last week by two prominent members of the Rise Above Movement came after pledges to fight federal charges and claims that those jailed were political prisoners punished for their controversial views.

Senior IRS Leaders Launch Review of Agency’s Partnership With TurboTax and H&R Block

Both the IRS and its inspector general are investigating the partnership with the tax software industry in response to ProPublica’s reporting.

Elizabeth Warren and Other Senators Call for Refunds and Investigations of TurboTax and H&R Block

In letters to the IRS and the FTC, the senators are seeking inquiries into whether the companies have deceived customers and violated restraint-of-trade laws.

New Jersey Task Force Examines Tax Breaks for George Norcross Projects

A task force appointed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy says it will investigate projects connected to the state’s top political boss.

Updated: If You Paid TurboTax but Make Under $34,000, You Could Get a Refund. Here’s How.

“I just had to mention ProPublica,” one reader said.

More Than Me Founder and CEO Katie Meyler Resigns

She had been on a leave of absence for six months after ProPublica investigated rape at her charity in Liberia.

Mentally Ill New Yorkers Seeking Independence Find Safety Net Has Holes, Report Finds

An independent monitor has found that many of the city’s most vulnerable remain stuck in troubled adult homes too long and that the state loses track of them once they move out.

After Baby’s Death, Rhode Island 911 Operators May Receive Enhanced Training

The governor supports a recommendation from the state police superintendent to have all 34 telecommunicators and eight supervisors in the 911 emergency center certified in emergency medical dispatch.

Chicago’s Inspector General Finds the City’s Gang Database Is Riddled With Errors

The database has been accessed more than 1 million times, including some 32,000 times by immigration officials. Police said they will fix the database but not erase it.

Bill to Limit IRS’ Ability to Offer Free Tax Filing Service Is Getting New Scrutiny

The attention comes after ProPublica reported on the provision.

Lawmakers Just Confronted the IRS Over Tax Audits That Target the Poor

Following up on ProPublica stories about the IRS, lawmakers pressed the commissioner on the agency’s disproportionate focus on auditing the working poor while examinations of the rich plummeted.

Alabama Senator to the IRS: Stop Picking on the South

Why are the rural poor audited more frequently than other groups, he asks, citing ProPublica. Another Democratic senator adds, “There are two tax codes in America, and there are also two enforcement regimes.”

Two Indiana Police Officers Face Federal Charges in Videotaped Beating of Handcuffed Man

The charges come after ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune exposed details of the abuse and published the video. “The alleged actions by these individuals went against everything in the oath they took to serve and protect,” the FBI said.

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.

GAO Urges Federal Government to Reveal Key Information on Political Appointees

Citing ProPublica’s Trump Town database, the watchdog agency recommended Congress consider legislation that would require the federal government to make many officials’ financial disclosures public.

Head of Rhode Island’s 911 System Is Removed From Post

The move came after The Public’s Radio sought verification of Gregory M. Scungio’s Red Cross certifications, and state police learned that he had been training call takers in CPR without proper certification.

Después de la controversia, Heartland va a cerrar cuatro albergues para jóvenes inmigrantes en Illinois

Al mismo tiempo, otro operador de albergues está intentando expandir su presencia en Chicago.

After Controversy, Heartland to Close Four Illinois Shelters for Immigrant Youth

At the same time, another shelter operator is trying to expand its footprint in Chicago.

Senators Urge IRS to Focus on Big-Time Tax Cheats, Citing ProPublica Stories

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and three fellow senators say the agency should do more to tackle financial crimes, even in the face of crippling budget cuts.

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