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

Congress Scraps Provision to Restrict IRS From Competing With TurboTax

The change comes after ProPublica highlighted the deceptive marketing practices of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and other major tax prep companies.

More Than Me Shuts Down

The American charity, which runs 19 schools in Liberia, announced this week that it will close in the wake of a ProPublica investigation into the rapes of girls in its care.

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.

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.

More Impact

Billionaires Keep Benefiting From a Tax Break to Help the Poor. Now, Congress Wants to Investigate.

In response to reporting by ProPublica and others that show the opportunity zone tax break helping the politically connected, members of Congress are calling for changes in the law.

How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With an $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby

Dignity Health said its employee, an ER nurse, failed to meet the deadline to add her premature newborn to its health plan, so she was responsible for the medical bills. It rejected her appeals for a year until ProPublica called.

U.S. Senate Greenlights Funding to Help Prevent Families From Losing Their Land

A ProPublica-New Yorker story about black land loss was cited by the legislation’s sponsor before the near-unanimous vote.

Illinois Legislators Vote to End License Suspensions for Motorists With Unpaid Parking Tickets

The measure must still be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has been critical of how ticket debt harms Chicago motorists.

Doctor Who Advocated “Unethical” Care of Vegetative Patient Is Placed on Leave

Newark Beth Israel acted after our report that its transplant program kept a patient alive to improve its metrics, while barely consulting his family.

Feds to Investigate Hospital Alleged to Have Kept Vegetative Patient Alive to Game Transplant Survival Rates

Spurred by a ProPublica investigation, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also carry out an inquiry.

The Trump Administration Issues Dozens of Corrections to Its Error-Riddled Immigration Rule

Just weeks before a sweeping immigration policy takes effect, the administration is correcting substantive errors, including ones uncovered by ProPublica that would have had big impacts on military families.

Hundreds of Thousands of Chicago Motorists Could Receive Debt Relief From Vehicle Sticker Tickets as the City Expands Reform

Attention, Chicago motorists: You have until Oct. 31 to buy a city sticker and then qualify for a new debt forgiveness program.

Employers Used Facebook to Keep Women and Older Workers From Seeing Job Ads. The Federal Government Thinks That’s Illegal.

In a first, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that companies violated civil rights law through their use of Facebook’s targeting advertising.

We Reported on a Nonprofit Hospital System That Sues Poor Patients. It Just Freed Thousands From Debt.

After an investigation by MLK50 and ProPublica, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is erasing debt for unpaid hospital bills owed by more than 6,500 patients. Our reporting found the hospital had profited by aggressively pursuing patients who couldn’t pay.

Chicago City Council Approves Ticket and Debt Collection Reforms to Help Low-Income and Minority Motorists

The measures, which were prompted by a ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago investigation, are scheduled to take effect by mid-November.

Justice Department Will Fund More Prosecutors, Jails and Cops in Rural Alaska

To improve what it calls a public safety emergency, the DOJ detailed how it will spend $10.5 million. Alaska Native advocates want long-term reforms to increase their role in local justice systems as well.

Senator Demands Answers From Amazon on Delivery Crashes and Contract Drivers

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, citing a ProPublica investigation, blasts Amazon for “evasive practices and moves to cut regulatory corners.”

We Reported on Troubled Prisons. Now, Officials and a Gang Have a Shared Goal: Reform.

Following our reporting, top Republicans and Democrats want to take a closer look at Mississippi’s prison system. Meanwhile, one gang says it has turned in more than 250 weapons to show it’s against violence.

Lawmakers and Students Say Professors Who Sexually Harass Should Face Stronger Consequences

After NPR Illinois and ProPublica found that several University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professors who violated policies were allowed to quietly resign and take paid leave with their reputations intact, lawmakers called for reforms.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Asks Why the Justice Department Went Easy on Big Banks

After an article by ProPublica and American Banker examining how the DOJ softened settlements with RBS and Barclays, the presidential candidate blasts settlements that let banks “evade accountability.”

Elizabeth Warren Announces Plans to Help Heirs’ Property Owners

The Democratic presidential candidate cited a ProPublica investigation into black land loss in her proposal.

Senators Call for Closing “Loopholes” That Make Health Care Fraud Easy

In response to a story by ProPublica and Vox that detailed how a Texas personal trainer was able to bilk private insurers for millions, six Democratic lawmakers are asking federal regulators to take action.

At Hearing on Financial Aid Scandal, Lawmakers Grill Officials and Look to Close a Loophole

Illinois politicians considered denying admission to students whose families exploited the guardianship law to qualify for aid they wouldn’t otherwise receive, saying it was an “injustice.”

El Departamento de Educación Federal Quiere Frenar la “Trama Fraudulenta de Ayuda Estudiantil” en que Padres Ceden La Custodia a Través de Tutelas Dudosas

Un día después de nuestro reportaje, el inspector general del departamento dice que quiere cerrar los agujeros legales de ayuda financiera.

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