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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After learning he’d been kidnapped as a child, spared from a massacre carried out by the Guatemalan military, Oscar Ramírez Castañeda faced danger of persecution if deported to his home country. ProPublica’s story prompted U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant political asylum to Ramírez and his wife.
After the death of Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti’s son, a New Jersey state agency continued billing her for the student loans. ProPublica’s reporting on these aggressive collections spurred a state law requiring the agency to forgive debts of borrowers who die.
The CEO of Northrop Grumman told employees he was saddened by ProPublica and Frontline’s report concerning Michael Miselis, an aerospace engineer who took part in the violence in Charlottesville last year.
The state began investigating Barry Helfmann after a 2015 article by ProPublica and the New York Times about debt collection lawsuits against his patients that included details of their mental health diagnoses and treatments.
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.
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