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

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.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax

The changes come after ProPublica’s reporting showed how TurboTax maker Intuit tricked customers into paying for tax prep they could have gotten for free.

Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the practice of secluding children “appalling” and said he will work with legislators to end it.

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.

More Impact

House Subcommittee Says Proposed Booster Seat Safety Rules Fall Short

Following a ProPublica investigation, members of Congress say “unsafe” booster seats are being sold to parents while regulators fail to protect children.

Following Our Investigation, the Director of Maine’s Public Defense Agency Resigns

Amid mounting criticism of his management of attorneys, finances and the quality of legal services for Maine’s poor, John Pelletier stepped down as executive director of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services. His last day will be Dec. 11.

Leader of Newark Beth Israel’s Troubled Heart Transplant Program Departs

Dr. Mark Zucker was put on administrative leave after ProPublica showed he told staff to keep a heart transplant patient on life support because of concerns about survival stats. Now Newark Beth Israel will seek a new leader for the program.

Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

As educators and parents assess the risk of returning to the classroom, some felt frustrated by the lack of public data about COVID-19 in schools. After a ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation, the state will start publishing the data.

New Bill Aims to End Racial Disparities in Amputations

Informed by a ProPublica article investigating why Black Americans were three times more likely to undergo diabetic amputations, five members of congress are working to fund screening and enhance diagnostics in an effort to save limbs.

New York Court Officials to Review Cases Handled by Judge With Alzheimer’s

The review will involve only cases the judge, ShawnDya Simpson of State Supreme Court, dealt with while on medical leave.

Cleveland Hospitals’ Private Police “Border Patrol” Comes Under Scrutiny

Local elected officials and the NAACP are calling for tougher supervision of private police forces, including one run by the Cleveland Clinic, after ProPublica found that these officers disproportionately arrest Black people.

Maine Hires Lawyers With Criminal Records to Defend Poor Residents. The Governor Wants Reform.

Gov. Janet Mills publicly called for a bipartisan effort to reform Maine’s defense system for poor people accused of crimes in response to an investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica.

The Trump Administration Allowed Aviation Companies to Take Bailout Funds and Lay Off Workers, Says House Report

Instead of using bailout money to keep workers, at least two companies restored the full pay of their top management.

Black Landowners Will Benefit From New Funding to Prevent Land Loss

A year after a ProPublica story highlighted problems for landowners who passed down “heirs’ property” without wills, a reformer won a MacArthur “genius” award and a nonprofit organization has received a flood of donations.

What Happens After a Debt Collection Machine Grinds to a Halt

One year ago, Methodist Le Bonheur hospital system erased nearly $12 million of medical debt after an investigation from MLK50 and ProPublica. We checked in with two women who have new jobs and a new optimism about their future.

The Hospital System Sent Patients With Coronavirus Home to Die. Louisiana Legislators Are Demanding an Investigation.

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus called the practice of sending infected coronavirus patients home to die “disturbing” after ProPublica found that one New Orleans hospital system had done so numerous times.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Confirms a Pattern of Age Discrimination at IBM

A sweeping decision by the EEOC could cost the tech giant millions in settlements or make it the target of a federal age-discrimination lawsuit. Its findings echo those of a ProPublica investigation.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Calls for Audit After Our Reporting on a State Institute That Lobbied for the Timber Industry

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute worked to undercut academic research and acted as a lobbying and public relations arm for the timber industry. Now, the governor has asked for an audit.

The Trump Administration Is Backing Out of a $647 Million Ventilator Deal After ProPublica Investigated the Price

The government overpaid by hundreds of millions for Philips ventilators, says a House investigation spurred by ProPublica reporting. Now that deal is off and Congress is scrutinizing other coronavirus deals made by trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Black Diabetics Lose Limbs at Triple the Rate of Others. Here’s How Health Care Leaders Are Starting to Act.

The American Diabetes Association is creating an initiative to fight unnecessary amputations, which a ProPublica investigation found disproportionately affect Black diabetics. Congress, doctors and the public are finally taking notice, too.

Alaska’s Attorney General Resigns Hours After We Published “Uncomfortable” Texts He Sent to a Younger Colleague

An Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica investigation revealed Kevin Clarkson texted a much-younger state employee hundreds of times, often using kiss emoji and commenting on her appearance.

Federal Investigation Finds Hospital Violated Patients’ Rights by Profiling, Separating Native Mothers and Newborns

It remains unclear just how many newborns were separated from their mothers as a result of the policies. Lovelace Women’s Hospital did not admit to any wrongdoing but reported that the practice has been halted.

Demandaron a miles de prestatarios durante la pandemia, hasta que comenzamos a hacer preguntas

A meses de haber comenzado la pandemia, un prestamista que se comercializa entre los inmigrantes latinos siguió demandando a sus prestatarios, a pesar de que estos perdieron sus empleos y se retrasaron con sus pagos. No obstante, la compañía dio marcha atrás cuando nosotros comenzamos a hacer preguntas.

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.

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