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

Utah Representative Proposes Bill to Stop Payday Lenders From Taking Bail Money from Borrowers

Debtors prisons were banned by Congress in 1833, but a ProPublica article that revealed the sweeping powers of high-interest lenders in Utah caught the attention of one legislator. Now, he’s trying to do something about it.

We Showed How Easy It Is to Commit Health Care Fraud. Now Senators Want to Close the Loophole.

The bipartisan proposal comes in response to a ProPublica story that showed how a personal trainer posed as a doctor to defraud prominent health insurers.

House Subcommittee Opens Investigation of Evenflo, Maker of “Big Kid” Booster Seats

The probe comes after ProPublica’s story showing that the company put marketing of its “Big Kid” booster seats over child safety.

Justice Dept. Says It Will Investigate Deadly Conditions at Four Mississippi Prisons

The agency’s Civil Rights Division decided to act after a letter from prison reformers citing stories by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.

Dating Apps Can Be Dangerous. Congress Is Investigating.

Prompted by press reports, including a recent article by Columbia Journalism Investigations and ProPublica, a House subcommittee announced that it would examine the use of dating apps by minors and the prevalence of sex offenders on such sites.

Local Accountability Journalism Still Has a Huge Impact

Between the Local Reporting Network and ProPublica Illinois, our work shows that state leaders across the country are listening and things can change.

Sex Offenders Were Becoming Cops. After Our Stories, Alaska’s Governor Wants That To End.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed law comes after Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found that dozens of rural Alaskan police officers had been hired despite criminal convictions.

Alaska’s Public Safety Officer Program Is Failing. Can It Be Saved?

A big part of Alaska’s law enforcement crisis is a program that recruits residents of remote villages and trains them to work as police. Now, a group of state legislators is proposing nine ideas to rescue the program.

After Our Reporting, Connecticut Officials Are Taking On Housing Segregation

In one of the most segregated states in the nation, the governor and legislators are calling for new measures to entice towns to build more affordable housing.

Donald and Ivanka Trump Were Involved in Inauguration’s Inflated Payments to Family Business, New Suit Says

“Members of the Trump family were aware of and involved in the negotiation of this unconscionable contract,” the District of Columbia’s attorney general wrote in the suit.

Tens of Thousands of People Lost Driver’s Licenses Over Unpaid Parking Tickets. Now, They’re Getting Them Back.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Friday to end license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets, affecting nearly 55,000 Illinois motorists. Lawmakers cited ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago reporting for leading to the new law.

Federal Regulators: Newark Beth Israel Put Patients in “Immediate Jeopardy”

The New Jersey hospital is taking corrective action after a government investigation spurred by ProPublica’s reporting found that its transplant team was failing to learn from surgical errors.

Treasury Inspector General Probes Possible Trump Tax Break Abuses

The examination of potential abuses of the opportunity zone break meant to help the poor comes after stories in ProPublica and The New York Times.

Illinois Lawmakers Are Calling for a Nationwide Ban on Isolated Timeouts of Students

Four states currently ban the practice of secluding students at school. Illinois lawmakers want Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make it 50. “This shouldn’t be controversial,” said U.S. Rep. Sean Casten.

Six Children Died in Border Patrol Care. Democrats in Congress Want to Know Why.

Video obtained by ProPublica contradicted the Border Patrol’s account of 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez’s death. Now, House Democrats are pressuring the agency to explain why six migrant children died under its care in less than a year.

California Governor’s Budget Makes Stronger Jail Oversight a Priority

After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted a budget that would give more authority to the board that oversees jails.

We Found Major Trump Tax Inconsistencies. New York’s Mayor Wants a Criminal Investigation.

Asked about ProPublica’s findings that the president’s company made itself appear more profitable to lenders and less to tax officials, Bill de Blasio said the city had examined the matter and sent its findings to the Manhattan district attorney.

Educators Push to Ban Seclusion of Students and Shift School Culture

Educators who testified before Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday agreed: Shutting students inside closet-sized rooms as punishment is never OK.

What We Found in Three Years of Documenting Hate: A Letter to Our Partners

As the project investigating hate in America comes to an end, we look back at reporting highlights and the impact of our work.

How a Police Officer in Iowa Helped Protect an Alaskan Police Force — From Thousands of Miles Away

He read our story about Alaska’s policing problems and began raising money to send supplies to the small Police Department in Savoonga. His efforts may save his fellow officers’ lives.

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