Impact

Journalism in the Public Interest

Impact has been at the core of ProPublica’s mission since we launched in 2008, and that’s true for our Local Reporting Network, too. What we mean by impact is that our investigative journalism seeks to do more than expose wrongdoing and injustice; we hope to spark real-world change.

We’ve written a white paper on the topic, and examples of how the journalism of our newsroom and our Local Reporting Network partners 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 stories that show the impact of journalism produced through the Local Reporting Network.

Featured Impact

A Hospital Was Accused of Racially Profiling Native American Women. Staff Said Administrators Impeded an Investigation.

Federal regulators are investigating a New Mexico hospital accused of racial profiling. This comes as hospital staff said administrators appeared to hide documents and discouraged cooperation with an initial state inquiry.

California Takes a First Step Toward Improving Its Failing County Jails

After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, a state oversight agency is proposing tougher scrutiny and consequences for dangerous conditions in California’s county jails.

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.

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“We’re at a Crisis Point”: NY Attorney General Hearing Spotlights Child Mental Health Care Failures

After THE CITY and ProPublica exposed a dramatic drop in beds at state psychiatric hospitals, New York’s top law enforcer takes agonized testimony from patients and providers — and the parent who’d told us of her son’s monthslong wait for care.

A Sheriff’s Captain Called Our Investigation an “Entertaining Piece of Fiction.” An Inspector General Disagrees.

A new report bolsters findings by KPCC/LAist and ProPublica that deputies in the Antelope Valley are stopping and arresting Black students at disproportionate rates. The Sheriff’s Department now calls it a “serious concern.”

Juvenile Detention Center That Illegally Jailed Kids Now Will Answer to an Oversight Board

The board is being put in place after a Nashville Public Radio/ProPublica investigation detailed how Tennessee's Rutherford County was jailing children at rates unmatched in the state.

Louisiana Sued Hurricane Katrina Survivors for Misusing Recovery Grants. Now It Has Halted Collection Efforts.

Louisiana sued thousands of homeowners for not following the rules in spending grants after Katrina. After a joint news investigation, the state says it hopes a federal agency will approve a settlement that will allow it to drop the lawsuits.

Alaska Charges Former Acting Attorney General With Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Ed Sniffen faces three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for having sex with a 17-year-old girl he coached in high school in 1991.

Lawmakers Demand Action on Child Welfare Failures

Calls for improved access to mental health and substance abuse treatment follow reporting by ProPublica and The Southern Illinoisan on the large number of parents investigated repeatedly by Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services.

Lawmakers Approve $600 Million to Help Fix Housing Program for Native Hawaiians

State legislators passed landmark legislation to help buoy a long-troubled program for making reparations to Native Hawaiians. The move follows a ProPublica and Star-Advertiser investigation.

Maine Will Soon Hire Its First Five Public Defenders. Most of the State Remains Without Them.

The only state in the country with no public defenders will still need an estimated $51 million to provide the service to indigent defendants in all 16 of Maine’s counties. It’s “not a solution, it’s a patch,” says the agency’s director.

Conditions at Mississippi’s Most Notorious Prison Violate the Constitution, DOJ Says

“The problems at Parchman are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision,” the report said.

Detroit City Council Calls on Michigan’s Largest Utility to Pause Shut-offs, Explain Its High Electricity Rates

The council resolution follows revelations by Outlier Media and ProPublica on the high number of DTE customers whose accounts were disconnected during the pandemic.

Lawmakers Approve Payments to Parents of Children Who Died of Catastrophic Brain Injuries

A year after reforming a program for children who suffered devastating brain injuries at birth, Florida lawmakers voted to extend help to families whose children died.

Washington State Budgets $1.6 Million for Study and Removal of Toxic Lights

Responding to a Seattle Times and ProPublica investigation, state lawmakers set aside funds after fluorescent lights leaked PCBs at a Seattle-area school for several years. But legislators say it’s only a first step.

Representatives Introduce $500 Million Air Quality Bill, Citing ProPublica’s Investigations

Lawmakers introduced a House bill to fund air monitoring after ProPublica highlighted pollution in its “Black Snow” and “Sacrifice Zones” investigations. The bill is nearly identical to one introduced in the Senate last summer.

Lawmakers Propose $600 Million to Fix Housing Program for Native Hawaiians

Hawaii legislators are seeking to infuse $600 million into the state’s native land program. The move follows a Star-Advertiser/ProPublica investigation that found that the state wasn’t returning many low-income beneficiaries to their ancestral land.

Tennessee Judge Who Illegally Jailed Children Plans to Retire, Will Not Seek Reelection

Since 2000, Judge Donna Scott Davenport has overseen juvenile justice in Rutherford County. Following reporting from Nashville Public Radio and ProPublica, public outcry and a bill seeking to oust the judge, Davenport announced her retirement.

After Years of Complaints, Florida Improves Pollution Monitoring Near Burning Sugar Cane Fields

Regulators updated air-monitoring equipment following a ProPublica/Palm Beach Post investigation that found shortcomings in the way authorities police air quality during the cane burning season in Florida’s heartland.

At Last, Florida Families Hit Hard by Their Children’s Birth Injuries Are Promised More Help

The chairman of Florida’s NICA board gave parents of children born with brain injuries the message some of them waited decades to hear: “You have been heard.”

LA Inspector General Looks Into Allegations of Racist Policing by Sheriff’s Deputies on School Grounds

Citing a LAist/ProPublica report that sheriff’s deputies disproportionately stopped and cited Black students, LA County’s Inspector General said he will look into allegations of racial discrimination in California’s Antelope Valley high schools.

Florida Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Kids Often Told Families No. It’s Promising to Change.

The program promised support while taking away parents’ right to seek justice. Instead, NICA often forced parents to go through the state’s Medicaid safety net first — including appeals. Now, a proposed set of rules could change the approach.

Louisiana Deputy Who Slammed a Black Woman on the Pavement Was Named in Multiple Suits, Records Show

Julio Alvarado, a Jefferson Parish deputy who was seen on video violently dragging a woman by the hair, has been named in nine federal civil rights lawsuits, all involving the use of excessive force. This is the most of any deputy currently employed.

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