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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.

Latest Stories

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

State Investigating Hospital With Coronavirus Policy That Profiled Pregnant Native American Mothers and Separated Them From Newborns

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham cited “significant, awful allegations” in a ProPublica and New Mexico In Depth story on a hospital where clinicians said pregnant Native women were singled out for COVID-19 testing and separated from newborns after delivery.

The VA Will Now Let Some Administrative Staff Work From Home

After New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica reported that the VA was not allowing telework, the agency reversed course. Some workers remain skeptical that the policy will be implemented.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

We Found Villages That Hired Criminals as Cops. Now Officials Want It To Change.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found small Alaska cities have employed police whose criminal records should have prevented them from being hired. Now, the state board is working to ensure they meet basic hiring standards.

We Investigated Magistrates. Now, Lawmakers Want to Overhaul the System.

State lawmakers in South Carolina are proposing changes to how lower-court judges are selected after a Post and Courier-ProPublica investigation. The probe found a system that places connections over qualifications.

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.

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.

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.

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