Irena Hwang is a data reporter at ProPublica. She previously worked at National Public Radio, The Associated Press and The Dallas Morning News. She has a master’s degree in journalism and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is based in Atlanta.
Data reporter Irena Hwang thought counting fish to evaluate the hatchery system in the Pacific Northwest sounded like a fun project. That was before she started asking biologists about what the publicly available data could really tell us.
The U.S. government promised Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest that they could keep fishing as they’d always done. But instead of preserving wild salmon, it propped up a failing system of hatcheries. Now, that system is falling apart.
For a ProPublica reporter who did Ph.D. work in bioinformatics, data on bacterial DNA helped reveal how a once-rare salmonella strain spread through the chicken industry. Salmonella infantis is multidrug-resistant and is still making people sick.
For years, a dangerous salmonella strain has sickened thousands and continues to spread through the chicken industry. The USDA knows about it. So do the companies. And yet, contaminated meat continues to be sold to consumers.
Deputies in California’s Antelope Valley are disproportionately citing Black teens, often for minor infractions, like getting in fights or smoking. “They’re turning the principal’s office into the police station,” said one lawyer.