Ken Armstrong

Reporter

Ken Armstrong is a reporter at ProPublica. In 2021, he reported with Meribah Knight on a Tennessee county where hundreds of children were illegally jailed. In 2018, his reporting with Christian Sheckler on the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana, led to the police chief’s resignation.

Previously, at The Marshall Project, Armstrong partnered with ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller on a story about a woman who was charged with lying about being raped. That story won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting and became a “This American Life” episode, a book and an eight-part Netflix series, “Unbelievable.” The radio episode and Netflix series both won Peabody Awards.

At The Seattle Times, Armstrong won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series with Michael Berens that showed how the state of Washington steered Medicaid patients to a cheap but unpredictable painkiller linked to more than 2,000 deaths. He also shared in two staff Pulitzers for breaking news: in 2015, for coverage of a landslide that killed 43 people; and in 2010, for coverage of the shooting deaths of four police officers.

Armstrong’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Yorker and The Paris Review. At the Chicago Tribune, his reporting with Steve Mills helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and empty death row.

In 2009, Armstrong received the John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement. His book with Nick Perry, “Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity,” won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for nonfiction. Armstrong, a graduate of Purdue University, has been a Nieman fellow at Harvard and the McGraw professor of writing at Princeton.

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.

Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade Quotes Infamous Witch Trial Judge With Long-Discredited Ideas on Rape

Justice Alito’s leaked opinion cites Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century jurist who conceived the notion that husbands can’t be prosecuted for raping their wives, who sentenced women to death as “witches,” and whose misogyny stood out even in his time.

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.

New Documents Prove Tennessee County Disproportionately Jails Black Children, and It’s Getting Worse

Newly obtained reports show that Black children in Rutherford County are locked up more than twice as often as population size would suggest. And as the rest of the country has made progress on racial disparities, the county has gotten far worse.

Tennessee Children Were Illegally Jailed. Now Members of Congress Are Asking For an Investigation.

Government officials called Rutherford County’s juvenile justice system a “nightmare” that “boggles the mind.” They are demanding answers about why children were “unjustly searched, detained, charged, and imprisoned.”

Outrage Grows Over Jailing of Children as Tennessee University Cuts Ties With Judge Involved

In the days following a ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio report on juvenile justice in Rutherford County, the president of Middle Tennessee State University told staff Judge Donna Scott Davenport “is no longer affiliated with the University.”

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge.

A New Suit Seeks to Turn Arbitrations, a Tool of Big Corporations, Against a Top Customer Service Provider

Arise Virtual Solutions has been accused of cheating its vast network of customer service agents. The suit, which cites ProPublica’s reporting, seeks a decision that could trigger a wave of tiny legal actions against Arise.

“We’re Not Allowed to Hang Up”: The Harsh Reality of Working in Customer Service

In their own voices, seven customer service representatives reveal what it’s like being caught between abusive callers and demanding employers.

All a Gig-Economy Pioneer Had to Do Was “Politely Disagree” It Was Violating Federal Law and the Labor Department Walked Away

An Obama administration Labor Department investigator estimated that Arise Virtual Solutions owed its network of 20,000 customer service agents $14.2 million. The company paid nothing.

Do You Work in Customer Service? We’d Like to Hear About Your Work-From-Home Jobs.

Have you worked with a contractor such as Arise, Sykes, LiveOps or Concentrix? We want to learn more about how customer service works at big companies like Apple, Intuit, Disney and Airbnb.

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You

Arise Virtual Solutions, part of the secretive world of work-at-home customer service, helps large corporations shed costs at the expense of workers. Now the pandemic is creating a boom in the industry.

Health Officials Recommended Canceling Events with 10-50 People. Then 33,000 Fans Attended a Major League Soccer Game.

As COVID-19 fears grew, public officials and sports execs contemplated health risks — and debated a PR message — but let 33,000 fans into a Seattle Sounders soccer match, emails show.

Expired Respirators. Reused Masks. Nurses in the Nation’s Original Covid-19 Epicenter Offer Sobering Accounts of What Could Come.

When nurses at one Washington State hospital complained about having to use expired respirators, they allege that staff were ordered to remove stickers showing the equipment was years out of date.

A New Study Prompted by Our Reporting Confirms Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department Lacks Accountability

Elkhart community members viewed police officers as “cowboys” who participated in “rough treatment of civilians,” contributing to what the study called a “trust deficit.”

Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?

The creator of Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN, says the tool can identify deception. Law enforcement has used his method for decades, even though there’s no reliable science behind it. Even the CIA and FBI have bought in.

Netflix Series Based on Our Work Explores Costs of Not Believing Rape Victims

The series, “Unbelievable,” draws from our award-winning reporting with The Marshall Project and “This American Life.”

The Questionable Conviction, and Re-Conviction, of Ricky Joyner

Juries convicted Ricky Joyner twice. Once in 1994 and again in 1998, after he won his first appeal. Prosecutors called the case cut and dried. But we looked through transcripts, reports, video and more. Should Joyner’s conviction stand?

How Have Saudi Students in the U.S. Been Able to Flee Back Home After Being Charged With Crimes Here? Help Us Find Out.

We know of cases in eight states and Canada where Saudi college students, under investigation for serious crimes, have disappeared before going on trial or completing their sentences. We are trying to figure out if there is a pattern.

In Elkhart, Indiana, Another Conviction Gets Tossed. The Star Witness Was Hypnotized, a Fact the Prosecutor Concealed.

The prosecutor who failed to disclose the use of hypnosis is now a judge. He knew the hypnotist from the Kiwanis Club.

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