Michael Grabell


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Michael Grabell writes about economic issues, labor, immigration and trade. He has reported on the ground from more than 35 states, as well as some of the remotest villages in Alaska and Guatemala. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and the New York Times and on Vice and NPR.

Grabell has won two George Polk awards and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize — in 2021, as part of a team covering COVID-19, and in 2019, with Ginger Thompson and Topher Sanders, for stories that helped expose the impact of family separation at the border and abuse in immigrant children’s shelters. The latter work also won a Peabody award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.

He previously won the Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism for his investigation into the dismantling of workers’ compensation and an ASNE award for reporting on diversity for his series on the growth of temp work in the economy.

TSA Airport Scanners Wouldn’t Catch an Implant Bomber

Intelligence reports suggest terrorists may try to avoid airport security scanners by implanting explosive devices, and the Transportation Security Administration said that passengers flying to the United States may notice additional security measures.

Scientists Cast Doubt on TSA Tests of Full-Body Scanners

The Transportation Security Administration is confident that its full-body X-ray scanners are medically safe, but a group of scientists with expertise in cancer and radiation say the evidence made public to support those safety claims is unreliable.

Safety Reviewers Raise Questions About Construction of New Nuclear Fuel Plant

Two scientists say the NRC took construction and licensing shortcuts at a MOX fuel plant being built in South Carolina. The plant, which will convert plutonium from nuclear weapons into fuel for commercial reactors, is the first construction authorized by the NRC since the Three Mile Island accident.

Villages Testify to Disparity in Benefits Alaska Native Corporations Provide

Congress created the system of Alaska Native Corporations with the promise of bringing prosperity to a scattered indigenous population stuck in poverty. The corporations have created pockets of success but not a wide-scale solution for joblessness and substance abuse.

Slideshow: The Villages That Depend on ANCs

FAA Moves to Limit Blockout System Hiding Private Jet Flights

Citing a court ruling involving a ProPublica public records request, the Federal Aviation Administration says private jet owners may not block their whereabouts from real-time flight tracking without a valid security concern. The National Business Aviation Association objects to the proposed FAA rule change.

Gov’t Considering Rolling Back Rule Allowing Private Planes to Keep Flights Secret

Under a plan the Department of Transportation is reportedly considering, most private plane owners will no longer be able to prevent the public from tracking their flights.

Alaska Native Firms Shift Stimulus Work to Outsiders

A ProPublica analysis shows that Alaska Native Corporations rely heavily on subcontracts with non-native companies to perform stimulus projects they’ve won through special contracting privileges.

Cape Fox Corporation: Revenue vs. Net Income

What Are Alaska Native Corporations?

Questions and answers about Alaska Native Corporations

Rampant Fraud, Self-Dealing Alleged in Alaska Native Corporation

Cape Fox Corporation was prey to some of the worst abuses in a system that gives Alaska Native Corporations access to no-bid government contracts of unlimited size. As federal contracting grew, benefits went to non-native consultants instead of providing jobs, dividends to natives.

Revenues for ANCs Skyrocket, but Not Payouts to Natives

Revenues of Alaska Native Corporations have skyrocketed thanks to special privileges that allow them to obtain no-bid contracts of unlimited size. But profits and dividends haven’t kept pace, according to an analysis of ANC annual reports online at ProPublica.

ProPublica and PolitiFact Test Obama Claims on Stimulus

President Obama's assertion about stimulus projects -- that most have been completed ahead of schedule and under budget -- has some merit. Competition has pushed bids down and several measures suggest projects are being finished on time. But claim that the majority of the work is ahead of schedule is unproven.

Did the White House Meet its Stimulus Goal?

The White House says it met its goal of spending 70 percent of the $787 billion stimulus package, but final numbers aren't in and five agencies have spent less than a quarter of their funds.

Off the Radar: Private Planes Hidden From Public View

ProPublica has obtained a list of private planes whose flights are blocked from public tracking sites, and among them are the planes of politicians, business executives, colleges, churches and even news organizations.

PR Firm Behind Propaganda Videos Wins Stimulus Contract

HHS has hired a PR firm to win consumer trust in the privacy of health information systems. But the tactics of the firm, Ketchum, have come under fire in the past.

The Stimulus 'Loser' List Loses Some Members

This month a government Web site listed companies that hadn't filed required reports on their stimulus money. Now a watchdog agency says that dozens of those companies should not have been on the list.

Gov't Wrongly Labels Some Stimulus Recipients 'Losers'

The government has listed as "two-time losers" stimulus recipients who didn't file reports. But some of the listed "losers" did file the reports. The list is intended to embarrass the recipients of money who didn't do the paperwork.

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