Richard Tofel

President, 2013-2021

Photo of Richard Tofel

Richard Tofel was the founding general manager of ProPublica from 2007-2012, and served as president from January 2013-September 2021. In this role, he had responsibility for all of ProPublica’s non-journalism operations, including communications, legal, development, finance and budgeting, and human resources.

He was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and, earlier, an assistant managing editor of the paper, vice president, corporate communications for Dow Jones & Company, and an assistant general counsel of Dow Jones. More recently, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of the Rockefeller Foundation, and earlier as president and chief operating officer of the International Freedom Center, a museum and cultural center that was planned for the World Trade Center site.

He is the author of “Not Shutting Up: A Year of Reflections on Journalism” (2020); “‘A Federal Offense of the Highest Order’: The True Story of How the Joint Chiefs Spied on Nixon, And How He Covered It Up” (2019); “Speaking Truth in Power: Lessons for Our Sorry Politics from Our Inspiring History” (2018); “Home Run Revolution: Babe Ruth in His Time, 1919-1920” (2015); “Non-Profit Journalism: Issues Around Impact” (2013); “Why American Newspapers Gave Away the Future” (2012); “Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition” (2011); “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism” (2009); “Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address” (2005); “Vanishing Point: The Disappearance of Judge Crater, and the New York He Left Behind” (2004); and “A Legend in the Making: The New York Yankees in 1939” (2002).

Why We Published the Decryption Story

We explain why publishing this story about U.S. and U.K. government efforts to decode enormous amounts of internet traffic previously thought to have been safe is in the public interest.

Sound, Fury and the IRS Mess

ProPublica’s job is to report the news rather than to make news ourselves, but sometimes we find an article of ours to be itself a subject of public debate. Last week was such a time, when two articles we had published back in December and January became the subject of significant attention in light of the uproar over IRS oversight of the process for granting tax exemption to so-called “social welfare” groups under section 501(c)(4).

Friend of the Court: How Anthony Lewis Influenced the Justices He Covered

Lewis, the legendary New York Times journalist, did more than report on the Supreme Court. His advocacy set the stage for the Warren Court’s arguably most important decisions.

For Obama, More Prose than Poetry in Second Inaugural

The president issues a call for progress to begin his second term, in language more practical than poetic

Why (and How) We Use Creative Commons for Our Stories

ProPublica has made important use of Creative Commons since our launch four and a half years ago.

Help ProPublica Celebrate its 4th Birthday!

This weekend marks four years since we began publishing, and we hope you'll take just a moment to mark the occasion.

RIP, Marion O. Sandler

Results of ProPublica’s 2011 Reader Survey

The results of our latest survey of ProPublica readers are in, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about... well, you.

Would You Take Our Reader Survey?

As we approach year-end, we're again taking stock of our work here at ProPublica. That includes hearing from you, our readers, about what you want more of, and what we should do better.

Please Join Robert Redford in Supporting ProPublica

Holiday time is the season for giving of all sorts -- including supporting organizations and causes that make a difference. We hope that, as the end of the year approaches, you’ll consider a tax-deductible donation to ProPublica.

Bancroft Family Members Express Regrets at Selling Wall Street Journal to Murdoch

If we knew now what we could have known then, we would have blocked deal, several say.

ProPublica 2010 Annual Report Now Available

Kindle Singles from Amazon Features ProPublica Content is today launching Kindle Singles, ebook versions of narrative writing longer than almost all magazine articles, but shorter than traditional books. We're delighted to report that ProPublica stories will be included in the Kindle Singles collection.

Why We’re Publishing Advertising, and Where We Stand on Funding

ProPublica will begin publishing advertising on its web site, and likely soon we’ll include it as well in our daily email, on our mobile site and in our iPad app.

Why WikiLeaks' 'War Logs' Are No Pentagon Papers

The historical importance the Pentagon Papers far outweighs the probable impact of the new Afghanistan documents. And Nixon's response was likely far different than President Obama's will be.

Results of Our 2010 Reader Survey

ProPublica readers like our longer stories, are generally happy with what we’re doing, and are a demographic dream, our most recent survey found.

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