Sandhya Kambhampati

Data Reporter

Photo of Sandhya Kambhampati

Sandhya Kambhampati is a former data reporter at ProPublica Illinois, where she analyzed statistics, databases and public records to uncover structural issues and abuses. She co-reported on the widespread inaccuracies in Cook County’s property tax assessment system, which was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Local Reporting in 2018. Before she joined ProPublica, she was a Knight-Mozilla fellow at Correctiv, an independent, nonprofit newsroom in Berlin. At Correctiv, she was on a reporting team that published an investigation into the German nursing home system, which prompted discussion across the country of how nursing homes should be evaluated and won the Deutsche Reporter Preis for Innovation. She also published an e-book during her fellowship on newsroom processes. Before that, she was a database reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she reported on college administrative pay and athletics. Her co-reported series on college athletic subsidies won the 2015 Education Writers Association Award for Data Journalism.

She trains journalists regularly in understanding statistics, freedom of information laws and data analysis. Her work has also published in Mother Jones, Die Welt, CNN, USA Today and PBS Washington Week and was featured in The New York Times, NPR and CBS Radio. Sandhya holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where she graduated as the outstanding overall senior.

How Has the “Crack Cocaine of Gambling” Affected Illinois? The State Hasn’t Bothered to Check.

Since video gambling went live in 2012, more than 30,000 video slot and poker machines have been installed in the state and gamblers have lost more than $5 billion. Yet Illinois has failed to address the issue of gambling addiction in any meaningful way.

How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost

Lawmakers said legalizing video gambling would generate billions of dollars for the state. Instead, it’s proved to be little more than a money grab.

How We Analyzed Video Gambling in Illinois

Here’s how we conducted an in-depth look at the rapid expansion of video gambling in the state and its financial and social costs.

How to Find Out About Hot Dogs, Puppy Names and Parking Tickets

FOIA is the all-purpose journalism weapon of choice.

How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy

A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped black residents — and lawyers benefit.

I’ve Sent Out 1,018 Open Records Requests, and This Is What I’ve Learned

A little honey goes a long way, but it helps to know the law, too.

How the Cook County Assessor Failed Taxpayers

Joseph Berrios' error-ridden commercial and industrial assessments punish property owners, benefit lawyers.

How We Analyzed Commercial and Industrial Property Assessments in Chicago and Cook County

An in-depth analysis of hundreds of thousands of property tax records under Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

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