Stephen Engelberg

Editor-in-Chief

Photo of Stephen Engelberg

Stephen Engelberg was the founding managing editor of ProPublica from 2008–2012, and became editor-in-chief on January 1, 2013. He came to ProPublica from The Oregonian in Portland, where he had been a managing editor since 2002. Before joining The Oregonian, Mr. Engelberg worked for The New York Times for 18 years, including stints in Washington, D.C., and Warsaw, Poland, as well as in New York. He is a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Mr. Engelberg’s work since 1996 has focused largely on the editing of investigative projects. He started the Times’s investigative unit in 2000. Projects he supervised at the Times on Mexican corruption (published in 1997) and the rise of Al Qaeda (published beginning in January 2001) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. During his years at The Oregonian, the paper won the Pulitzer for breaking news and was a finalist for its investigative work on methamphetamines and charities intended to help the disabled. He is the co-author of “Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War” (2001).

Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Borrowers Was 10 Years in the Making

At ProPublica, we measure our success by the tangible impact our stories have. Sometimes it takes more than a decade to see a flawed policy change.

Revisiting “The Year of the Spy”

In 1985, covering a remarkable case of Chinese espionage left a lasting impression on editor Stephen Engelberg. Here, he recalls the trial in light of a new investigation that has the twists and turns of a spy novel.

Why We Are Publishing the Tax Secrets of the .001%

We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

How NYPD’s Vice Unit Got Prostitution Policing All Wrong

Most sex workers are trying to feed their families and avoid homelessness. The city’s preferred solution, counseling sessions, didn’t help them. And NYPD’s “crackdown” conveniently resulted in very few white people being arrested.

Why There’s So Much Investigative Journalism About Utility Companies

Power and water touch the lives of everyone. Someone has to hold the companies that deliver them to account.

Twenty-Six Words Created the Internet. What Will It Take to Save It?

Jeff Kosseff wrote the book on Section 230, the law that gave us the internet we have today. He talks with ProPublica Editor-in-Chief Stephen Engelberg about how we got here and how we should regulate our way out.

Seeing the Pentagon Papers in a New Light

We know the government lied about Vietnam. But should the reporter who published the Pentagon Papers have lied to his source?

The Unexpected Benefits of Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Polling

The most important thing journalists can do as they think about covering and investigating government and politics in election years is to not assume any outcome.

America Is About to Lose Its 200,000th Life to Coronavirus. How Many More Have to Die?

As another grim milestone approaches, here are the lessons officials ignored and what the country needs to do to prevent further tragedy.

Por qué publicamos el video de las horas anteriores a la muerte de Phillip García bajo custodia

García murió después de pasar tan solo 44 horas en manos de las autoridades del condado de Riverside, California. Decidimos publicar ciertas escenas perturbadoras del tiempo que estuvo detenido, con la esperanza de que su importancia supere el dolor que esto ocasionará.

Why We Are Publishing Video of the Hours Before Phillip Garcia Died in Custody

Garcia died after just 44 hours in the hands of authorities in Riverside County, California. We have chosen to release disturbing, selected scenes from his time in custody in hopes that their significance outweighs the pain this will cause.

Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America’s Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen Their Economies

We spoke to frontline experts from around the globe and have compiled a list of recommendations for reopening U.S. states. Their consensus? It’s tough to find policies that simultaneously save lives and livelihoods.

The Coronavirus Testing Paradox

Administering coronavirus tests requires time and supplies that are already running out. But aggressive testing has proven to be the best way to track and isolate the disease, stopping its spread. The best path forward depends on where you are.

How South Korea Scaled Coronavirus Testing While the U.S. Fell Dangerously Behind

By learning from a MERS outbreak in 2015, South Korea was prepared and acted swiftly to ramp up testing when the new coronavirus appeared there. Meanwhile, the U.S., plagued by delay and dysfunction, wasted its advantage.

Balancing the Public Interest and a Family’s Grief

ProPublica published a video last week showing the final hours of a 16-year-old migrant who died in Border Patrol custody. The family said they should have been given a chance to see the video before it appeared. They have a point.

The Man Who Made ProPublica Possible

RIP, Herbert M. Sandler, 1931–2019

What ProPublica Is Doing About Diversity in 2019

Here is our annual report on the breakdown of our staff and how we’re working to create a more diverse newsroom and inclusive journalism community.

A Free Press Works for All of Us

The cause of investigative reporting, a crucial element of our democracy, benefits enormously from our country’s tradition of a free, unfettered press.

DHS Chief is Confronted With ProPublica Tape of Wailing Children Separated from Parents

A reporter turned on the audio recording as Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration’s immigration policies at a White House briefing.

Welcome to Our Second Decade

Much has changed since ProPublica published its first story, but we remain committed to the power of fact-based journalism to spur change and right wrongs.

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