A Closer Look

Examining the News

One Major Reason the U.S. Hasn’t Stopped Syphilis From Killing Babies

In reporting on the rising number of newborns needlessly dying of syphilis, ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen identified a contributing factor: the CDC’s funding structure, which is influenced by both politics and shifts in public attention.

The Billionaires Tax Isn’t New

Taxing billionaires on their wealth may sound novel, but the ideas behind it are already frequently used in the tax code.

Recent White House Study on Taxes Shows the Wealthy Pay a Lower Rate Than Everybody Else

When ProPublica compared the richest Americans’ wealth gains to the taxes they paid, we found a system that benefits billionaires. White House economists recently used a similar method to calculate tax rates, revealing stark inequality.

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.

The Inside Story of How We Reported the Secret IRS Files

The ProPublica journalists who obtained the secret tax documents of thousands of America’s richest people share how they conceived of their stories, what readers should understand about the tax system and where they’re taking these stories next.

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.

The Investigative Reporting Behind America’s Obsession With Britney Spears’ Conservatorship

Years ago, ProPublica Managing Editor Robin Fields investigated California conservatorships. Recently, she interviewed New York Times Senior Story Editor Liz Day about the reporting in the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary.

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.

How the Federal Reserve Is Increasing Wealth Inequality

The Fed’s low-interest-rate policies have stabilized the economy and turbocharged the stock market. But those who don’t own lots of stocks haven’t benefited anywhere near as much as those who do.

What Police Impunity Looks Like: “There Was No Discipline as No Wrongdoing Was Found”

To understand why police are so rarely held accountable for killings, you should know about Kawaski Trawick, and what didn’t happen to the officer who shot him.

Lessons From Bessemer: What Amazon’s Union Defeat Means for the American Labor Movement

Did the failed vote in Alabama deliver a fatal blow to employees’ union efforts, or is it just a temporary setback? History offers a few clues.

I Received Tips to Look Into How a Hospital Treated Premature Babies. Getting Data Was Nearly Impossible.

New Mexico limits the information it collects on neonatal centers. That makes it incredibly challenging to get reliable data, sort out what’s wrong and figure out how to fix it.

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.

To Hold the Government Accountable, We Need to Know What It’s Doing. That’s Why We’re Tracking PPP Data.

When Congress earmarked hundreds of billions of dollars for the Paycheck Protection Program, ProPublica believed the public had a right to know how the money was being spent. A federal judge agreed.

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 Return of the Regulators

Like them or revile them, federal agencies seem poised to regain some of their traditional powers under the new administration. But it’s not clear how far President Biden wants them to go.

“We’ve Let the Worst Happen”: Reflecting on 400,000 Dead

A much-needed check-in with health care reporter Caroline Chen as we examine the toll COVID-19 has taken on the country and what to expect from a new president.

Donald Trump Built a National Debt So Big (Even Before the Pandemic) That It’ll Weigh Down the Economy for Years

The “King of Debt” promised to reduce the national debt — then his tax cuts made it surge. Add in the pandemic, and he oversaw the third-biggest deficit increase of any president.

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