ProPublica launches expansion plans
ProPublica is scaling up its local investigative journalism with the launch of three regional reporting hubs with two units covering the South and the Southwest.
Also, ProPublica Illinois will be transformed into a unit covering a broader region of the Midwest.
The company is also launching a Distinguished Fellows program to support proven investigative journalists with selected fellows embarking on three-year partnerships with ProPublica, as they report from their local newsrooms.
The move comes with the aid of two grants from philanthropic entities, one a donor-advised fund held at the Pew Charitable Trusts.
With these expansion plans, ProPublica hopes to add nearly 30 new positions across the United States, including editors and reporters, news applications developers, researchers and other staff.
Charles Ornstein, ProPublica managing editor for local said:
“The need for local accountability journalism is more acute than ever, as newspapers across the country contract and in some cases collapse.
“The rapid decline of local reporting is a crisis challenging democracy itself, leaving communities without information that is critical to their ability to hold powerful interests and decision-makers accountable. Through this transformative expansion of ProPublica’s local initiatives, we believe we can create a sustainable infrastructure that will meaningfully address these widening gaps.”
The investment will also allow for:
A seven-person reporting unit, based in Atlanta, to cover the South, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
A six-person reporting unit based in Phoenix to cover the Southwest, including New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and possibly Colorado
An additional four reporters will join the existing Chicago-based staff to create a new Midwest regional hub, with new positions covering Wisconsin, Michigan and likely Missouri.
Three-year grants to six ProPublica Distinguished Fellows, proven investigative reporters working at local news organizations, who will co-publish their reporting with ProPublica.
Additional supporting positions for these efforts in such key areas as engagement, audience, research, video, data reporting and fundraising, on both ProPublica’s news and business sides.
Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica editor-in-chief added:
“The Midwest, South and Southwest are areas of the country with growing, diverse and underrepresented populations, and these regions appear frequently in ProPublica reporting on a range of issues, from health care to education to criminal justice and beyond.
“The regional hubs will tackle these issues, publishing stories in a manner tailored to the areas, matching local talent and knowledge with national expertise and guidance.”