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Celebrated Investigative News Site ProPublica Is Expanding To Chicago

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Dec 7, 2016 10:19PM

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The much-lauded investigative newsroom ProPublica, a pioneer in the realm of non-profit journalism, has announced it is expanding to Illinois in the new year.

This means the newsroom, which has been publishing investigative and government accountability journalism since 2008 and won three Pulitzer Prizes in that time, is in the process of hiring a Chicago-based editor. It's also planning a coverage agenda for investigative news pieces on "key issues in Chicago and across the state," according to a news release from the group.

The East Coast-based group cited the journalism industry's ongoing and well-documented business crisis, and how it has decimated local newspaper staffs, as its motivation.

"The collapse of regional and local newspapers, and the drastic cutback of reporting staffs, has left accountability journalism at the state and local levels shrinking and underfunded, weakening democratic governance at a critical moment," the release says.

The effort is being funded in part with seed-funding from the Ford Foundation, which focuses on human welfare issues. The organization plans to hire ten journalists after hiring the Chicago editor, and hopes to expand to other regions in the future. This would give ProPublica one of the larger investigative journalism teams in the Midwest, at a time when newspapers are struggling to fund investigative positions, which require a high degree of skill and time-intensive labor to produce stories.

“Our key priority now is building a team with strong local ties and established reputations within the community to lead this exciting expansion," ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg said in a statement. "We look forward also to working with local publishing partners to bring Illinois readers more high-quality accountability reporting."

“In the nine years since its founding, ProPublica has established itself as highly effective nonprofit newsroom, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur change,” Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s president, said in a statement. “We look forward to leveraging our innovative model in Illinois to make a sustained, meaningful difference across the state.”