ProPublica has harnessed the power of digital media to collect and expose bombshell evidence of public corruption, miscarriages of justice and imminent threats to public safety. Our stories put front and center audio, video and photographic evidence of wrongdoing, deepened audience understanding with interactive storytelling and gave readers a way to dig for proof of the hidden injustices impacting their own lives.
Our investigation into Clarence Thomas drew millions of readers, who combed through a story rife with photographic evidence that a Supreme Court justice had accepted luxury trips from a Republican megadonor for two decades without disclosing them.
We published jaw-dropping audio of UnitedHealthcare officials laughing at the denial of care for a man with a debilitating medical condition. But we didn’t stop there. We created a detailed guide empowering readers to request their own files. “This is incredible advice,” one lawyer wrote. “Too many people (nearly all) try to appeal claim denials without first requesting a complete copy of their claim file, and then the door is slammed when the appeal is denied. It’s all about getting a complete claim file.” Of course, we invited them to send records our way.
We partnered with Gray Television/InvestigateTV to capture harrowing images of Indiana children climbing under and crawling over trains that routinely block their paths to school, allowing railroad and government officials no room to ignore a crisis unfolding in communities across America. We showcased the gripping footage in a custom top as well as on Instagram and TikTok. We invited readers to reach out with their own experiences with blocked crossings. Reporters are combing through hundreds of tips, including more visual evidence of danger.
We named and shamed museums and academic institutions for holding onto the ill-gotten remains of more than 100,000 Native Americans, despite a law requiring them to be returned to their tribes. The core of the reporting is a searchable news app. It identifies where the remains were taken from, where they are held, the percentage that have been made available for repatriation, the tribes that have been notified, and other information allowing comparisons of institutions’ compliance with the law.
We exposed a secret new form of junk science that uses what people say when they call 911 to wrongfully convict them of crimes. Too long of a pause, a phrase of politeness during a call, authorities believed, could reveal a killer. Our first piece in the series was the searing narrative of a woman blamed for killing her own baby. We allowed readers to dig into the case against her with an interactive audio guide, annotating the dubious evidence of guilt. We did the same for other cases in a story that documented the systemic spread of the method. Words of Conviction won national awards including the Polk.
We repackaged the work across platforms to serve different audiences.