The nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica announced today that it has selected the Anchorage Daily News for an expansion of its local reporting network, bringing additional resources to the state’s largest newspaper to focus on a yet-to-be-announced topic starting in 2019.
ADN’s special projects editor Kyle Hopkins will take the lead responsibilities under the arrangement, but the effort will extend into the entire newsroom. His salary will be covered by ProPublica for one year, according to the organization’s announcement.
The agreement extends beyond just Hopkins’ salary to opportunities to collaborate with ProPublica’s editors and other resources, which include its impressive efforts when it comes to data-driven journalism and reporting.
ProPublica said the topics to be covered by the seven selected local outlets “will include racial segregation, correctional facilities, emergency response, environmental regulation, profiteering and higher education,” but there’s no word yet on what the ADN will be covering.
“I can’t talk about the specifics of the project or our proposal at the moment,” Hopkins told The Midnight Sun. “The one thing I would note is that while ProPublica will be covering my salary, our proposal was for a newsroom-wide effort. So it’s a team project rather than an individual thing. I’m excited. Couldn’t think of a better partner.”
ProPublica has already won the Pulitzer Prize four times, including the first ever Pulitzer awarded to an online news source in 2010 when it investigated the decisions made at a hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
It’s since established itself as a pillar of investigative and data-driven journalism with high-profile reports ranging from tracking hate crimes and investigating political dark money to shining a light on the breakdowns in maternal care and preventable deaths.
Why it matters
ProPublica is a real heavy-hitter when it comes to investigative journalism both through the good ol’ traditional means of reporting as well as using data and research to tell broader, often-invisible stories. Their arrival in Alaska through the collaboration with the Anchorage Daily News should mean big things for Alaska on any range of possible topics including crime, opioid abuse, climate change and many other topics.
ProPublica-backed investigations have led to changes in laws, resignations and electoral defeat.
It’s the kind of journalism that takes the sort of time, effort and money that many newsrooms simply can’t afford to spare.
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