ProPublica invites AAJA members to a webinar on Thursday, October 3 at 11am PT/2pm ET to learn more about ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network and how to craft a strong proposal.
ProPublica will pay a reporter’s salary for a year (up to $75,000) plus an allowance for benefits for selected news organization so they can pursue an accountability journalism project vital to their community. ProPublica will co-publish the projects and provide support, including editing, data analysis, research, community engagement and design.
ProPublica is looking to help news organizations tell important stories that they otherwise wouldn’t undertake—accountability stories that expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust. The program is open to large and small newsrooms, print and online ones, radio and TV. Freelancers can apply too, but need to first find a news organization willing to publish the work they produce. ProPublica is looking for a diverse pool of applicants—involving a diversity of topics, regions of the country represented and reporters with diverse backgrounds.
ProPublica Deputy Managing Editor Charles Ornstein will hold a webinar for AAJA to discuss the network and take your questions. He will be joined by Beena Raghavendran, an engagement reporter with the network who is the new leader of Yung AAJA. Applications for local accountability projects open Oct. 7 and close Oct. 27.
Do you have any early-stage ideas that would benefit from working with us? We’d love to hear from you. We’re also willing to give early feedback on ideas before the application deadline.
Charles Ornstein is a deputy managing editor at ProPublica, overseeing the Local Reporting Network, which works with local news organizations to produce accountability journalism on issues of importance to their communities. From 2008 to 2017, he was a senior reporter covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry. He then worked as a senior editor.
Prior to joining ProPublica, he was a member of the metro investigative projects team at the Los Angeles Times. In 2004, he and Tracy Weber were lead authors on a series on Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a troubled hospital in South Los Angeles. The articles won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service.
In 2009, he and Weber worked on a series of stories that detailed serious failures in oversight by the California Board of Registered Nursing and nursing boards around the country. The work was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
He previously worked at the Dallas Morning News, where he covered health care on the business desk and worked in the Washington bureau. Ornstein is a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and an adjunct journalism professor at Columbia University. Ornstein is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Beena Raghavendran is an engagement reporter for ProPublica's Local Reporting Network, an initiative to support local investigative journalism in U.S. newsrooms. Her work includes crowd-powered reporting in communities across the country, as well as running events, questionnaires and consulting with local newsrooms on how to best use engagement tools in their coverage areas. Prior to ProPublica, Beena was an education reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where she covered Minneapolis city schools and suburban education. She's been involved with AAJA through her whole journalism career — she started as a member of the VOICES student project in 2015, served a stint as Minnesota chapter president and now serves as director of Yung AAJA, AAJA's young professionals network. She's a graduate of the University of Maryland's journalism school.