December 8, 2017

ProPublica announced the seven newsrooms that will make up its year-long ProPublica Local Reporting Network. 

Those newsrooms include daily newspapers:

— The (Baton Rouge, Louisiana,) Advocate

— Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail 

— Santa Fe New Mexican

— South Bend (Indiana) Tribune

— The (Carbondale, Illinois) Southern Illinoisan

The (Vale, Oregon) Malheur Enterprise, a weekly, and WMFE, Orlando, Florida's public radio station, were also selected. 

"At the Enterprise, we've been working to demonstrate that even small organizations can produce journalism with impact," editor and publisher Les Zaitz told Poynter via email. "Not long ago, the Enterprise was arguably the worst newspaper in Oregon. Now, our community is reacting positively and with encouragement to our steady menu of enterprise and investigative reporting. The partnership with ProPublica allows us to test how small newsrooms with ambitious ideas can find effective help and serve communities better. We're delighted ProPublica recognizes the huge need across the country to rebuild investigative muscle."

That newsroom, by the way, currently has just two reporters, Zaitz said, "and Jayme Fraser will be a welcome addition. Our selection by ProPublica energizes our entire staff — not only reporters, but sales and front office employees — to keep pushing hard to be the essential news source for our community."

According to ProPublica, it will reimburse those newsrooms for the salaries of those reporters, who will work in those newsrooms as well as with ProPublica senior editor Charles Ornstein. ProPublica got 239 applications for the seven spots. You can read more about the selected reporters and their projects here.

“This project was started to give local newsrooms across America needed resources and support to execute investigative journalism that digs deep and holds power to account,” said Ornstein in a news release. “The powerful proposals from our inaugural group of reporters are very much in that spirit, and I look forward to working with them to help bring their stories to fruition over the next year.”

This isn't ProPublica's first project with local news. It announced the creation of ProPublica Illinois a year ago. Early this year, Louise Kiernan became its editor. 

We've also seen other partnerships with local newsrooms this year, including the announcement of Report for America, which seeks to put 1,000 reporters into local newsrooms for one-year assignments in the next five years. The Gazette-Mail is also part of that program's first batch of newsrooms. 

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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