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“News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising. The power is to set the agenda. What we print and what we don’t print matter a lot." — Katharine Graham

The percentage drop in the number of reporters, editors, photographers and other newsrooms employees working in the U.S. from 2004 to 2017, according to Pew Research Center. Read the AP's David Bauder and David A. Lieb on the newspaper closure crisis.


Sounding the alarm over water quality
In late January, Wright's coverage of the Martin County water crisis was awarded first place for ongoing/extended coverage by the Kentucky Press Association Excellence Award. According to the judges, "The ongoing coverage of a local water crisis provided crucial information for readers and held the public agency to account for the chaos at every turn."

Wright has been reporting about water in eastern Kentucky for more than a year now; recently, he wrote that Kentucky state regulators recently opened an investigation into a dozen water utilities that lose more than one-third of their water due to poor-quality infrastructure. "Customers of districts with high water loss rates have reported both quality and reliability problems, with residents in some districts reporting going more than a week without running water," Wright wrote.
'What happens in this house stays in this house'
Mississippi Today recently published critical reporting from corps member Eric J. Shelton on domestic violence in the African-American community, a story that received high praise from editors and readers alike. Shelton's intimate portraits and powerful interviews shed light on the CDC's finding that black women are disproportionately murdered by domestic partners--four in 10 black women say they've experienced violence from an intimate partner.

Eve Williams (above, in a portrait by Shelton) survived a brutal attack by her husband who left her for dead. The abuse, she told Shelton, began five years into their marriage.  "I was in shock," she told Shelton. "I didn’t talk about it for two years, nobody knew about it. I was mad at myself for years after that because I asked myself, ‘Why didn’t I just leave?’ If I would have left then, I wouldn’t have almost lost my life years later.”

What the border wall means for the lands of the southwest
Could President Trump's proposed border wall disrupt flood plains and wildlife along the U.S.-Mexico border? Environmentalists have taken the issue to court, reported corps member Mallory Falk of KRWG. Her latest story for NPR's Morning Edition explained why environmentalists are suing to stop the Department of Homeland Security from waiving environmental laws to speed up the wall construction process. "All sorts of animals have evolved for millennia untold to migrate freely through the desert," environmentalist Laiken Jordahl told Falk. "And now we have this really landscape-scale obstruction that will stop all species in their tracks."
Today we're announcing seven newsrooms in the Intermountain West who will be part of a special collaboration with Solution Journalism Network! Click here to find out where we're putting corps members to report on under-covered issues and communities.
Library lovers tell city hall: shhhhhhhh
When a city council member in Victoria, Texas, suggested the local library should require patrons to show a photo ID and give up their credit and debit card information, residents rallied in opposition before any proposal could hit the table. In a recent On The Ground essay, corps member Ciara McCarthy of the Victoria Advocate reflects what access to public places like libraries means to residents:
 ...hearing about (Naomi) Flonnory’s faith in the public library system was a powerful display of trust, and a rare opportunity to witness residents defending a service. It was also a rare moment where City Hall coverage felt a little hopeful, with residents describing how government worked for them, instead of how it failed them.
Livelihoods lost to gentrification
Corps member and Sun-Times reporter Carlos Ballesteros continues to report on and personalize the effects of gentrification in Chicago  — this time in "Death of a Pilson gift shop." For almost 20 years Hermalinda Raygoza ran Lili's Gift Shop in a building that housed immigrant families and businesses. Recently, the property owners decided to tear down the aging structure in order to build a new retail and residential building.

“For the first two nights I could hardly sleep knowing I wouldn’t be opening the store in the morning,” Raygoza told Ballesteros.

The building is close to a transit stop, and while transit-oriented developments are often advertised as boons to a neighborhood economy, privately financed transit-oriented residential buildings with up to nine units are exempt from Chicago's affordable housing requirements. "It’s a familiar story in Pilsen," Ballesteros writes. "As property values in the neighborhood skyrocket, developers are razing instead of fixing old buildings in the pursuit of new tenants with deeper pockets."
Rebuilding a student news org from the ground up

Corps member and Dallas Morning News reporter Obed Manuel is teaching a new generation of journalists at his alma mater Skyline High School, where he helped students re-launch the formerly cut school paper. Manuel, who used to write op-eds for the publication, spent the fall teaching journalism to students once a week. Then this winter, the students launched The Skyline Tribune has published more than 40 articles. These high school reporters have covered stories ranging from the mock trial team's road to the state championship to an interview with an alum football player who has caught the eye of NFL scouts. Read more about Manuel's service project in this August 2018 piece from Poynter. 

Corps Member Q&A
Alexandra Watts of Mississippi Public Broadcasting
How does a reporter from Arizona get to know the Mississippi Delta? In our latest Corps Member Q&A, Alexandra Watts of Mississippi Public Broadcasting explains how she's learned about the region straight from members of the community: "I’m not giving a voice to the voiceless, because the 'voiceless' have a voice. I’m here to listen."
Work for Report for America! We're looking to fill multiple director-level positions, click here to learn more


The health care crisis that's causing lost limbs
An investigation from Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer exposed how the Rio Grande Valley's diabetes crisis has led to a shocking rate of amputations. Researchers estimate nearly 30 percent of adults there are diabetic, and the rate of diabetic amputation in 2015 was about 50 percent higher than the statewide average. The region is among the poorest the country, and a lack of preventive and routine health care can lead to infections that require amputations. “We’re literally cutting people’s limbs off, when they could just be taking medication," UTHealth project manager Lisa Mitchell-Bennett told Novack. "It’s kind of crazy in a developed country.”

Uncovering violence against students
A Philadelphia Inquirer investigation uncovered decades of violence against students at Glen Mills School, the oldest reform school in the U.S. that houses court-ordered boys. Reporter Lisa Gartner revealed that violence like punching, choking and being thrown into doors is “an everyday occurrence and an open secret." Since the initial story, more than 80 boys are slated to be removed from the school, and Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the state agency that oversees the school to put together a dossier of complaints. The school’s executive director is taking a leave of absence and the president of the board of managers has resigned — the school also assembled a task force to address reports of misconduct.
Sobriety programs under scrutiny 
In Oklahoma City, the Firstep nonprofit program pledges to help addicts get sober in exchange for working on a demolition crew. But a joint investigation from Brianna Bailey of The Frontier and Joe Wertz of StateImpact Oklahoma says that Firstep took or attempted to take disability payments from clients injured on the job. 

Dustin Misener, pictured above in a photo by Bailey, sprained his ankle the first day on the job. "Before Misener left, a Firstep staff member drove him to the bank to cash his disability check and took 95 percent of the money — all but $8," the report says. Such a move could violate state law, and federal labor regulators are already investigating the nonprofit for possible deduction violations.

The story stemmed from Reveal's Rehab Reporting Network, a database of news tips about drug rehab programs that offer treatment in exchange for participants' full-time work. Reveal says "some of these programs are little more than work camps for private industry."
Uncovering a pattern of disappearing defendants
Shane Dixon Kavanaugh of The Oregonian/OregonLive uncovered multiple cases of Saudi Arabian students charged with crimes in the United States who appear to vanish before their trial or completing their sentences. The investigative series began with the Portland case of a student accused of manslaughter who federal agents believed may have escaped back to his home country with the aid of the Saudi government. As of mid-February, The Oregonian/OregonLive found cases in at least eight different states and Canada where Saudi students fled the U.S. after being charged with serious crimes.

Following the reporting, federal authorities launched a multi-agency investigation. U.S. Sens Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sought answers from federal agencies and introduced legislation that would begin tracking foreign nationals who flee the United States while facing criminal charges. The news organization published a Q&A to help catch up readers and answer their questions.

Share your experiences

The Committee to Protect Journalists Women's Safety Survey is seeking information on threats toward women and gender noncomforming journalists. Answers will inform efforts to improve safety tools and resources. The survey is open through March 31.
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