Chicago politicians will have one more reason to look over their shoulders in 2017.
The city’s history of political corruption and high crime rates have long made it fertile territory for investigative reporting. Next year, investigative nonprofit ProPublica plans to capitalize on that opportunity by colonizing the city with its first regional expansion.
ProPublica plans to open the expansion in 2017 and is recruiting an experienced, Chicago-based editor to lead the effort, according to a press release from the nonprofit.
ProPublica’s Illinois operation comes in response to diminished reporting strength in newsrooms across the United States, according to the release:
With this state-based expansion, ProPublica seeks to further address the business crisis of the press. The collapse of regional and local newspapers, and the drastic cutback of reporting staffs, has left accountability journalism at the state and local levels shrinking and underfunded, weakening democratic governance at a critical moment.
The expansion is being backed by the Ford Foundation, according to the release. By the time it’s up and running, ProPublica Illinois will hire a staff of about 10 journalists.
Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics. He’s also reported for USA TODAY College and The Sacramento Bee, and he was editor in chief of The Orion, Chico State’s student-run newspaper. An Air Force brat who grew up around Northern California, he’s still adjusting to the Florida sunshine.