ProPublica’s Local Journalism

Soros-Funded ProPublica to Enters Local Journalism Market

By Aly Nielsen

A George Soros-funded nonprofit is seeking to help fill the local journalism void, by bringing more liberal journalism to town. Starting with Illinois.

Nonprofit outlet ProPublica announced a new “Local Reporting Network” initiative to fund up to six journalists for one year in cities with populations below 1 million, starting in January, 2018. ProPublica has received millions of dollars from Soros, the Knight Foundation and others. It’s founding grant came from liberal Herbert Sander, who also funded the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

On Oct. 5, 2017, ProPublica asked interested newsrooms to submit an in-depth project proposal that fits within ProPublica’s aim “to spur change through stories with moral force.”

The Local Reporting Network is just the latest local journalism project launched by ProPublica. Earlier in 2017, the liberal nonprofit launched ProPublica Illinois, “an independent, nonprofit newsroom” which intends to bring ProPublica’s “collaborative model” to the state level.

Although the reporters chosen for the Local Reporting Network stay with their local newsrooms, ProPublica made clear it would provide “extensive guidance and support” to the project. That, coupled with ProPublica’s liberal donors and the fact that “entries will be judged by ProPublica editors” means ProPublica has ample opportunity to insert its own liberal bias.

After all, ProPublica launched the “Documenting Hate” project in January 2017 to “build authoritative data on hate crimes and bias incidents.” Partners included the anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center, which targeted the right through its “Hate Map,” Univision and Buzzfeed. None of the 21 partners were conservative.

ProPublica president Richard Tofel also defended Buzzfeed on Twitter for releasing an unverified Russian dossier in January, 2017 that attacked President Donald Trump. CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn called the dossier gossip and said“throwing out raw information just to see what sticks is not journalism.”

When the IRS targeted conservative groups in 2012, ProPublica helped by releasing reports against more than 14 conservative groups like Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the Republican Jewish Coalition. Only one liberal group was targeted.

The Local Reporting Network project was funded by a three-year, $3 million grant, the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) stated on Oct. 5, 2017. Neither ProPublica nor CJR disclosed where the donation came from. However ProPublica has received millions from left-wing donors like billionaire George Soros, the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.

Though ProPublica did not list which editors would be judging entries, many ProPublica editors are linked to other liberal media outlets and donors.

Senior Editors Daniel Golden and Lawrence Roberts were both former Bloomberg editors. During the 2016 campaign, the Bloomberg media empire repeatedly pushed liberal policies like gun control, destroying the coal industry and funding abortion.

ProPublica research editor Derek Kravitz meanwhile was a postgraduate research scholar at the Soros-funded Columbia University, and currently “teaches investigative reporting at Columbia’s Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism,” according to his bio.

Other editors including Tracy Weber and Robin Fields formerly worked for or with the Los Angeles Times which launched an ongoing anti-fossil fuel attack on Exxon Mobil in 2015. The LATimes reporting was funded by Soros, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

ProPublica stated Klein College of Media and Communication dean David Boardman would also “advise” those picking the winning entries. Boardman is closely connected to several Soros-funded organizations.

He is chair of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which received $37,300 from Soros. He is also a board member for Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIG) and Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Soros gave FIG $400,000 in the early 2000s and $more than $49,000 to OCCRP in 2013. And Boardman is president and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors which got $130,000 from Soros in 2012.