With the last Republican and Democratic debates both held in Michigan (Detroit and Flint, respectively), the Flint water crisis continues to command the national stage. But long before the public health emergency became a presidential campaign issue, Curt Guyette, an investigative journalist for the ACLU of Michigan, was one of the first people to help prove that the city’s drinking water was poisoned.
In his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant examines the circumstances that give rise to truly original thinkers and groundbreaking ideas. Throughout Originals, the Wharton School of Business professor shares stories from the fields of business, politics and sports, and his chapter exploring the psychology of speaking truth to power – whether it be federal whistleblowers, or a middle-level employee with an innovative idea – holds several lessons for investigative journalists and the people on which they report. For this week’s podcast, ProPublica reporter David Epstein talks with Grant about takeaways from the book.
When the Academy Award for Best Picture is called this Sunday night, the biggest prize may well go to The Big Short. Based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book about the collapse of the housing and credit bubble in 2008, the film (also nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing and Adapted Screenplay) has been lauded for deftly explaining the financial crisis in an entertaining two hours.
World tennis was stunned last month by allegations of widespread match-fixing, as well as the utter failure of the game’s authorities to deal with the underhanded practice. In a blockbuster investigation called The Tennis Racket, by BuzzFeed data reporter John Templon and BuzzFeed UK investigations editor Heidi Blake, the journalists drew on evidence from leaked files showing that 16 tennis players (who at some point have been ranked in the top 50) have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit for suspicions they had thrown matches or arranged for their opponent to lose.
As the principal designer at the software company Adobe, a former digital design director for The New York Times and the writer behind the popular design blog Subtraction, Khoi Vinh knows more than just about anybody on the art and business of design.
After a Boston priest was convicted of sexually abusing more than 100 children, a team of Boston Globe reporters published an investigation that shocked the city. The Globe’s investigative unit, known as the “Spotlight” team, revealed in 2002 that Catholic Church leaders knew about child abuse by dozens of priests for decades and covered it up, reassigning the abusers to new parishes while paying millions in settlements to a trail of victims. The new film Spotlight, in theaters on Nov. 6, chronicles the Pulitzer-winning investigation that exposed the scandal.
Almost one year ago today, The New Yorker published the story of a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. Accused of stealing a backpack in 2010 at the age of 16, he was held on Rikers for more than 1,000 days waiting for a trial that never happened. His brutal detention included, among other abuses, two years in solitary confinement and beatings by officers and inmates. This tragedy of criminal justice was further compounded last June when, two years after his case was dismissed for lack of evidence, Browder, 22, committed suicide.
Yelp may be best known for its restaurant and nightclub reviews, but the site’s seeds were actually planted when CEO Jeremy Stoppelman had trouble finding recommendations for a local doctor. Health providers now account for a rapidly growing six percent of Yelp’s reviewed businesses. Thanks to a new partnership with ProPublica, the site’s star ratings system is being supplemented with objective healthcare data.