Posted: February 2, 2011 by braillebone in #3 Propublica

It’s undoubtedly uncomfortable to read articles like Inept Nurses Free to Work in New Locales, but it’s investigative pieces like this that bellow ProPublica’s purpose: what we don’t know does hurt us.

It may be fair to assert that pieces uncovering horrible truths concealed for any length of time make readers cynical, but more importantly, they make readers aware.

It’s terrifying to think one might have to be cautious about their caregiver at a hospital or weary of leaving children with a licensed nurse; what reason might anyone have to doubt Orphia Wilson, a home health nurse,  could be responsible for at least two child deaths? Perhaps no reason, if the matter was never to be investigated by an organization such as ProPublica. But she was, and has lost her registered nursing license although she has been issued new ones in different states because of poor regulation.

This investigation was extensive, recovering data from various reports and records spanning several states. Under the continually decreasing budgets of general newsrooms, deep-digging pieces such as this Los Angeles Times collaboration simply don’t get done. And if they do, they’re not of the same caliber because the resources aren’t available.

ProPublica is a non-profit, fully funded organization not driven by any commercial agendas that might impede journalistic integrity or freedom to do controversial and hard-hitting stories. As a result, stories like Inept Nurses Free to Work in New Locales uncover alarming information about situations and people most of us would have otherwise assumed honest and safe. The public’s level of awareness is increased, and they are better equipped to know and understand a suspect situation when it presents itself.

The free and easily accessible investigative reports are available online on the ProPublica website, and its contributors specialize in detailed, investigative research and storytelling. This is public service if I ever saw it.

ProPublica’s raison d’etre is to shed light on the tough stories everyone else fears to touch or don’t have the time or resources to do justice for. This is what makes it a fascinating and increasingly necessary publication. If lowered budgets compromise journalists’ ability to do long-form, well-researched investigative pieces, vital stories don’t get told.

While a publication such as the Los Angeles Times do collaborate with ProPublica, which benefits ProPublica’s circulation and readership, the relationship also benefits the larger publications because of added potent researchers and other resources like reporters and overall skills from the field.

The more sound and solid the journalism, the wider circulation of the articles, which in turn does an even greater justice to society in providing them with the highest standard of in-depth news available.


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