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Nearly 50 years of impact

Here are some examples of the work that has set The Reporter apart over the years:

Covid Tracker
As Black and Latino people began testing positive for Coronavirus and dying at significantly higher rates than white people in Chicago and around the state, the Reporter launched the bilingual Covid tracking project this year and more than 1 million people, including the New York Times, have turned to the data as a vital source of information about the virus’ toll on people of color.

Exposing the magnitude of police misconduct
Since 2016, the Reporter has overseen an interactive database to track police officers behind city spending on legal settlements over allegations of civil rights abuses. In just more than a decade the city paid more than half a billion dollars, much of it borrowed the Reporter found, adding to the city’s mounting debt while eroding confidence in law enforcement.

Holding banks accountable for the foreclosure crisis
When the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $335 million settlement–the first of its kind related to the foreclosure crisis–in 2011 the Reporter was credited for spurring the lawsuit with an investigation that showed lenders steered African-American and Latino borrowers into subprime, predatory loans at higher rates than white borrowers.

Getting better care for Black people in nursing homes
Nursing home patients in Black neighborhoods have better nursing care today because of legislative reform spurred by a 2009 Reporter investigation that found more than half of all majority-black nursing homes in Chicago received the worst possible rating, while only 11 percent of majority-white homes shared the same fate.

Keeping Black and Latino children out of adult felony courts
Children, as young as 15 years old, are no longer automatically transferred to adult felony court over charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or public housing following a Reporter investigation that showed 99 percent of teens charged under the law were African American or Latino. A 2005 legislative reform ended the practice and teens were rerouted to the juvenile courts.

Changing the way Chicago police operate
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Chicago police after the Reporter exposed a spike in disorderly conduct arrests –they were up 41.6 percent in the span of one year, from 8,724 in 1980 to 12,358 in 1981–through sweeps that occurred almost exclusively in majority Black and Latino police districts.

Creating equity in Chicago’s parks
A 1978 data analysis by the Reporter showed that parks in Chicago’s white wards got more funding, better facilities and programs than those in predominantly Black and Latino wards. That spurred the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the Chicago Park District, which settled by agreeing to boost staffing and spend most of $10 million a year for five years in capital funds to improve programs and facilities at parks in minority wards. 

Bringing emergency services to Black and Latino neighborhoods A Reporter investigation in March 1978 revealed that Chicago Fire Department ambulances in Black and Latino neighborhoods weren’t fully equipped with telemetry devices, which include a cardiac monitor and two-way radio, allowing paramedics to communicate vital medical information to emergency room doctors while en route to the hospital. The story was based on a tip from a paramedic, after a February1978 investigation reported that the department cut its firefighting force by 10 percent, although it had the highest fire death rate among major cities.

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