ProPublica

6 posts
Unproven aggression detectors, more surveillance

In some public places, such as schools and hospitals, microphones installed with software listen for noise that sounds like aggression. The systems alert the authorities. It sounds useful, but in practice, the detection algorithms might not be ready yet. For ProPublica, Jack Gillum and Jeff Kao did some testing: Yet ProPublica’s analysis, as well as the experiences of some U.S. schools and hospitals that have used Sound Intelligence’s aggression detector,...

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Millions of dollars in tax breaks — because of a mapping error

A small discrepancy in a couple of shapefiles led to a misclassification of land. Wealthy investors are taking advantage. For ProPublica, Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliott: They have President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul law to thank. The new law has a provision meant to spur investment into underdeveloped areas, called “opportunity zones.” The idea is to grant lucrative tax breaks to encourage new investment in poor areas around the...

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Search through 3m nonprofit tax records

ProPublica just released a search tool for nonprofit tax records: The possibilities are nearly limitless. You can search for the names or addresses of independent contractors that made more than $100,000 from a nonprofit, you can search for addresses, keywords in mission statements or descriptions of accomplishments. You can even use advanced search operators, so for instance you can find any filing that mentions either “The New York Times,” “nytimes”...

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Where the IRS most likely audits

Using estimates from a study on regional bias in tax audits, ProPublica mapped the likelihood of getting audited by the IRS. They then turn their attention to Humphreys County, Mississippi: In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to...

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Inflated counts for cleared rape cases

Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica look into rape cases in the U.S. and law enforcement’s use of exceptional clearance. The designation allows police to clear cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control. Experts say it’s supposed to be used sparingly. Culled data from various police departments shows the designation is...

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Education disparities

There are many racial disparities in education. ProPublica shows estimates for the gaps: Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts. Using white students as the baseline, compare opportunity,...

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Scale model shows how levees increase flooding

Levees are intended to prevent flooding in the areas they are built, but they change the direction and speed of flowing water, which can cause unintended flooding in areas upstream. ProPublica and Reveal collaborated with the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory to build a scale model to show how this can happen. An interactive graphic lets you shift flow rate up and down to see the changes yourself. The video coupled...

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$16.1m in political and taxpayer spending at Trump properties

ProPublica compiled spending data from a wide range of sources to calculate the total, which is still an undercount: The vast majority of the money — at least $13.5 million, or more than 84 percent of what we tracked — was spent by Trump’s presidential campaign (including on Tag Air, the entity that operates Trump’s personal airplane). Republican Senate and House political committees and campaigns have shelled out at least...

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Check if your school district or college was investigated for civil rights violations

The U.S. Department of Education constantly investigates school districts and colleges for civil rights violations. Lena Groeger and Annie Waldman for ProPublica made the data more accessible, providing the status of past, present, and pending investigations. Search for the place of interest, and you get a calendar and list view of all the cases on record. Tags: civil rights, education, ProPublica

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Waiting Game, through the steps of asylum seekers

Sisi Wei for ProPublica and Nick Fortugno of Playmatics made a game to provide a feeling of what it’s like for someone who needs escape from their home. Based on the real case files of five asylum seekers from five countries and interviews with the medical and legal professionals who evaluate and represent them, The Waiting Game is an experimental news game that lets you walk in the shoes of...

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