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ProPublica launches ‘matchmaker’ to pair case studies with local journalists

Non-profit US investigative organisation ProPublica has got so many ‘loan modification’ case studies it is now playing matchmaker, linking contacts and stories with local journalists from other publications and broadcasters as part of its reporter network project.

Numerous American homeowners have had problems obtaining ‘loan modifications’, a national programme with some major flaws.

More than three million people are eligible and more than one million might be currently involved in the loan modification process, ProPublica’s Mike Webb said, explaining the scale and level of interest.

“We’re doing this because more than 800 homeowners have shared their stories with us about the numerous problems they’ve had in obtaining a modification,” he said.

“We’ve shared many of their stories in our reports, but there are just too many to publish.  So we’re hoping local reporters can talk to the homeowners and local banks to help your readers understand how the program works (or doesn’t work).”

Very quickly, ProPublica had 40 reporters sign up to be be paired. “It’s a continuation of our sharing approach, like the reporting recipe, and stimulus data sets,” said Webb.

“We know that news organisations don’t give up their sources to their competitors, but we’re a different kind of publication,” say reporters Amanda Michel and Paul Kiel, on their blog.

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