In Florida, Miami Herald reporters Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch documented widespread brutality and abuse within the state’s juvenile justice system. As a direct result of their work, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice revamped its hiring practices and appointed an agency ombudsman to investigate complaints and advocate on behalf of detained youths.
In Iowa, Andie Dominick of The Des Moines Register chronicled in searing editorials how the Iowa Legislature’s privatization of the state’s Medicaid administration put children and public health at risk.
In Nevada, The New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv uncovered the legal maneuvers court-appointed guardians can use to control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and sell their assets for financial gain.
In Indonesia, a team of Associated Press journalists exposed the abusive practices of the fishing industry in Southeast Asia, reporting that led to the release of some 2,000 slaves who were held in cages and forced to work against their will.
These are not the actions of “enemies of the people,” as President Trump so often characterizes the media.
These stories are only a few of the investigations from U.S. newsrooms that have risen to national attention in recent years, stories that changed lives and in some cases saved them. And every day there are thousands of more modest examples—unheralded reporters standing witness at school houses or city council hearings, state capitals or local ball fields, polling places or police stations, doing the vital work on which communities and democracies depend.
Given the threat to democracy and the rise of autocracy around the world, now is the time to support, not decry, legitimate journalism and to reaffirm our commitment to free speech and a free press. The Nieman Foundation stands with its fellows and with all journalists who are working hard—under increasing financial pressure, political attack, and physical threat—to discover the facts and report the truth without fear or favor.
“What ever happened to the free press? What ever happened to honest reporting?” President Trump asked at political rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on August 2.
The free press and honest reporting are right here—at the Miami Herald, The Des Moines Register, The New Yorker, the Associated Press, and at newsrooms large and small around the country—and we are not going anywhere.