ProPublica Illinois hires Tribune investigative reporters

ProPublica Illinois

Two of the Chicago Tribune’s premier investigative reporters were among the first journalists to be hired Monday by ProPublica Illinois, the independent, nonprofit investigative news startup.

Jodi S. Cohen, an investigative reporter and editor and former higher education reporter during her 14 years at the Tribune, and Jason Grotto, an investigative reporter at the Tribune for 10 years, have joined ProPublica’s Chicago-based newsroom as reporters. Both have won numerous regional and national awards.

ProPublica Illinois also announced the hiring Monday of David Eads, an editor and software developer for NPR Visuals, as a news applications developer. Eads is co-founder of the Invisible Institute, the nonprofit citizens investigative journalism project on Chicago’s South Side. Earlier he worked for the Tribune’s news apps team.

“We’re off to a great start in building the ProPublica Illinois team with these stellar journalists,” Louise Kiernan, ProPublica Illinois editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “Their formidable skills in data-driven accountability journalism, strong community roots in Illinois, and track records of real-world impact make them exciting additions to our newsroom. We look forward to announcing more hires soon.”

Kiernan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for the Tribune, was named editor-in-chief in February. She most recently was an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Illinois will mark the first regional publishing venture for ProPublica, the nonprofit producer of investigative journalism, founded in New York in 2007. ProPublica Illinois will publish its stories online and partner with other news organizations on a nonexclusive basis.

When fully staffed later this year, it is expected to have about 10 news employees.