Why a Struggling Rust Belt City Pinned Its Revival on a Self-Chilling Beverage Can

“Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio, home of Chill-Can, the self-chilling beverage container you’ve probably never heard of. Officials have gambled millions of dollars and demolished a neighborhood for the product. Not one job has been created yet.”

Source: ProPublica
Published: May 11, 2020
Length: 22 minutes (5,692 words)

Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines

“Marine commanders did not act on dozens of pleas for additional manpower, machinery and time. When a training exercise ended in death, leadership blamed the very men they had neglected.”

Source: ProPublica
Published: Dec 30, 2019
Length: 37 minutes (9,343 words)

Collision Course

Nobody on the 8,300 ton destroyer USS John S. McCain — not even the captain — really understood how to use the new touch-screen steering system the navy installed in a bid to reduce the number of sailors required to safely guide the ship. Fraught with “false alarms” and problems, engineers called the system, which regularly encountered “multiple and cascading failures,” unstable. Then, the navy blamed Captain Sanchez and the sailors steering the ship for the accident in which 10 sailors died.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Dec 20, 2019
Length: 26 minutes (6,611 words)

‘I Will Never Let Boeing Forget Her’

In designing the 737 MAX, Boeing altered the plane’s automatic response in the event of a faulty angle-of-attack sensor, failed to include the change in the airplane’s operating manual, and then promptly blamed foreign pilots when two separate crashes involving the model took 347 lives.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Nov 11, 2019
Length: 31 minutes (7,838 words)

The Wrong Goodbye

On July 29th, 2018, the family of Frederick Williams said a tearful goodbye as a man was taken off life support following a suspected drug overdose at St. Barnabas, a facility run by Hospice of New York. It wasn’t until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, as part of routine procedures, ran fingerprint tests and discovered a grave error.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Oct 31, 2019
Length: 30 minutes (7,659 words)

The Ransomeware Superhero of Normal, Illinois

By day cancer survivor Michael Gillespie — an unassuming man who lives in Normal, Illinois, along with eight cats and his wife — works at a little computer repair shop called Nerds on Call. By night he’s a ransomeware-busting superhero to scores of people whose computers have been taken over by bad guys trying to exploit their precious documents, data, and photos for money.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Oct 28, 2019
Length: 17 minutes (4,431 words)

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

“Under the terms of an agreement with the federal government, Intuit and other commercial tax prep companies promised to provide free online filing to tens of millions of lower-income taxpayers. In exchange, the IRS pledged not to create a government-run system. Since Free File’s launch, Intuit has done everything it could to limit the program’s reach while making sure the government stuck to its end of the deal.”

Source: ProPublica
Published: Oct 17, 2019
Length: 27 minutes (6,848 words)

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested

The judge has no legal background. The lawyer gets a cut of any collections. And the people of Coffeyville end up buried in debt or in jail or both, just for trying to go to the doctor.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Oct 16, 2019
Length: 22 minutes (5,575 words)

These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills

It’s not only cruel, it draws into question what incarceration is for.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Sep 30, 2019
Length: 17 minutes (4,438 words)

Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.

A deeply upsetting object lesson in how the arcane details of inheritance and property law are used to strip black Americans of their land.

Source: ProPublica
Published: Jul 15, 2019
Length: 30 minutes (7,602 words)