Updates: Staff news, homeschooling trends, PPP in Gulf states

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The homeschooling bump:
IRW’s Sasha Fernandez spent months requesting public records from school systems in the District, Maryland and Virginia to develop a story about the bump in homeschooling through the Washington metro area. The story was co-published earlier this week with WAMU/DCist.

The Accountability Project feeds other reporting:
The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting recently published a story showing that rural hospitals, rural utilities and even Gulf Coast fishermen have all benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program.

empty docks

The story by Llewellyn Jones said the program “was particularly successful in Mississippi with over $4.1 billion approved so far, according to SBA data collected from lenders. Mississippi saved jobs with the least amount of money on average. It also ranks in the Top 10 for the number of loans handed out relative to the number of small businesses in the state, and there’s been little evidence of fraud or waste.” The story was reported using data from IRW’s Accountability Project,

Jennifer LaFleur, data journalist-in-residence at the School of Communication and data editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, is leaving to join the Center for Public Integrity as a senior editor. We will miss Jennifer’s insights, editing talents and data-journalism skills, which have enabled the journalism division to expand course offerings and IRW to develop new reporting partnerships over the last four years. Her work was instrumental in our Toxic Zones series this past year with NBC News and E&E News, and she has contributed as an editor across many stories with our publishing partners, including FRONTLINE and WAMU-FM.

Jennifer LaFleur
Jennifer LaFleur

Fortunately, Jennifer has agreed to teach as an adjunct in the coming academic year. And she will continue to oversee and grow IRW’s Accountability Project, with CPI as a new partner. Jennifer managed the project, which recently surpassed 1.4 billion records, thanks to the efforts of a great team of developers, designers and data fellows and students.