CINCINNATI — It began from a late-night text message with a trusted source's tip.
Seven months later, after more than 100 interviews and scouring thousands of pages of documents, a small
The report Monday included Rep. Dan Johnson's links to arson cases, repeated alcohol violations in his church and the detailed story of a woman who said the pastor sexually assaulted her when she was 17. The Republican legislator elected in 2016 sharply denied the allegations on Tuesday from his Heart of Fire church's pulpit, then fatally shot himself the next day in a secluded area.
The exhaustive expose by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting also spotlighted the increasing role of such
"Many newsrooms today are facing difficult choices," said Brendan McCarthy, a veteran newspaper and TV reporter who is the Kentucky
"They're doing stories that some newspapers just can't do any more," said David Thompson, who is executive director of the Kentucky Press Association . "They are filling a void there."
New York-based ProPublica has already won four Pulitzer Prizes in the less than 10 years since it was founded as a
Among the scores of other
Others include the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism , which uncovered unsafe drinking water issues, and North Carolina-based The War Horse , which focuses on military and veterans issues and reported on sexual harassment in the Marine Corps.
The organizations usually rely heavily on donations.
"The accountability and investigative function of journalism is essential for our democracy and has been under-resourced for many years," Kathy Im, director of journalism and media at the MacArthur Foundation, said in a statement promoting a
ProPublica and other recently formed reporting groups often collaborate with longtime mainstream news outlets including The Associated Press. The global organization structured as a not-for-profit has sought to expand its reporting through partnerships, such as efforts with the
Louisville Public Media, a National Public Radio member with news, information and music stations, launched the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting in 2013. It has grown from three full-time investigative journalists to five.
Louisville Public Media President Michael Skoler said the story Monday brought an outpouring of support, including a wave of new donations.
"Many, many people are calling (saying) this is the type of reporting that we need and want," Skoler said.
After Johnson's suicide, everyone at the
But, he added, there is "pride about the quality of our work."
On Thursday, the
All five parts of the story are on the
Associated Press writer Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky, and AP News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
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Dan Sewell, The Associated Press