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A decade in, KyCIR keeps focus on accountability, impact and trust

KyCIR Team Photo
J. Tyler Franklin
KyCIR team members (from left to right) Jacob Ryan, Jasmine Demers, Lily Burris, R.G. Dunlop and Jared Bennett

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting isn’t slowing down after 10 years of digging into systemic inequities, government corruption, injustice and harm.

When Louisville Public Media decided 10 years ago to create a news unit focused on non-partisan, high-quality investigative journalism, the mission was clear: Serve the public interest.

Today, that’s still the case.

In the past decade, KyCIR reporters exposed a patchwork of policies that allow nepotism to flourish across the state. They uncovered how the state’s process for investigating jobsite fatalities fails workers. They fought for transparency against the University of Louisville (and won). They revealed how one company profits from jail phone calls. And much, much more.

More recently, our team detailed the expensive — and inadequate — cleanup of the 2022 floods in eastern Kentucky. We highlighted corruption within the Louisville Metro Council. And we did a one-of-its kind analysis of police shootings in the state’s rural reaches.

We’re determined to hold the government accountable, root out injustices and foster a culture of incisive, in-depth journalism that builds trust with people across the state.

Why? Because society needs a strong, free and independent press.

Without it, civic participation drops, corruption increases and people are left in dreaded “news deserts” without a trusted local source of information.

In Kentucky, most counties are covered by just one paper, according to the Northwestern University’s 2022 state of local news report. And many of those papers are owned by large conglomerates that put profits over the people they’re supposed to serve.

At KyCIR, we have the time, resources and commitment to dig for the truth — and continue to chase the story as new developments break. And at our parent company, Louisville Public Media, we have built one of the biggest newsrooms in the state.

When R.G. Dunlop went looking for jailers in counties without jails, he spent days scouring eastern Kentucky. Then he followed the push for reform that followed. When Eleanor Klibanoff examined the long list of shortcomings the Louisville Metro Police Department and local prosecutors made when they investigated sexual assault allegations, she spent months immersed in policy details and conducting interviews. After her series was published, she was in City Hall when the Metro Council called a hearing to discuss her findings.

When Jared Bennett untangled the twisted world of disaster cleanup, he spent the summer filing dozens of requests for public records and sifting through hundreds of pages of documents. Last week, he reported on the latest development in the saga — lawsuits.

Telling these stories is a privilege we take seriously.

As we head into our next decade, we’re updating our process for gathering and responding to tipsters and whistleblowers, we’re renewing our advisory board and we’re finding new ways to connect with our community.

We want to bring you along.

Tell us what we should report on, invite us to neighborhood meetings, take the time to become a member of Louisville Public Media.

This organization took a chance on KyCIR 10 years ago — and we’ve helped shine a light on Kentucky. Join us for the next 10 and let’s uncover the truth together.

Celebrate 10 years of KyCIR by supporting us at $10/month or any amount. Click here to learn more and to support journalism that makes a difference in our Commonwealth.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.