ProPublica announced Wednesday that Megan O’Matz is joining its Midwest newsroom as a reporter covering issues in Wisconsin, where she will be based. She starts on Feb. 25.
O’Matz comes to ProPublica from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where she has worked for more than 20 years. She started as a general assignment and government reporter covering an array of subjects, including failures in Florida's balloting process that muddled the 2000 presidential election and missing children within the state’s child welfare system, which led to two department officials leaving office in disgrace.
In 2004, O’Matz was named to the newspaper’s investigations team, where she helped uncover fraud in the federal government's disaster relief program in Miami. Since then, she’s exposed flaws in Florida's concealed weapons program, demonstrated how banks were the newest slumlords during the state’s foreclosure crisis, and revealed how undercover police in one South Florida suburb offered cocaine for sale, at a discount, luring drug buyers to town from faraway states and cities to stings set up around the local mall. Her 2015 series “Plundering America” showed how organized rings of Cuban immigrants came to the U.S., recruited accomplices from Cuba and stole billions in Medicare fraud, auto insurance scams, credit card schemes and other rackets — illegally funneling money back to the communist island.
O’Matz was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting on fraudulent FEMA aid and was a significant contributor to the Sun Sentinel’s reporting on the Parkland school shooting, which won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. She has also worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Press and other newspapers.
“Megan is highly experienced at uncovering wrongdoing and holding public institutions accountable,” said Louise Kiernan, ProPublica’s Midwest editor. “We’re excited to welcome her back to the Midwest as part of our team.”
“I’m thrilled to join ProPublica to unearth meaningful stories that spotlight abuses of power and policy failures that harm ordinary people,” O’Matz said. “I hope my reporting will lead to changes that improve lives.”