How IndyStar’s 2022 coverage impacted all of Indianapolis

For over a century, IndyStar has strived to serve the greater good of central Indiana.

It’s our job to hold people accountable, expose wrongdoing and celebrate the successes of our neighbors. We recognize the privilege and responsibility that comes with our platform, and we hope to improve community conversations and speak up for those whose voices might not otherwise be heard. We do this work because it is important to us. This is our home too, and we want Indianapolis and its people to thrive.

This year alone, IndyStar coverage has connected Hoosiers to their neighbors. It has identified problematic practices and provided solutions to problems that affect their quality of life. It has influenced local and national dialogues on issues such as gun safety and access to abortion.

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Here are just a few examples of how our 2022 coverage has made a difference in central Indiana and beyond.

NBA approves pensions after IndyStar report

For years, IndyStar has reported on the struggles of former American Basketball Association players fighting for financial aid from the NBA with the help of the Dropping Dimes Foundation. The depth and impact of our coverage was evident when the NBA finally voted to provide players with a pension, a decision that will be life-changing for 115 former players and their families.

Read sports reporter Dana Hunsinger Benbow’s coverage here.

IndyStar gets Pulitzer recognition after local officials are held accountable for red flag failure

A memorial garden for Jill Phipps is on view Thursday, August 19, 2021 at the home of her parents, Thomas and Brenda Limbach, in Indianapolis.  Phipps was shot dead by her husband after red flag gun laws failed to protect her.

Following an April 2021 mass shooting at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, IndyStar began investigating Marion County’s application of the state’s red flag law, which victims and attorneys say could have prevented the shooter from doing so to get firearms. Since IndyStar began reporting problems with the state’s application of the Red Flag Act:

  • More than 90% of Indianapolis police gun seizures resulted in red flag court records in early 2022, up from just 36% previously.
  • Cases are filed faster—less than three days on average, versus an average of 27 days.
  • Dozens of people were found to be dangerous, meaning they are barred from access to firearms and their names have been reported to the FBI’s national background screening system. Prior to IndyStar’s reporting, not a single person was reported to the background check system.
  • Victims of the FedEx shooting filed a lawsuit against the city to seek over $2 million because authorities failed to pursue a red flag case against the shooter. These victims cited IndyStar’s reporting in their lawsuit.

Because of that coverage, IndyStar was named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, our second Pulitzer award in as many years.

Read the coverage of IndyStar’s Tony Cook, Johnny Magdaleno and Michelle Pemberton here.

Unsung Vietnam veteran who was decorated for his exploits decades later

Fred Norris, a Vietnam veteran, sits in a wheelchair in his living room at his home in east Indianapolis on Friday, April 8, 2022.  He entered service at 17 and was one of the first Marines in Vietnam.  (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar)

Indianapolis resident Fred Norris proudly served his country during the Vietnam War. At 17, Norris enlisted and was one of the first Marines in Vietnam. He later rescued a downed helicopter pilot who was running from his position through enemy fire, but his bravery was never recognized. We’ve spent months fact-checking the facts surrounding Norris’ incredible life. Shortly after the article was published, Indianapolis and Indiana state officials asked how they could help Norris get the medals he deserves. Local organizations offered their services, such as building a free wheelchair ramp or providing rides to the local Veterans Administration Hospital.

Unfortunately, Norris died on August 24 before any medals could be awarded.

Read Norris’ amazing story, narrated by IndyStar photojournalist Mykal McEldowney, here.

IndyStar’s abortion coverage impacts national conversation after Roe v. calf

IndyStar’s story about people crossing state lines to have abortions sparked a nationwide debate and influenced state legislation. The article’s main anecdote quotes a doctor by name who disclosed that she had aborted a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had come to Indiana for the procedure. The story caused a furore on both sides of the abortion debate; Anti-abortion activists, as well as some media outlets, questioned its accuracy, while abortion rights supporters – including President Joe Biden – used it as fodder to show the impact of tightening abortion restrictions.