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Type of site
News, political analysis & commentary, Progressivism
HeadquartersSacramento, California
Alexa rankIncrease 48,118 (As of 27 January 2019)[1]
Commercial501(c)(3) nonprofit
Current statusActive

Truthout is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization which aims to provide independent reporting and commentary on a diverse range of social justice issues. Since they were founded in 2001, they have anchored their work in principles of accuracy, transparency, and independence from corporate influence and partisan forces.

Truthout describes itself as a type of journalism in pursuit of justice. Truthout is dependent on its readers and donations from foundations who support their work. Donations from individual readers have accounted for an average 81% of their annual budget over a five-year period. Some of Truthout's main areas of focus are mass incarceration, social justice and climate change.

Truthout's editorial team is led by editor in chief Maya Schenwar,[2] and managing director Ziggy West Jeffery.

Notable reporting and projects[edit]

Truthout has published several pieces which have impacted local and national policy.

Illegal Navy Training[edit]

In 2016, Dahr Jamail and Truthout released[3] Navy documents outlining plans for combat training exercises along vast non-military areas of Washington State coastline. The documents showed the areas the Navy was prepared to utilize, without the mandatory risk assessments, medical plans, surveys of training areas and coordinating their activities with local, state and federal law enforcement officials. The release of these documents forced the Navy to postpone this training for at least 2 years.[4] It caused commotion within the Washington state government, as they were not aware of the Navy's plans.[5]

Offshore Fracking[edit]

In 2013, Truthout journalist Mike Ludwig unearthed with a Freedom of Information Act request with the Interior Department revealed that fracking technology was being used on offshore oil rigs in the ecologically sensitive Santa Barbara Channel.[6] Coastal conservationists were alarmed, and environmental groups sprang into action, generating protests and broad public discussion[7] about offshore fracking. At one point, lawsuits filed by environmental groups forced federal officials to place a moratorium[8] on offshore fracking in the Channel while regulators reviewed the practice and their rules for making it safe. In 2014, the EPA issued a new rules requiring offshore drillers to disclose fracking chemicals they dump into the ocean off the California coast.[9]  

Fracking in the Gulf of Mexico[edit]

In 2016, a Truthout investigation revealed commonplace fracking in the Gulf of Mexico, where offshore oil and gas drillers used fracking technology to maximize oil and gas production in aging undersea wells. A story broken by journalist Mike Ludwig revealed that the Obama administration had rubber-stamped 1,500 permit modifications to allow fracking in the Gulf of Mexico[10][11] and had routinely excluded the practice from in-depth environmental reviews—even during the initial days of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That investigation shined a critical light on industry's practice of mixing toxic fracking chemicals with drilling wastewater and dumping it directly into shallow waters of the Gulf.[12] This practice was the subject of further legal challenges from environmental groups.[13]

Feminine Hygiene in Virginia Prisons[edit]

In September 2018, Truthout broke a story that exposed a new policy forbidding visitors to Virginia prisons that are run by the Department of Corrections from using tampons or feminine hygiene cups.[14] The story sparked a public outcry[15] and the policy was quickly suspended.[16]

The Case of Marissa Alexander[edit]

Marissa Alexander was originally sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon—for firing a warning shot in what many argue was self-defense against her abusive ex-husband. An appeals court overturned her conviction, and Alexander agreed to a plea bargain that included time served for the 1,030 days she had already spent behind bars, another 65 days in jail and two years of house arrest. When her period of electronic ankle monitoring ended, and she was finally truly free, Alexander spoke to Truthout about her experience and her commitment to fight for other criminalized survivors of domestic violence.[17] Truthout covered the role that social media[18] and community organizing[19] had in mobilizing for Marissa's case in the United States.

Safety Issues at BP[edit]

60 Minutes cited a report published at Truthout as a source for its May 16, 2010 episode about the BP oil spill and the whistleblower who warned about a possible blowout at another BP deepwater drilling site.[20] Digital Journal wrote up the story.[21] CNN's Randi Kaye in an article cited a report by Truthout as the first article on BP Alaska employee Mark Kovac's inside knowledge about the safety concerns at the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska BP oil field.[22] On July 14, 2010, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing in the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. The hearing[23] titled "The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines (Part 2): Integrity Management", cited an investigative report by Truthout as a document for the committee's investigation.[24]

Veterans' Issues[edit]

Truthout has closely followed issues affecting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Coverage has especially focused on veteran health care and post-traumatic stress disorder. An ongoing Truthout investigation has claimed widespread neglect within the Veterans Health Administration of veterans with PTSD.[25][26]

Health Care: Defending the ACA, Fighting for Single Payer[edit]

Truthout covered repeated efforts to pass "Trumpcare." They clearly outline that they are not impartial on the matter as they believe it to be an issue which is "literally a matter of life and death"[27] for millions of Americans. Truthout has published reporting both on the fine print details of the proposed legislation and the groups who are fighting back.


Izzy Award[edit]

Dahr Jamail was awarded the 2018 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for his reporting on climate change and other environmental issues. The judges wrote: "There is an urgency and passion in Dahr Jamail’s reporting that is justified by the literally earth-changing subject matter. And it’s supported by science and on-the-scene sources, whether covering ocean pollution, sea level rise, deafening noise pollution or Fukushima radiation."[28]

Jamail's monthly wrap-ups of the latest climate research and trends – "Climate Disruption Dispatches"[29] – have become an essential resource for scientists and fellow journalists.

San Francisco Press Club Journalism Awards[edit]

A joint Truthout and Earth Island Journal investigation "America's Toxic Prisons"[30] by Candice Bernd, Zoe Loftus-Farren, and Maureen Nandini Mitra won awards in two categories of the 2018 San Francisco Press Club Journalism Awards.[31] The investigation won second place in the Magazines category for environment/nature reporting and investigative reporting.

Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism[edit]

In 2012, Truthout journalist Gareth Porter was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism[32] for his work uncovering the Obama administration's military strategy in Afghanistan. "In a series of extraordinary articles, Gareth Porter has torn away the facades of the Obama administration and disclosed a military strategy that amounts to a war against civilians." Amongst Porter's award-winning stories were 'How McChrystal and Petraeus Built an Indiscriminate "Killing Machine,[33]"' and 'The Lies That Sold Obama's Escalation in Afghanistan.[34]'

Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Awards[edit]

Maya Schenwar, currently the editor in chief of Truthout, was awarded in the 2013 Online Column Writing category by the The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards[35] for her columns on mass incarceration,[36] the death penalty,[37] and solitary confinement.[38]


Example: FBI Section Chief of International Terrorism Division's Memo to Immigration About Abu Zubaydah[39]

On May 13, 2006, after Jason Leopold posted on Truthout that Karl Rove had been indicted by the grand jury investigating the Plame affair, Rove spokesman Mark Corallo denied the story, calling it "a complete fabrication".[40] Truthout defended the story, saying on May 15 they had two sources "who were explicit about the information" published,[41] and confirmed on May 25 that they had "three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment" on the night of May 12.[41] The grand jury concluded with no indictment of Rove.[42]

In his memoir, Courage and Consequence, Karl Rove addressed the Leopold article. Rove writes that Leopold is a "nut with Internet access" and that "thirty-five reporters called [Rove's defense attorney] Luskin or Corallo to ask about the Truthout report." According to Rove, "[Special Counsel] Fitzgerald got a kick out of the fictitious account and e-mailed Luskin to see how he felt after such a long day."[43]

Jason Leopold no longer works at Truthout. He is now a senior investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News.


Truthout is led by Editor-in-Chief Maya Schenwar, and Managing Director Ziggy West Jeffery.[44]

Truthout's Board of Directors is made up of McMaster University Professor and educational theorist Henry A. Giroux, policy director Robert Naiman, and Lewis R. Gordon.

Truthout's Board of Advisors includes Mark Ruffalo, Dean Baker, Richard D. Wolff, William Ayers, Mark Weisbrot. Howard Zinn was formerly a member of the advisory board.

On August 27, 2009, a member of Truthout's board of directors signed a recognition statement by the organization of The Newspaper Guild/CWA, allowing employed writers for the site to unionize with the Newspaper Guild/CWA as their preferred bargaining representative. The site also held what it called the first-ever "virtual card check", whereby paid writers faxed PDFs of their individual signatures to members of the site's organizing committee (who were based in New York, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Chicago respectively) in order to verify their unionizing authorization cards and establish a bargaining unit of the writers. Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner stated in their article on the event that the organization was "the first online-only news site to successfully unionize".[45]


  1. ^ " Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  2. ^ "Staff | Truthout". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  3. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Navy Uses US Citizens as Pawns in Domestic War Games". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  4. ^ "Navy wants to use more Washington state parks for stealth SEAL training". The Seattle Times. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  5. ^ "Jets, helicopters, rockets: Military plans more uses of Northwest public lands". The Seattle Times. 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  6. ^ "Special Investigation: Fracking in the Ocean Off the California Coast". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  7. ^ "Fracking Report on Santa Barbara Channel". Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  8. ^ "Following Truthout Investigation, Settlements Halt Fracking Off the Coast of California". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  9. ^ "EPA: California Offshore Frackers Must Disclose Chemicals Dumped Into Ocean". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  10. ^ "This Map Shows Where Offshore Fracking Has Occurred in the Gulf of Mexico". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  11. ^ "Obama Administration Approved Gulf Fracking During Deepwater Horizon Disaster". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  12. ^ "EPA Plans to Allow Unlimited Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  13. ^ "As Pruitt Guts Water Rules, EPA Will Allow Fracking Waste Dumping in the Gulf of Mexico". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  14. ^ "Tampons Banned for Visitors to Virginia Prisons". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  15. ^ "Brian J. Moran on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  16. ^ "Virginia Suspends Policy Banning Tampons for Visitors After Public Outcry". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  17. ^ "After Seven Long Years, Freedom: An Interview With Marissa Alexander". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  18. ^ "Social Media and Marissa Alexander: Freedom Mobilization and Victim-Blaming". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  19. ^ "With Great Concern: A Plea for Marissa Alexander and All New Afrikan Women". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  20. ^ "Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster". May 16, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  21. ^ "Report: Bush DoJ sheltered BP executives from criminal probe". May 21, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  22. ^ "BP Alaska: A Ticking Time Bomb?". June 23, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  23. ^ "The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines (Part 2): Integrity Management". Archived from the original on August 3, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  24. ^ "The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines (Part 2): Integrity Management. - Page 6, footnote 17" (PDF). July 14, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 4, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  25. ^ "Veterans Attest to PTSD Neglect by VA". January 30, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  26. ^ "PTSD Ignored on Active Duty". Veterans for Common Sense. July 16, 2009. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  27. ^ "Truthout Annual Report" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Izzy Award to be Shared by Investigative Journalists Lee Fang, Sharon Lerner, Dahr Jamail and Todd Miller". Ithaca College. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  29. ^ Jamail, Dahr. "Climate Disruption Dispatches, With Dahr Jamail". Truthout. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  30. ^ "America's Toxic Prisons; The environmental injustices of mass incarceration".
  31. ^ "2018 Official List of Winners – Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards".
  32. ^ "Previous Winners". Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  33. ^ Porter, Gareth. "How McChrystal and Petraeus Built an Indiscriminate "Killing Machine"". Truthout. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  34. ^ Porter, Gareth. "The Lies That Sold Obama's Escalation in Afghanistan". Truthout. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  35. ^ "Awards". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  36. ^ Schenwar, Maya. "The Prison System Welcomes My Newborn Niece to This World". Truthout. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  37. ^ Schenwar, Maya. "Life on Penalty of Death". Truthout. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  38. ^ Schenwar, Maya. "Please Stop "Reforming" Pelican Bay". Truthout. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  39. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: From Hopeful Immigrant to FBI Informant - the Inside Story of the Other Abu Zubaidah". Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  40. ^ "Rove Indictment Report Denied". New York Sun. May 15, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  41. ^ a b "Jason Leopold Caught Sourceless again". Columbia Journalism Review. June 13, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  42. ^ "Truthout reporter stands by the "Rove indicted"". June 13, 2006. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  43. ^ Rove, Karl (2010). "Courage and Consequence". Threshold Editions. p. 438. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  44. ^ Letterle, Bruce. "About Us". Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  45. ^ Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner (8 September 2009). "Truthout Becomes First Online-Only News Site to Unionize". Truthout.[dead link]

External links[edit]