Investigating privatization of public services (Sponsored by Bloomberg)

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Jennifer Dixon of Detroit Free Press; Danielle Ivory of The New York Times; Seth Wessler of Type Investigations; Donald Cohen of In the Public Interest
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 24 at 3:15pm
  • Location: Grand Canyon 9-10
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Donald Cohen, In the Public Interest

Across the country, federal agencies and state and local governments are accelerating the pace of privatization. From water systems to prisons, virtually every type of public service and asset has been shifted to private control. While some claim the private sector is more efficient than the government, outsourcing has often resulted in cost overruns, service failures, less transparency, and greater inequality. In this session, reporters will discuss award-winning investigations from the cutting edge of privatization in public education, the criminal justice system and public infrastructure.

Speaker Bios

  • Donald Cohen is the founder and executive director of In the Public Interest, a national research and policy center on privatization of public goods and responsible contracting. His opinion pieces and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The New York Daily News, The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Nation and other online and print outlets.

  • Jennifer Dixon is an award-winning investigative reporter for the Detroit Free Press. She was the lead writer of an eight-day series on Michigan's charter schools and recently finished an investigation of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, prompting MIOSHA to step up inspections at demolition sites where workers are exposed to asbestos. Her story on a Detroit school vendor led to a federal investigation and two criminal convictions. @jennbdixon

  • Danielle Ivory is a reporter at The New York Times covering the intersection of business and government. She has written about government inattention to deadly auto-safety defects, Wall Street's push into emergency services and water, and the billions of dollars of taxpayer money awarded each year to government contractors. She previously worked at Bloomberg News, The Huffington Post Investigative Fund and Bill Moyers Journal. @danielle_ivory.

  • Seth Freed Wessler is a Peabody, NABJ, and Hillman prize-winning reporter in New York and a Fellow at the Type Investigations. His reporting on immigration, prisons, racial inequity and social services has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, This American Life, ProPublica, Colorlines, Reveal, Mother Jones and NBC News. 

Related Tipsheets

  • In the Public Interest’s reports, briefs, and guides
    In the Public Interest is a nonprofit research and policy center committed to promoting the democratic control of public goods and services. We help citizens, public officials, advocates, and researchers better understand the impacts that government contracts and public-private partnerships have on service quality, democratic decision-making, and public budgets.