Because power corrupts, and because powerful interests thrive on concealing unpleasant truths, we believe that a healthy and resilient society depends on independent reporting—the rigorous unearthing of new and overlooked facts, perspectives, and sources. Freelance investigative reporters are uniquely situated to provide this public good. Their work is part of a legacy dating back more than 40 years. But we also believe this legacy faces major threats. In the past five years, according to Project Word’s national survey, economic shifts have contributed to the loss of 500 to 1,000 public-interest stories from respondents alone. This is avoidable. Diverse freelancers and their public-interest work deserve attention and support. In the end, democracy depends on it.