Age: 56
Occupation: Editor in chief of ProPublica Illinois

Anyone despairing over the diminished power of investigative journalism might want to pay attention to what Kiernan and her 12 staffers are doing at this three-year-old branch of the national nonprofit news bureau. To give one example: ProPublica’s collaboration with the Tribune last year led to the abolition of locked seclusion rooms in all Chicago public schools. Other journalists are looking to see where Kiernan decides to shine a light next.