Louise Kiernan Credit: Northwestern University

Important news for Chicago journalists—especially the ones with mortgages: A big job has just been filled, and another ten attractive vacancies have just been posted.

ProPublica announced Tuesday that it’s named Louise Kiernan to head ProPublica Illinois, its first regional, autonomous operation. Now it’s up to Kiernan to hire her staff. Click here for the list of newly available jobs, most of them as editors or reporters.

An associate professor at Medill since 2010, Kiernan earlier spent 18 years as a reporter and editor at the Tribune, and was lead writer on “Gateway to Gridlock,” a 2001 report on air travel in America that won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. “Louise Kiernan’s riveting eight-page narrative,” I wrote, “became the best argument I’ve read for an integrated national transportation system.” The competition Kiernan beat out was herself; she was also a finalist in the same category for her story about a young mother killed by a falling skyscraper window.

President Richard Tofel told me two months ago, when I first reported ProPublica’s expansion plans, that Chicago would offer competitive salaries—a living wage, in other words. “Our approach is very clear,” he said. “We don’t use money to bid people out of their jobs, but we don’t want them turning us down to do the same work somewhere else.”

ProPublica, a not-for-profit, was created in 2008 to do investigative journalism as other media retrenched. It’s won three Pulitzers itself.