Behind the Story: How NPR and ProPublica exposed problems with the Red Cross’ response to Superstorm Sandy

Justin Elliott of ProPublica

Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger and Laura Sullivan turned a vague tip about the American Red Cross’ inefficiency into a powerful report about the organization’s failings after Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy.

The joint project between ProPublica and NPR revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from donors in 2012 fell to organization leaders often more concerned with the appearance that they were helping than with actually providing aid. The team of reporters got the story through public records, internal emails and documents, and accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

The team ...

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Federal records shed light on ‘staggering disparity’ in U.S. arrest rates

While police in Ferguson, Missouri arrest black people at a rate almost three times higher than people of other races, an analysis by USA TODAY found that trend extends to cities across the country. At least 1,581 police departments arrest black people at rates even more lopsided than in Ferguson. USA TODAY based its findings on arrests reported to the federal government in 2011 and 2012.

University of Oklahoma releases parking tickets after student newspaper joins suit

A decision by the student newspaper at the University of Oklahoma to join its staffer’s lawsuit against the school caused officials to reverse course on their original decision to withhold parking ticket citations.

OU Daily staff member Joey Stipek had filed the suit in May 2013 after his open records requests for parking tickets was denied on the grounds that the citations were protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

Last week, the Daily published an editorial backing Stipek and declaring that the newspaper is joining the lawsuit. OU President David Boren soon after issued ...

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Webinar to highlight new data set on campaign advertising

Got a big election on your horizon in 2016 or even 2015?

Join us for a free webinar Thursday and to get a sneak preview of an unprecedentedly detailed data set that the Internet Archive, the Sunlight Foundation and Philadelphia's Committee of Seventy compiled on political ads in Philadelphia this fall.

They’ll be releasing data linking ad spots to advertisers and the money behind them and showing you how it can be used to measure the intensity of a campaign, to identify the demographics being targeted by candidates and to out some of the mystery meat committees that ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Death by deadline, online diplomas, vaccine court

Death by Deadline | The Marshall Project

An investigation by The Marshall Project shows that since President Bill Clinton signed the one-year statute of limitations into law - enacting a tough-on-crime provision that emerged in the Republicans' Contract with America - the deadline has been missed at least 80 times in capital cases. Sixteen of those inmates have since been executed -- the most recent on Thursday, when Chadwick Banks was put to death in Florida.

 

Milwaukee kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.'s death follows cascade of errors by fight officials | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed a series of missteps by fight officials ...

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Computer-Assisted Reporting Coordinator (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seeks an innovative computer-assisted reporting coordinator to help expand the newsroom's use of data in routine newsgathering and data-driven enterprise projects.

The CAR coordinator serves as the newsroom's main point person, evangelist and teacher for incorporating data into print and digital stories, projects and interactives. This position will be part of a true team culture – assisting reporters with public records and data requests, collaborating with editors, graphic artists, digital editors and web developers to bring data-rich stories to life across platforms.

Responsibilities will include building, acquiring and editing data sets for individual and newsroom reporting ...

IRE Radio Podcast | Navigating Nonprofits

Americans donate about $300 billion a year to charities, with about 30 percent of that taking place in December. But not all charities are good stewards of donated dollars. For our last podcast of 2014 we’re talking about how to investigate nonprofits and charities. Here’s the lineup:

  • Justin Elliott of ProPublica talks about investigating the American Red Cross’ Superstorm Sandy relief efforts
  • Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic explains how he exposed major problems with the nonprofits running the Fiesta Bowl

You can find and download previous podcast episodes on iTunes or our Soundcloud page.

We’ll be ...

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Investigative Reporter (The Des Moines Register)

The Des Moines Register seeks a top-notch investigative journalist capable of digging through complicated records, understanding and developing databases, holding public officials accountable and producing deeply reported watchdog work. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of high-impact investigative reporting and storytelling experience across multiple platforms -- including shooting video, blogging, tweeting and effectively using social media. Developing sources and strong experience in a competitive, deadline-driven environment a must. Applicants should have a clear understanding of metrics, how to target specific audiences and how to effectively engage readers in the digital space and in person. A bachelor’s degree ...