Resource Center

Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364573-882-3364  or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



  • Gaming the Lottery

    The Palm Beach Post analyzed the Florida Lottery's 20-year database of winners and applied mathematical analysis to reveal that some people were winning the lottery too often, exposing fraud and forcing the lottery to make changes.

    Tags: Lotteries; winners

    By Lawrence Mower

    Palm Beach Post

    2014

  • Temporary Work, Lasting Harm

    Temp employment is climbing to record levels following the Great Recession. The system benefits brand-name companies but harms American workers through lost wages, high injury rates, few if any benefits, and little opportunity for advancement.

    Tags: Temp employment; benefits

    By Michael Grabell

    ProPublica

    2014

  • Shadow Campus

    The series found that Boston colleges have added thousands of students without enough housing to accommodate them all, pushing students into dangerously overcrowded apartments in surrounding neighborhoods and putting students' lives at risk. A Globe team discovered that overcrowded apartments were rampant in student neighborhoods, including many that were firetraps or riddled with pests, broken locks and other hazards. Local colleges reneged on promises to building more housing and steered students to one of the city's most notorious landlords. Local housing regulators seemed powerless or unwilling to tackle the issue. And families were gradually replaced by absentee landlords, changing the character of key parts of the city.

    Tags: Boston College; housing

    By Jenn Abelson

    Boston Globe

    2014

  • A Path to Survival

    This journalism investigation presented by Studio Monitor covers the issue of tuberculosis in Georgia. The number of patients suffering from active forms of tuberculosis in Georgia is growing. Georgia is among the 27 countries with the highest rates of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis. In our country, only half of the patients suffering this type of tuberculosis are cured. The authorities are late in making important decisions. In the meantime, people are dying. Some patients travel to Europe to save their lives. At the Georgian Center of Tuberculosis, contagious patients are allowed to go home or go out into the streets for a walk. This causes to spread the disease even more. The doctors at the Tuberculosis Center often make mistaken diagnoses. They permit people to enter the treatment program easily, even if the diagnosis of tuberculosis is not certain. 34 percent of multi-drug resistant TB patients in Georgia in 2013 gave up on treatment because of the unbearable side effects. Patients who were released from the Georgian TB program after showing no improvement for two years were cured by doctors after they went to Europe.

    Tags: Tuberculosis; Drug-resistant antibiotics; Europe

    By Nino Zuriashvili

    Tbilisi-Paris

    2014

  • Trouble with Taxes

    The intricacies of the property tax system in Wisconsin are not unlike the federal tax code: complex, confusing and potentially quite boring. But reporters Rutledge and Crowe tackled the topic with determination and curiosity and uncovered a statewide assessment system rife with problems. Founded in the late 1700s on fairness, Wisconsin’s system is far from fair. In their investigation, Rutledge and Crowe used documents and large data sets to penetrate a subject that impacts every property owner in Wisconsin but that few understand. The disparities were hitting homeowners in their wallets, but most had no clue why. Among the discoveries: Assessors across Wisconsin violated the state constitution while regulators ignored the practice; in dozens of communities, 20% or more of taxes were paid by the wrong people; and assessors in 15% of municipalities were doing “poor” work by the state’s own definition.

    Tags: Property tax

    By Raquel Rutledge; Kevin Crowe

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2014

  • Dividing Lines

    This project explored the nature, causes and consequences of political polarization in metropolitan Milwaukee and Wisconsin. It concluded that metropolitan Milwaukee is by some measures the most polarized place in swing-state America; that it has grown more politically segregated with virtually every election cycle since the 1970s; that its voters live overwhelmingly in politically homogenous neighborhoods dominated by a single party; that those communities have been moving systematically in one partisan direction (either red or blue) for more than four decades; that the partisan gap between its urban and outlying communities has been steadily growing; and that this deep and deepening polarization is a consequence of at least three factors: extreme racial segregation, unusually high levels of political engagement and activism; and at least two decades of perpetual partisan conflict and mobilizing as a result of Wisconsin’s political competitiveness, its battleground role in presidential races and the unprecedented turmoil and division over collective bargaining beginning in 2011. We also charted the rise of political segregation nationally, in the ever-growing share of voters in the United States who live in politically one-sided counties. The project also traced the dramatic changes in voting behavior in the state of Wisconsin in recent decades with the demise of ticket-splitting, the rise of extreme party-line voting, and the systematic growth of two political divides – the one between white and nonwhite voters, and the one between densely populated and less densely populated places. The series explored the relationship between Wisconsin’s high and rising political engagement and turnout rates and its deepening partisan divisions. And it explored the consequences of rising polarization and political segregation when it comes to the way campaigns are conducted, the outcomes of elections, the decline in electoral competition, and barriers to regional problem-solving. It found that as a result of partisan and geographic fault lines, the two parties in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) are increasingly drawing their support from different kinds of voters and different kinds of communities, and winning very different kinds of elections.

    Tags: Polarization; political segmentation

    By Craig Gilbert

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2014

  • Death Behind Bars

    A Global News investigation revealed that Canada's "psychiatric prisons," home to the federal penal system's sickest, most vulnerable and most volatile inmates, have the highest death and assault rates of any federal correctional facility. Designed, theoretically, to provide special care for Canada's growing population of inmates with severe mental illness, these prisons have become little more than warehouses for extremely ill offenders: They're put in brutal restraints by prison guards ill-equipped to deal with their needs, and lack sufficient access to health-care practitioners; they're kept in solitary confinement despite overwhelming evidence against it, and, Global News discovered, even so-called "intensive psychiatric care" is little more than segregation by any other name. After refusing to speak with us about this for months, Canada's Public Safety Minister announced a pilot project for two women inmates with mental illness in a groundbreaking facility specially designed for their care and rehabilitation. As part of our extensive follow-up to our initial series, Global News also reported that, six months later, that pilot project had yet to materialize.

    Tags: Psychiatric prisons; federal prisons; Canada

    By Anna Mehler Paperny

    Global News (Vancouver, BC)

    2014

  • Returning Home to Battle

    Returning Home to Battle was a yearlong campaign of coverage by The Center for Investigative Reporting that examined conditions greeting veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. CIR’s investigation had two main areas of emphasis, each identifying major shortcomings in the two major federal bureaucracies created to help veterans: VA healthcare and VA benefits. The first uncovered nearly 1,000 preventable deaths in VA hospitals in the decade after the 9/11 terrorists attacks. The second revealed widespread profiteering off GI Bill, the landmark education benefit to help veterans of the current wars transition back into civilian life.

    Tags: Veterans; health

    By Aaron Glantz

    Center for Investigative Reporting

    2014

  • The Medicare Advantage Money Grab

    This is the first comprehensive effort by a media organization to analyze how government pays for Medicare Advantage, which costs taxpayers some $150 billion a year as it grows explosively. We found that rather than slow health-care spending, as intended, Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly have sharply driven up treatment costs in some parts of the United States—larding on tens of billions of dollars in overcharges and other suspect billings over the past five years alone. The findings are based on an analysis of Medicare Advantage enrollment and billing data as well as thousands of pages of government audits, research papers and other documents, and scores of interviews with industry executives. Our review revealed how an obscure billing formula called a “risk score,” that is supposed to pay Medicare Advantage plans more for sicker patients and less for healthy ones, has been widely abused to inflate Medicare costs.

    Tags: Medicare advantage; elder abuse; corruption; billing

    By Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin, and Chris Zubak-Skees

    NBC News

    2014

  • Military Medicine

    A year-long investigation by The New York Times into the United States’ military hospitals revealed systematically poor care across major safety measures, showing that the trail of patients who died needlessly, babies who were permanently damaged and surgeries that left lifelong disabilities were not just unusual events, but part of a pattern of a medical system with systemic shortcomings. These are not VA hospitals: These are the nation's little-examined 55 military hospitals. This is not about war-related injuries, but routine medical care promised to those in the military and their families. The New York Times, by analyzing statistics, proved for the first time that crucial safety measures, like performing a root cause analysis when a patient unexpectedly dies or suffers from permanent disabilities that result from medical care, were not being done. The result of the work is that, in early fall, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced major changes to the way these hospitals provide care, and called for improved safety.

    Tags: Military hospitals; corruption

    By Andrew Lehren

    The New York Times

    2014