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.



Search results for "consumer market" ...

  • Medical Marijuana

    Loose restrictions in state law and scant oversight by regulators have allowed people to hijack Oregon’s medical marijuana program for purposes voters never intended, The Oregonian’s investigation revealed. Most patients are using the drug to treat chronic pain rather than terminal illness, far more marijuana is grown than patients consume, and traffickers ship the excess out of state for profit. At the heart of the yearlong investigation was a wide range of public records. First there were written documents: court records and police reports on medical marijuana growers; disciplinary actions against doctors who admit patients to the state program; internal policy manuals; and correspondence between regulators and doctors. Then there were electronic data. Through months of negotiations, the paper persuaded state health authorities to release a database of participants in the marijuana program that protected patient confidentiality. A separate database on Oregon State Police traffic stops helped us to demonstrate the widespread diversion of medical marijuana to the black market. Among the investigation’s original results, published as an occasional series: Communities in southern Oregon have concentrations of marijuana patients 10 times the statewide average; Police patrolling Oregon’s highways now seize more West Coast medical marijuana than pot grown outside the program; The state places few limitations on felons participating in the program, and dozens of trafficking prosecutions involve medical marijuana cardholders with existing criminal histories; Fifty-two children are legally permitted to use pot under the state program, with limited input from pediatricians or specialists treating their underlying illnesses; Nine doctors signed off on more than half the patients in the program, and 75 percent of patients used doctors with improbably high caseloads.

    Tags: Medical marijuana; Oregon; Public records

    By Noelle Crombie

    Oregonian (Portland

    2012

  • Excessive Speculation Distorts Commodity Markets, Harms Consumers

    The topic of our series was excessive financial speculation in commodity markets. Throughout one year, I worked on a series of labor-intensive investigative pieces showing how the influx of financial speculators in the futures market had distorted the price of crude oil, coffee, cotton and other commodities.

    Tags: fiancial speculation; commodity markets; crude oil; commodities

    By Kevin G. Hall; Robert A. Rankin

    McClatchy Newspapers

    2011

  • Excessive Speculation Distorts Commodity Markets, Harms Consumers

    The topic of our series was excessive financial speculation in commodity markets. Throughout one year, I worked on a series of labor-intensive investigative pieces showing how the influx of financial speculators in the futures market had distorted the price of crude oil, coffee, cotton and other commodities.

    Tags: fiancial speculation; commodity markets; crude oil; commodities

    By Kevin G. Hall; Robert A. Rankin

    McClatchy Newspapers

    2011

  • Misleading Milk Marketing

    "This investigative series was the first to report on the misleading health claims made by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which spends millions of dollars annually to promote dairy products throughout Wisconsin and nationwide."

    Tags: milk marketing board; health; dairy; consumer affairs

    By Amy Karon; Catherine Martin; Jessica Fressa; Andrew Golden; Eric Skivirsky; Andy Hall; Kate Goledn

    Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

    2011

  • Florida's Insurance Nightmare

    The Herald-Tribune's series about the Florida property insurance market gives Floridians their first look at the risk of the insurance companies on which they rely. "In print and online, readers can see detailed financial information of more than 100 insurance carriers, the capital they have to weather a disaster, the degree to which they are overexposed, and the extent to which they are leveraged. It is the only public source to alert consumers whose homes might be in danger."

    Tags: property insurance; fraud; hurricane; Florida; insurance fraud; National Association of Insurance Commissioners; Florida Office of Insurance Information;

    By Paige St. John

    Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.)

    2010

  • Trouble in the Walls: Contaminated Chinese Drywall

    Drywall from China, which has been contaminated, could become one of the” largest consumer disasters in US history”. Gases being released from the drywall are “corroding wires, air conditioners and shorting out electronics, and suspected of causing health problems like severe headaches, respiratory ailments, asthma attacks and nosebleeds”. Many homeowners can’t afford to move and would never be able to sell their homes, so they are trapped with nowhere to turn.

    Tags: houses; housing; gypsum board; wallboard; housing market; government; health officials; families; construction; building

    By Aaron Kessler

    Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.)

    2009

  • Loan Mods

    Homeowners whose mortgages were securitized by their banks and sold off were blocked from modifying the loans to avoid delinquent payments. Investors in the mortgage securities market believed they had incentive to keep people from refinancing, but the result exacerbated delinquent payments. A $75 billion federal program to reduce foreclosures by allowing consumers to renegotiate loans with banks was often rejected by banks on the grounds of investor disapproval.

    Tags: investors; mortgage; foreclosure; securities; securitization; securitizing; loans; banks; federal; modification; refinance;

    By Karen Y Weise

    ProPublica

    2009

  • Forgive Us Our Debts

    Increasing abuse by debt collectors not only violates federal law, but is indicative of a growing $60 billion market for reselling debt. The massive market resembles the unstable mortgage-security market, and collapse could put the economy on the brink again. Additionally, tactics used by debt collectors are abusive and often unfounded on any hard evidence of consumer debt. The debt resale market is plagued with problems that surface in this investigation.

    Tags: collection; collectors; debtors; debt; consumers; practices; tactics; abuse; reselling; market; economy; debt; victims; lawsuits;

    By Isaac Wolf

    Scripps Howard News Service

    2009

  • Craftmatic

    The Craftmatic Adjustable Bed has been sold for decades and marketed mostly to elderly consumers in their homes. The bed is expensive, sometimes sold for as much as $9,000, and those who buy it are told it could virtually save their lives. Elderly customers see the commercials which run nearly non-stop on daytime television and call an 800-number, where they are prompted to set up an in-home demonstration with a Craftmatic salesperson. They are told there is no obligation to buy, but what Inside Edition found is the salespeople rarely leave without closing the deal, and it is rarely to the benefit of the consumer.

    Tags: salespeople; complaints; consumer agencies; disability; questionable sales practices; scare tactics; miracle cures; fraud;

    By Matt Meagher; Cindy Galli; Charlie McLravy; Bob Road; Charles Lachman

    Inside Edition (New York)

    2008

  • The Credit Trap

    This series ties lax credit card lending and punishing fee practices to the housing boom, to consumers' mounting financial distress, and to the economic downturn. The reports revealed that during the housing boom, banks sharply raised card limits in part because of a surge in home equity, much of it now vanished. Then banks guided borrowers to tap into rising home equity to pay off card balances, putting their homes at risk.

    Tags: credit card; credit card debt; home equity; housing market; economy; rate hikes; mortgages; banking industry; card lenders

    By Kathy Chu; Byron Acohido

    USA Today (McLean, Va.)

    2008