Resource Center


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 where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "fail" ...

  • Tracking Troubled Brokers

    In a broad investigation, the Journal revealed that Wall Street’s own national watchdog doesn’t make public all the regulatory red flags it has about brokers. The Journal dug up and analyzed the employment and disciplinary history of more than 550,000 of the nation’s stockbrokers. Reporters found a wide array of regulatory breakdowns. The Journal revealed that more than 1,500 people had violated rules requiring them to disclose criminal charges or bankruptcies to investors. Reporters also found more than 50,000 brokers had failed a key entrance exam – sometimes as many as a dozen times – and that those who repeatedly failed had worse disciplinary records. And the Journal identified 16 “hot spots” across the country where large numbers of troubled brokers congregate, often near elderly and wealthy investors – and showed how state securities regulators do little to target resources on these problem areas.

    Tags: stockbrokers; entrance exam; discipline; failures

    By Jean Eaglesham; Rob Barry

    Wall Street Journal (New York)


  • Fatal Flaws

    The New York Times exposed serious safety failings by the automakers General Motors and Honda, the supplier Takata and the nation’s top auto regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its findings led to the recall of a record 60 million vehicles, the equivalent of one in five, and to a makeover of the entire auto industry under stricter standards to ensure safer vehicles on the road.

    Tags: general motors; honda; safety; national highway traffic safety administration

    By Danielle Ivory

    New York Times


  • The Costs and Benefits of an Elite College Chess Team

    Did Webster University pay $1 million to bring an elite chess team from Texas Tech? The university declined to address that question, but documents obtained under Texas open records law reveal the stipulations the controversial chess coach was seeking prior to her departure from Texas Tech. After failing to negotiate her terms into a new Texas Tech contract, Polgar moved her program to Webster University. Amid back-to-back budget shortfalls, some questioned the administration’s investment in an elite chess team. Webster derives 97 percent of its revenue from tuition payments, much of which is taxpayer-funded student loans and grants.

    Tags: chess; university; sports; clubs tuition

    By Dan Bauman; Megan Favignano

    Webster University's The Journal


  • Civil Penalties Special Report

    In an unprecedented joint partnership investigation that took approximately three years, Mine Safety and Health News (MSHN) and National Public Radio (NPR) found that mining companies in the U.S. failed to pay $70 million in delinquent mine safety penalties - most for years, some for decades, and that these delinquent mine operators had accident rate 50% higher than mine operators who paid their fines. These companies: defied federal court orders to pay; committed 131,000 violations; reported nearly 4,000 injuries. The joint investigation of MSHN and NPR exposed a loophole in federal regulation, and lax enforcement that places U.S. miners at risk. The result was a special report by Mine Safety and Health News, and a series of radio stories by NPR that provided the foundation to challenge and change mine safety law in the U.S.

    Tags: mines; on the job; safety; violations; injuries

    By Ellen Smith; Howard Berkes; Robert Little; Anna Boiko-Weyrauch; Robert Benincasa; Nicole Beemsterboer

    Mine Safety and Health News


  • The Chronicle of Higher Ed: On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles

    The Chronicle’s investigation revealed nearly 120 college police forces acquired military gear from the Department of Defense through the controversial 1033 program. Advocates contended the low-cost equipment is an indispensable resource during crowd-control situations or active-shooter incidents. Detractors argued the procurement of tactical gear fails to aid against the types of crimes that occur more frequently on college campuses, like alcohol-related incidents and sexual assault. Others worried military equipment is an especially poor fit on college campuses, and feared it may have a chilling effect on free expression.

    Tags: campus; police; militarization; crime

    By Dan Bauman; Max Lewontin; Lance Lambert

    The Chronicle (Hofstra University)


  • A Failure to Block: Tennessee's Lost War on Meth

    While Tennessee remains second in the nation for the number of meth labs, this investigation revealed a state system designed to block convicted meth offenders from buying cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine was broken, and that there were huge holes in the TBI’s Meth Offender Registry, a list of people who should be banned from such purchases. The stories led to immediate action by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and a rare admission by the agency that it had failed to follow the law. Among our findings was that 777 convicted meth offenders made more than 5,400 illegal purchases of pseudoephedrine last year. Despite strict laws requiring people to show their driver’s license when they buy the cold medicines, we found nearly one of every five people on the TBI’s Meth Offender Registry was still able to buy pseudoephedrine without using a fake ID.

    Tags: meth; tennessee; offender; illegal drugs

    By Ben Hall; Iain Montgomery; Kevin Wisniewski

    WTVF-TV (Nashville, Tenn.)


  • Pump Problems

    WAFF 48 investigated the process of inspecting gas pumps in North Alabama and discovered the state employed just six inspectors to check 90,000 pumps. Uninspected pumps can cost drivers money by overcharging them or by dispensing bad gas. During the most recent series of inspections in North Alabama 143 out of 844 pumps failed inspection. The state would not supply us with a list of pumps that failed. Instead, we had to submit a list of gas stations and inspectors would then supply the results. Out of the twenty stations submitted to the state, nine pumps were condemned. During the investigation it was learned that state budget cuts lead to the lack of inspectors. We also learned inspectors rely on public complaints to determine where to inspect.

    Tags: Alabama; gas pumps; inspectors; failure; budget cuts

    By Margo Gray; Amanda Jarrett

    WAFF 48 News (Huntsville, Ala.)


  • Despite multiple malpractice payouts, doctors often keep practicing

    This story looked at how effective medical boards are at stopping dangerous doctors from practicing medicine. We used a state database to identify the 25 Florida doctors with the most malpractice payouts since 2000. We then looked at how many of these doctors had been stopped from practicing by the Florida Board of Medicine. Turns out, just four of them lost their licenses - and three of those four only lost them after they had been arrested and charged with either drug trafficking or billing fraud. The fourth lost his license after he failed to comply with the terms of a lesser punishment. In other words, not a single one of them had been stopped from practicing due to poor medical care.

    Tags: malpractice; medical; Florida; medicine

    By Ben Eisler; Mark Strassmann; Matt Kugelman; Eric Bloom; Ryan Kadro; Chris Licht

    CBN News (Washington, D.C.)


  • Delinquent Mines

    In a joint investigation, NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that American coal and mineral mining companies that had failed to pay $70 million in delinquent mine safety penalties - most for years, some for decades, and some while defying federal court orders to pay - committed 131,000 violations, reported nearly 4,000 injuries and had an injury rate 50% higher than mines that paid their penalties, exposing a loophole in federal regulation and enforcement that places miners at risk.

    Tags: coal mining; safety; injuries; unpaid; penalties

    By Howard Berkes; Ellen Smith; Robert Little; Anna Boiko-Weyrauch; Robert Benincasa; Nicole Beemsterboer



  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for victims of domestic abuse, South Carolina is among the nation's deadliest states for women, who are killed at a rate of one every 12 days. The series exposed numerous failings, including limited police training, inadequate laws, a lack of punishment, insufficient education for judges, a dearth of victim support, and traditional beliefs about the sanctity of marriage that keep victims locked in the cycle of abuse. These factors combine in a corrosive stew that, three times in the last decade, made South Carolina the No. 1 state in the rate of women killed by men.

    Tags: domestic abuse; limited police training; inadequate laws; lack of punishment; victim support; marriage; womens' safety

    By Doug Pardue; Glenn Smith; Jennifer Berry Hawes; Natalie Caula Hauff

    The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)