Resource Center

Stories

 

 

 

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.

These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center.

 

 

 



Search results for "families" ...

  • State's Child Care Oversight: Minimal Monitoring, Lax Enforcement

    Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of Connecticut children live in households where all parents (or providers) work. And reliance on child day care services for those families tops 80 percent. Yet, how good is Connecticut in ensuring the state’s 1,505 licensed day care centers are safe and meeting state standards? Lisa Chedekel spent three months reviewing state inspection reports for many of the state’s licensed day care centers to answer that question.

    Tags: Connecticut; children; child day care services; state inspection reports; DPH inspectors; revoked license; suspended license; lax enforcement

    By Lisa Chedekel; Brittany Everett

    Conn. Health Investigative Team

    2013

  • Privacy on the Line

    “Privacy on the Line” documented security breaches and fraud in the implementation of a $2 billion federal phone subsidy for low-income families. We found tens of thousands of applicants to Lifeline, were put at heightened risk for identity theft when more than 170,000 sensitive records were posted publicly online. While researching companies participating in the Lifeline program, Scripps investigative reporter Isaac Wolf discovered a data breach touching residents of 26 states.

    Tags: security breaches; fraud; federal phone subsidy; low-income families; Lifeline; sensitive records; Social Security numbers; TerraCom;

    By Isaac Wolf; Jim Osman

    Scripps Howard News Service

    2013

  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    Investigative reporting by John Dougherty in Phoenix New Times demonstrated that multiple errors by the state of Arizona and the city of Prescott contributed to the deaths of 19 wild-lands firefighters in last summer's Yarnell Hill blaze. The revelations published in the Yarnell Hill fire articles came from information obtained through public-records requests and from well-placed sources. The original story discovered that a multitude of mistakes were made by state and local officials in fighting the fire, errors that contributed to the deaths of the 19 forest firemen at Yarnell Hill. The second story came after Prescott's wild-lands chief, in charge of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, alleged multiple misstatements of fact in the first story. This resulted in the correction of three errors, though no major finding of the original piece was proved wrong. (It should be noted that officials refused specific comment repeatedly before the original story was published, only coming forward later in an effort to dispute New Times' reporting.) The third story showed how a Forestry Division-commissioned report on the tragedy – which found that no official did anything wrong – was seriously flawed. Indeed, experts termed it a “coverup.” The fourth article examined an occupational-safety report supporting the paper's findings regarding state ineptitude at Yarnell Hill. The Forestry Division was fined more than $500,000 because of its flawed management of the fire, and lawsuits against the Forestry Division and Prescott's are in the works by families of the slain firefighters.

    Tags: wildfire; firefighters; fire; government; foia

    By John Dougherty

    Phoenix New Times

    2013

  • Cops. Cash. Cocaine.

    Rather than chase drug dealers out of town, police in the city of Sunrise invited them in. The suburban South Florida town has no great cocaine trafficking problem, but police found that selling kilos of the drug, at a discount, could make them millions. The Sun Sentinel exposed the undercover operation and provided a unique look at how far one local police department would go to use forfeiture laws to seize cash and assets from criminal suspects. Many of the deals took place in and around family restaurants, such as TGI Fridays, near the town’s main attraction, a sprawling outlet mall. Police often engineered the stings with the help of a professional lady informant. The newspaper found the city had paid her more than $800,000 over five years to target individuals and draw them into Sunrise. Cops working the stings had a financial incentive too: they made considerable overtime from forfeiture funds.

    Tags: police; drugs; cocaine; trafficking

    By Megan O'Matz, John Maines, Susan Stocker

    Sun-Sentinel

    2013

  • Together Forever: Unforeseen tragedies forever bind best friends

    This was an enterprise story about two young women who were best friends since childhood who died tragically within a few months in 2012. Our story included fire inspection reports, police reports, legal filings, interviews with friends and family members and the heart-wrenching audio from a 911 call in the aftermath of a house fire that killed the first young woman. The reporting found that one young man was blamed by fire inspectors for causing the fire, but he was not criminally charged.

    Tags: fire; deaths

    By Nate Rau

    The Tennessean

    2013

  • Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases

    In 1983, California congressman Henry Waxman helped pass the Orphan Drug Act to encourage research on rare diseases. The law offered financial incentives to drug makers in hopes they would tackle long-neglected disorders while breaking even or posting modest profits. Ever since, the Orphan Drug Act was lauded as government at its finest, praised for providing a boon in generating new pharmaceuticals. But by the act’s 30th anniversary, The Seattle Times found that the law’s good intentions had been subverted. In what amounts to a windfall, the pharmaceutical industry has exploited this once-obscure niche of the healthcare field, turning rare diseases into a multibillion dollar enterprise and the fastest-growing sector of America’s prescription-drug system. The series, “Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases,” uses extensive data from the FDA and NIH, along with financial reports from the SEC to show the financial incentives behind the system. For the human repercussions, the reporters found and told the stories of families struggling with rare disease.

    Tags: rare diseases; disease; pharmaceuticals

    By Michael J. Berens; Ken Armstrong

    The Seattle Times

    2013

  • The People vs. Brian Tacadena

    At 11:28 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2013, a Santa Barbara Police Department officer shot and killed 46-year-old Brian Tacadena after the officer encountered Tacadena while patrolling Santa Barbara’s Westside. “The People vs. Brian Tacadena” is an in-depth look into the sequence of events that led to the final moments in Tacadena’s life. The story shows how momentum toward tragedy can build slowly over time and then accelerate with fatal consequences over the course of one evening. Besides being a compelling portrait of a troubled man, the story also shows what can happen when mental health illnesses are left largely untreated. The story also examines the cloistered nature of the Santa Barbara Police Department, especially when it comes to reviewing its officer-involved shootings. The story includes a supplementary video featuring the police department’s public information officer discussing the case and how the police department investigates itself, a criminal law attorney specializing in police brutality, and interviews with Tacadena family members and community activists. The story also featured a slideshow of images from Tacadena’s life as well as documents related to his mental-health treatment while incarcerated.

    Tags: police; mental health illnesses; shootings

    By Sam Slovick, Joe Donnelly

    Mission and State

    2013

  • License to Swill

    The Better Government Association and NBC 5 found that numerous Illinois police and fire labor contracts allow police officers and firefighters to arrive at work with a blood-alcohol level up to and including 0.079 – just below 0.08, at which drivers are legally considered intoxicated in Illinois. Turns out such contract language is, in many cases, decades-old and carried from one labor agreement to the next with little thought. The hazards of first responders being allowed to work “buzzed” is obvious: They deal with life-and-death decisions – whether in burning buildings or while pointing guns at suspects – that demand good decision-making and proper reaction times that alcohol can compromise. Our story came on the heels of the City of Chicago approving a $4.1 million settlement to the family of an unarmed man fatally shot by an on-duty Chicago cop who had been drinking alcohol prior to his shift.

    Tags: police; blood-alcohol level; intoxication

    By Patrick Rehkamp, Robert Herguth, Phil Rogers, Katy Smyser, Lisa Capitanini, Richard Moy

    Better Government Association

    2013

  • Homes for the Taking: Liens, Loss and Profiteers.

    In the nation’s capital, predatory investors took hundreds of homes from the elderly and poor over tax debts as small as $44 in a devastating series of foreclosures unchecked by city leaders. In 2013, The Washington Post launched an unprecedented investigation of the District of Columbia’s century-old tax-lien program, finding investors who routinely tacked on thousands in fees to tax bills, turning $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts and making it impossible for families to save their homes. A 95-year-old church choir leader lost her house while she was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. So did a flower shop owner in a coma. “Homes for the Taking” outraged the District like few other scandals in years, with city leaders immediately approving reforms to protect the city’s most vulnerable homeowners.

    Tags: tex liens; foreclosure; local tax laws; predatory systems

    By Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Steven Rich.

    The Washington Post

    2013

  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.

    Tags: immigration; border patrol

    By John Carlos Frey; Esther Kaplan; Phil Longman

    Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute

    2013