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" ...

  • 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

  • Cross-Border Killings

    In October 2012, a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico, killing an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy with 10 bullets through his body. The agents said he was throwing rocks. This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise questions about oversight and accountability of the U.S. Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed 6 Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more. One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. Another 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes with a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks. None of these cases has led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and U.S. courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens. Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – presently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the families who have lost their sons at the hands of U.S. agents with no follow up or acknowledgement from U.S. officials.

    Tags: border patrol

    By Mathieu Skene; Singeli Agnew; Carrie Lozano; Wab Kinew; Lincoln Else; Murphy Joseph Woodhouse; Judith Torrea; Andrea Schmidt; John Kane; Keith Wilson; Yousur Alhou; Paul Abowd; Mark Scialla; Omar Damascene; Jonathan Klett

    Al Jazeera America

    2013

  • SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI

    “SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI” (by Alex Quade) --- When the U.S. military officially departed Iraq due to the Status of Forces Agreement deadline, a little known part of the handover included leaving behind secret Special Forces’ “Team houses” — or “safe houses” — hidden around the country. One was built by Green Beret Staff Sergeant Rob Pirelli and his Operational Detachment Alpha -072, or “A-Team.” Pirelli, of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, built the combat outpost in a remote part of Diyala Province, near the Iranian border, in 2007. As a lone reporter, I was there at the combat outpost’s beginning stages, then spent 2-years covering these same, secretive Special Forces “A-Teams” on multiple deployments. During one combat mission, Green Beret Staff Sgt. Pirelli was killed in action during an ambush. His heroism saved his 12-Special Forces teammates, and the Iraqis his unit was advising. As a reporter, I made the commitment to follow Pirelli’s “A-Team” and his “Gold Star Family” for 5-years after he was killed; I also went back to Combat Outpost Pirelli repeatedly over the years. My 40-page, two-part, special online article (with photos and video), covered two different investigative, journalistic themes. First: over time, how Pirelli’s family and teammates found ways (both successful and unsuccessful) to deal with the loss; as well as an inside look at how Special Forces command/headquarters handle a soldier killed in action. Second: using the Combat Outpost as a metaphorical barometer, I documented the change in the Special Forces’ mission in that part of Iraq, as well as the U.S. military’s role, and the progress or regress into violence, over 5-years.

    Tags: military; special forces; green berets

    By Alex Quade

    The Daily Caller

    2013

  • Death in Singapore

    “Death in Singapore”, an investigation by the Financial Times, made global headlines in 2013 and shone a spotlight on security and technology safeguards as well as the vulnerabilities of workers in the vast and competitive marketplace of commercial and defense research. An original and painstaking reporting effort, the story investigated the hanging of Shane Todd, a young American electronics engineer who feared his work with a government agency in Singapore was compromising US security. This classic example of long-form journalism became one of the most read stories ever on ft.com, receiving more than half a million page views. It triggered demands from US senators for a more robust examination about whether or why Todd may have killed himself as well as questions from the US State Department. The FBI was brought into the investigation – which the family had been asking for – after the FT report.

    Tags: suicide; technology; national security

    By Ray Bonner; Christine Spolar

    Financial Times (United Kingdom)

    2013