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 "state records" ...

  • 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

  • Special Report: Florence Report

    “Florence Exposed” is a three-part Phoenix New Times investigative series by Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons that demonstrates how small-town political corruption had tragic consequences in the Arizona prison city of Florence. The events described in “Florence Exposed” were developed after a tip from Phoenix NAACP leader Oscar Tillman, who trusted the alternative newspaper above all other Phoenix-area media to investigate what he had been told by a Florence police officer about politically influenced corruption within the city department. The officer and his partner – by that time fired for trying to find out what really happened in a child's slaying and a teenager's alleged rape – then turned over records to the paper that were at the core of the reporting. By demonstrating how the department, either purposely or through gross ineptitude, botched the investigations of these crimes, Phoenix New Times laid the groundwork for what should be a police-misconduct probe by state or federal authorities – if officials in Arizona could be trusted to do the right thing.

    Tags: political corruption; prisons; police; rape

    By Monica Alonso, Stephen Lemons

    Phoenix New Times

    2013

  • Going Postal – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap

    CBRE Group. Inc. is a commercial real estate corporation which is chaired by Richard C. Blum, who is the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. In 2011, the United States Postal Service (USPS) awarded CBRE an exclusive contract to sell off postal real estate in cities and towns across America. Based upon examining hundreds of public records, Going Postal reported that CBRE has sold more than $200 million worth of post office real estate at under fair market values, often to the firm's clients and business partners. CBRE's contract with the USPS requires the company to obtain fair market prices for properties that it brokers on behalf of the public and to avoid such conflicts of interest.

    Tags: politicians; post office; real estate

    By Peter Byrne

    Independent Writer

    2013

  • Checks Without Balances: Big Pay in Tough Times

    This is a three-part series and continuing coverage based off of hundreds of thousands of pay records for state and local employees that found outsized pay and perks in lesser known agencies, pension spiking by community college presidents and five-figure bonus deals for some officials that had been done without the knowledge of elected boards.

    Tags: employment; pay

    By Dan Kane, David Raynor, Colin Campbell, Andrew Kenney, Steve Harrison, Caitlin Owens

    News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

    2013

  • Prosecution Tactics Under Scrutiny: "Let's Make A Deal."

    It’s more the rule than the exception: Criminal cases – be they relatively minor or serious felony matters – most often come to a close before any trial takes place. The bargaining process offers benefits to prosecutors and defendants alike, and often satisfies society’s calls for justice. In Louisiana, records show the overall “plea” rate is in line with national figures. About 90 percent of all criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. But in one suburban New Orleans parish, the WDSU I-Team found some remarkable discrepancies. Among them: More than 99.9 percent of all matters were settled outside of the courtroom. That staggering figure is juxtaposed against rising concerns related to crime in the community. And as the I-Team investigated further, reporter Travers Mackel discovered something else – something that caught the attention of the largest government watchdog group in the state, the parish president and the voters and taxpayers who ultimately support the office of the prosecutor.

    Tags: prosecution; criminal cases; law

    By Travers Mackel, Megan Spencer

    WDSU-TV (New Orleans)

    2013

  • Failures in the Golden State

    The Department of Toxic Substances Control oversees or has some part in regulating everything from nail polish ingredients to oil refineries, radioactive waste to metal recycling in California. At the heart of our series is the story of a department that’s divided, dysfunctional, and ineffective in fulfilling its mission to protect public health and the environment of the Golden State. We sifted through hundreds of pages of reports, memos, reviews, manifests and legal claims. We also analyzed thousands of records in the department’s hazardous waste tracking system to find out that more than 40% of the hazardous waste manifests in the DTSC’s database contain inaccurate information or are missing key details. Our reporting has held leaders accountable at the DTSC and compelled state lawmakers to call for an investigation of the department, including a legislative hearing this month (January 2014). Through a series of public records requests, we found out some of the department’s top leaders were investing in companies the DTSC oversees. Our reporting into the potential financial conflicts of interest prompted an investigation into deputy director Odette Madriago by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Ms. Madriago resigned from her position six weeks after our report aired. The FPPC investigation remains ongoing.

    Tags: the department of toxic substances control

    By Matt Goldberg; Vicky Nguyen; Elizabeth Wagner; Felipe Escamilla; David Paredes; Mark Villarreal

    KNTV-TV (San Jose, Calif.)

    2013

  • Spotlight on Shaken-Baby Syndrome

    The Medill Justice Project, through the hard-hitting reporting of student journalists, has taken on a largely overlooked and misunderstood area of the criminal justice system: shaken-baby syndrome. Scores of mothers, fathers, day care workers and other caregivers throughout the United States are being accused of violently shaking children, despite an emotionally charged debate in medical circles about the accuracy of the diagnosis. Our relentless examination of this issue—through published investigative articles, breaking stories, fight for public records, motions in federal court, multimedia features and other stories—has provided a deeper, nuanced understanding of this complex subject. Our groundbreaking investigations into shaken-baby syndrome have uncovered revelatory information, influenced criminal justice proceedings, impacted public policy and challenged government agencies to abide by the First Amendment.

    Tags: shaken baby syndrome; babies; criminal justice; diagnosis;

    By Christina Assi; Anna Bisaro; Rebecca Cohen; Anika Dutta; Stephanie Fuerte; Alex Hampl; Sarah Husain; McKenzie Maxson; Lauryn Schroeder; Megan Thielking; Diama Tsai

    The Medill Justice Project

    2013

  • High Price Keeps Sunshine Disclosures In The Dark

    This series of reports exposed evidence of nepotism in the state hiring process in Massachusetts and unfolded into a months-long battle to obtain state hiring records in which employees disclose relatives who are already working for state government. Since 2003, people hired by the state have had to fill out something called a Sunshine Disclosure. These disclosures were intended to shine light on the people getting hired to ensure that nepotism is not taking precedence over the hiring of the most qualified person for a position. But after we attempted to obtain Sunshine Disclosures for the office in which we documented questionable hires, the state sent us a bill for nearly $70,000. We did manage to obtain a smaller sample of Sunshine Disclosures and discovered one in four employees hired did, in fact, already have relatives on the payroll. As a result of our reporting, a state lawmaker is filing a bill to make Sunshine Disclosures more easily accessible to the public. .

    Tags: nepotism; government; foia; sunshine requests

    By Mike Beaudet; Kevin Rothstein; James Goff; Richard Ward; Allan DiMaio; Todd Krupa

    WFXT (Dedham, MA)

    2013

  • Police Misconduct on Long Island hidden by secrecy law and weak oversight

    A nine-month Newsday investigation found that Long Island law enforcement agencies have breached the trust of the citizens they are paid to protect by using New York State’s officer privacy law to hide egregious cases of police misconduct, ranging from falsifying reports and lying to shooting innocent people. Newsday obtained and published portions of previously secret internal affairs investigations, confidential deadly force investigative reports and more than 6 hours of recorded Internal Affairs interviews. The paper’s effort revealed dozens of previously secret misconduct cases and informed the public of the law that helps keep those records hidden from inspection. Without Newsday, the public might never have learned the scope and breadth of offenses being committed in secret by the officers sworn to protect them.

    Tags: foia; police; privacy laws; police misconduct; internal affairs

    By Gus Garcia-Roberts; Sandra Peddie; Adam Playford; Will Van Sant; Aisha-Al Muslim; Matt Clark; Nicole Fuller; Mark Harrington; David Schwartz; Matthew Doig; Jamshid Mousavinezhad; Erin Geismar; Saba Ali; Michael Aguggia; Matthew Cassella

    Newsday (New York)

    2013

  • Sysco’s Dirty Secret: Outdoor Food Sheds Across U.S. and Canada

    After receiving a tip that seemed too wild to be true, we began weeks of surveillance and hidden camera recordings to expose the hidden food practices of the world’s largest food distributor. As a result of our reporting, the company publicly vowed to make sweeping changes to ensure the safety of its food delivery to millions of people across North America. Our reports also prompted investigations by state, federal and Canadian health officials that are ongoing and are expected to result in significant monetary penalties.

    Tags: food; undercover

    By Matt Goldberg; Vicky Nguyen; Kevin Nious; Jeremy Carroll; Felipe Escamilla; David Paredes; Mark Villarreal; Michelle Nguyen; Raji Ramanathan

    NBC Bay Area

    2013