Resource Center

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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" ...

  • The Record: Investigating the Port Authority

    Shawn Boburg's reporting on the Port Authority resulted in two eye-opening stories that garnered international attention: one that revealed the hidden origins of a secret deal involving the naming rights of the World Trade Center; another that unraveled the true cause of a vindictive traffic jam orchestrated by Governor Chris Christie's loyalists and directed at one of his political enemies. Boburg found that the naming rights of the World Trade Center, one of the country's most iconic symbols, was sold in 1986 to a nonprofit that was run by a retiring Port Authority executive. Guy Tozzoli made millions of dollars from the deal, which went unnoticed for decades until Boburg's story prompted an investigation by the New York State Attorney General. Boburg also produced a series of investigative stories that challenged the official line about lane closures near the world's busiest bridge, eventually uncovering e-mails that linked the closures to the governor's office and forcing Christie to apologize and get rid of key advisors. Aside from a series of news breaks that kept the pressure on for months, Boburg was also the first to report on the e-mails that sent shockwaves through the Christie administration.

    Tags: Chris Christie; World Trade Center

    By Shawn Boburg

    The Record (New Jersey)

    2013

  • What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?

    For eight hours a day, six days a week, two grieving parents stand on a South Georgia street corner with homemade signs, family photos and a question: “What Happened to Kendrick Johnson?” January 10, 2013, their 17-year-old son disappeared between classes at his Valdosta high school. The next morning, the three-sport star’s body was found upside down in a rolled mat in the school’s gym. Within hours of finding Johnson’s body, local investigators determined his death was an accident. A state medical examiner agreed and the case was closed. The teenager’s parents never believed the official story but their pleas for outside officials to investigate were ignored. CNN’s Victor Blackwell was the first television correspondent outside the Johnson’s small community to report the story. As other national and international news organizations began to take interest in the story, CNN continued to lead. Blackwell and CNN producer Devon Sayers literally traveled across the country searching for answers. They were the first or only team to report more than 40 major developments in the story. CNN has filed nearly two-dozen requests for open records. Despite strong resistance from local officials, CNN has exposed internal finger-pointing over withheld evidence and a compromised investigation, missing body parts and suspicious holes in school surveillance footage, which CNN successfully sued to obtain. After CNN’s more than 20 reports, each offering exclusive details, the Department of Justice launched a federal investigation into Johnson’s death and the sheriff’s handling of the case. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office also launched an investigation into a local funeral home’s treatment of Johnson’s corpse. Those investigations are ongoing. Beyond reporting the details of a bizarre and emotional story, CNN’s continued coverage of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson fulfills a core mission of journalism: It holds those in power accountable.

    Tags: None

    By Victor Blackwell

    CNN

    2013

  • Moms: Hospital Killed Our Kids

    The outside of the Kentucky Children's Hospital is all colorful paintings and smiling photos, but inside there's a dark secret. Connor Wilson was the first to die, on August 30, at six months old. His parents, while heartbroken, didn't think anything was amiss until another baby in the same ward, Rayshawn Lewis-Smith, died. Then they found out Waylon Rainey, also on the cardiac surgery floor, coded and was on life support and a fourth baby, Jaxon Russell needed a second surgery at another hospital to fix a heart surgery he'd had a Kentucky Children's. All of these events happened within eight weeks, after which the hospital closed its cardiac surgery program and placed its chief surgeon on leave. When the parents asked the hospital questions, the hospital wouldn't answer them. When a local reporter started asking questions, the hospital sued her. When the state Attorney General asked these same basic questions - how many pediatric heart surgeries they did, their mortality rates - the hospital refused to hand over the data. When the AG ruled they were in violation of state law by not releasing their data, the hospital appealed the ruling. Now the hospital says they plan to re-open their pediatric cardiac surgery program, and these parents are up in arms. How could the hospital possibly open back up with this kind of track record, without even releasing the most basic safety data, which many other hospitals release all the time? And why haven't state or federal regulators rushed in to stop the program from re-opening - they haven't even opened an investigation. Elizabeth Cohen investigates.

    Tags: Kentucky Children's Hospital; child abuse; cardiac surgery

    By Elizabeth Cohen

    CNN

    2013

  • Exhausted at School

    Gaze out the windows of John Marshall Junior High in Seattle and you will see cars and trucks whizzing by on the busiest freeway in the state, Interstate 5. John Marshall is one of 28 public schools and more than 125 day cares that InvestigateWest has found built within 500 feet of Washington’s highest-traffic roadways. That’s close enough to put children’s health at risk, say health researchers. For “Exhausted at School,” InvestigateWest combined data from multiple state agencies and pored over dozens of academic studies to understand the threat of toxic pollution and its effect on kids’ health at school. Our reporting immediately spurred Seattle Schools officials to action: they added a new policy to issue air quality alerts to principals, and announced plans to upgrade a decades-old ventilation system at John Marshall. Officials in Olympia and Washington, D.C., considered and then rejected the notion of banning or severely restricting construction of schools inside the pollution plume, according to interviews and records obtained by InvestigateWest. Meanwhile, state officials do not enforce rules requiring day cares to be built on environmentally safe sites. So schools and day cares continue to be built in the danger zone around freeways, and children pay the price – years after the dangers were conclusively proven. “Exhausted at School” is a collaboration between InvestigateWest and KING 5 Television.

    Tags: High school;

    By Olivia Henry; Kate Martin; Chris Ingalls

    InvestigateWest

    2013

  • Boeing’s Lobbying Campaign

    “Boeing’s Lobbying Campaign" uses public records to trace how The Boeing Co.’s lobbying killed a long-overdue correction to an obscure but important formula used to determine how much water pollution is allowed under the Clean Water Act. The lobbying by a Boeing senior executive, InvestigateWest showed, reached all the way to Gov. Christine Gregoire. After the Washington Department of Ecology had withstood challenges to its plans to tighten the water-pollution rules from the powerful timber and business industries during the 2012 legislative session, Boeing had the juice to quietly short-circuit those plans a few months later. The company went around Ecology to the governor, as InvestigateWest’s timeline of documents and emails made clear. Our reporting was carried in newspapers around the state, sparking reporting and editorials by other news organizations on the previously low-profile issue. Environmentalists also cited the series in a lawsuit against the EPA. Because we elevated this issue into public consciousness, reporters were all over the story when Boeing again tried to delay the changes in the 2013 legislative session, nearly causing a government shutdown. A new draft rule tightening the standards is due out in March 2014.

    Tags: Boeing; water pollution;

    By Robert McClure; Olivia Henry

    InvestigateWest

    2013

  • Wandering

    Six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander, and a quick rescue is critical: 60 percent of those who wander, if not found within 24 hours, are going to die. But in Washington, government belt-tightening has hindered efforts to better equip local law enforcement to handle missing-persons cases involving dementia, InvestigateWest learned. A first-ever analysis of media reports, search-and-rescue mission reports, and interviews with law enforcement by InvestigateWest found that at least ten seniors have died as a direct result of wandering in the last five years. In that group is Samuel Counts, 71, a father of 10 and a retired Vietnam War veteran whose case fueled this story’s narrative. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office waited six full days before enlisting a helicopter in the search, a delay that goes against search-and-rescue experts’ guidelines when someone is endangered. Even as the number of people with Alzheimer’s increases dramatically, no public record is routinely created in Washington when wandering is a contributing factor to death, and no state agency keeps a tally of these cases. Wandering behavior is predictable and training for law enforcement is available, but here in Washington, it takes a tragedy for anyone to pay attention.

    Tags: Alzheimer's diease; missing person

    By Jason Alcorn

    KUOW

    2013

  • Who’s the Grossest Grocer in New York?

    In our “Grossest Grocer” series, Patch journalists uncovered dozens of grocery stores that could sicken the communities we serve, and made a vast database of state records available to the wider public for the first time. To find New York supermarkets with a history of food safety problems and tell their stories, we exclusively obtained a state database of inspection records through a Freedom of Information Law request and protracted negotiation with the state. Our editors spent months analyzing millions of violations observed by state inspectors, conferring with experts, and verifying our finds with on-the-ground reporting. We published more than 70 articles in this series, and an interactive map with detailed data on all of New York’s retail food stores -- more than 33,000 businesses, from corner bodegas to major grocery chains.

    Tags: groceries; stores; supermarkets; grocery stores; food safety

    By Martin Burch; Henry Powderly; John Ness; Matthew Hogan; Kevin Zawacki

    Patch.com

    2013

  • DCS Under Fire

    DCS Under Fire is a collection of stories representing WREG’s coverage of problems at the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Our team began an in-depth investigation into the child welfare agency more than a year ago. The very agency charged with protecting the state’s most vulnerable had kids dying on its watch. We exposed unexplained deaths, questionable actions by case workers as well as failed technology and policies. Our continuous coverage raised concerns from parents, advocates and lawmakers. Since the start of our investigation, and later a court battle for access to public records, DCS has overhauled its staff and changed a number of policies and procedures to better protect children in its care.

    Tags: Department of Children Services; Welfare; Death; Abuse

    By Zaneta Lowe

    WREG-TV (Memphis, Tenn.)

    2013

  • Iowa Juvenile Home

    The stories initially examined the illegal use of physical restraints and long-term isolation cells at the Iowa Juvenile Home, an unlicensed and largely unregulated state-run facility that provides housing, schooling and treatment for children with serious behavioral problems. The Register discovered that state workers were routinely confining children as young as 13 to unfurnished, 10-foot-by-12-foot concrete-block isolation cells in the basement of the home’s schoolhouse. One girl spent almost a full year in one such cell. Court records showed the home had been using long-term isolation, sometimes in direct violation of a judge’s order, for at least 17 years. Former residents of the home, and their legal advocates, agreed to speak to the Register on the record, and on video, about the isolation cells and the manner in which they were used. Over the next five months,the Register published a string of exclusives that uncovered other abuses and failings within the home, leading to the governor's decision in December to close the 50-year-old facility.

    Tags: Iowa Juvenile Home; Children

    By Clark Kauffman

    Des Moines Register

    2013

  • In The Name Of The Law

    This 5-part series examines the secrecy surrounding police misconduct in Hawaii and the effect that lack of disclosure has on the public. In1995, after local college journalists had fought and won a court battle to gain access to police disciplinary files, the politically powerful statewide police union convinced the Legislature to keep the records out of public view. We wanted to explore the effects of this major public policy decision and, nearly 20 years later, determine if police and other government officials were doing a good job overseeing misconduct and ensuring that the public was being protected from bad cops. Since the public can’t scrutinize police behavior themselves, we wanted to see what safeguards are in place so we can be confident our police officers, with their extraordinary power over ordinary citizens, are professional and competent. It turns out that police officers throughout the state are regularly disciplined for egregious offenses -- violence, lying, even criminal convictions. But there’s no way to know if they are being effectively disciplined, and it appears police administrators are at the mercy of strong union contracts. Local police commissions and prosecutors either ignore serious cases or can’t do anything about them under the current system.

    Tags: None

    By Nick Grube; Patti Epler

    Honolulu Civil Beat

    2013