Resource Center

Stories

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 rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



Search results for "working poor" ...

  • Trouble with Taxes

    The intricacies of the property tax system in Wisconsin are not unlike the federal tax code: complex, confusing and potentially quite boring. But reporters Rutledge and Crowe tackled the topic with determination and curiosity and uncovered a statewide assessment system rife with problems. Founded in the late 1700s on fairness, Wisconsin’s system is far from fair. In their investigation, Rutledge and Crowe used documents and large data sets to penetrate a subject that impacts every property owner in Wisconsin but that few understand. The disparities were hitting homeowners in their wallets, but most had no clue why. Among the discoveries: Assessors across Wisconsin violated the state constitution while regulators ignored the practice; in dozens of communities, 20% or more of taxes were paid by the wrong people; and assessors in 15% of municipalities were doing “poor” work by the state’s own definition.

    Tags: Property tax

    By Raquel Rutledge; Kevin Crowe

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    2014

  • Military Medicine

    A year-long investigation by The New York Times into the United States’ military hospitals revealed systematically poor care across major safety measures, showing that the trail of patients who died needlessly, babies who were permanently damaged and surgeries that left lifelong disabilities were not just unusual events, but part of a pattern of a medical system with systemic shortcomings. These are not VA hospitals: These are the nation's little-examined 55 military hospitals. This is not about war-related injuries, but routine medical care promised to those in the military and their families. The New York Times, by analyzing statistics, proved for the first time that crucial safety measures, like performing a root cause analysis when a patient unexpectedly dies or suffers from permanent disabilities that result from medical care, were not being done. The result of the work is that, in early fall, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced major changes to the way these hospitals provide care, and called for improved safety.

    Tags: Military hospitals; corruption

    By Andrew Lehren

    The New York Times

    2014

  • Where Have All the Lawyers Gone?

    “Where Have All the Lawyers Gone?” identifies the shortage of affordable and pro bono legal services in Santa Barbara County and the impact that shortage has on society’s most vulnerable segments such as the homeless and working poor, especially in dealing with civil rights abuses, law enforcement issues, domestic violence, evictions and other legal issues that compound into bigger problems without accessible legal help. The story found that only about one-third of the legal needs of the county’s poor (14 percent of the county’s population lives under the poverty line) were being met. Although the California State Bar recommends that firms provide 50 hours of pro bono work a year, lawyers in the area admitted “there’s never been a culture of pro bono” in the area, and the firms that do participate are more likely to work with non-profits than poor individuals. An investigation revealed a glaring deficit in pro bono and affordable legal care in a town with more than its fair share of nonprofits and foundations dedicated to social issue

    Tags: homelessness; pro bono; law; poverty

    By Karen Pelland, Joe Donnelly

    Mission and State

    2013

  • Hyderabad Debates Health Insurance Model as Public Hospitals Decay

    Andhra Pradesh province in southeast India is ground zero for a series of ambitious public health programs aimed to make affordable healthcare available to the rural poor. However, when these families travel to the city to find medical treatment, they must navigate a treacherous path through counterfeit pills, medical fraud, and hidden costs. An epidemic of farmer suicides bears witness to the heavy toll that unpayable medical bills incurred at private hospitals can take on families living hand to mouth in the Indian countryside. This tragedy has added desperation to the search for solutions. One such solution is the Aarogyasri Health Insurance Program, which uses India's ration card system to provide poor families access to healthcare. But is this program enough? The gleaming new medical equipment of private hospitals in Hyderabad may be open to poor families from the countryside thanks to programs like Aarogyasri, yet below this photogenic surface is a culture of medical fraud and ration card forgery. The changes in India's healthcare system must be more than skin-deep if farmers are to spend their earnings on food for their families rather than medical bills.

    Tags: india; healthcare; fraud; suicide; medical bills

    By Jonathan Cox

    New York Times

    2013

  • Cell Tower Deaths

    A ProPublica/Frontline analysis of every cell tower-related fatality since 2003 found that tower climbing has a death rate roughly 10 times that of construction, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in America. AT&T, in particular, had the worst track record with more fatalities on its subcontracted jobs than its three closest competitors combined. Yet cell-phone carriers’ connection to tower-climbing deaths has remained largely invisible, because climbers do not work directly for the communications giants whose wireless networks they enable. They are subcontractors – and a microcosm of a larger trend in American labor, in which companies increasingly outsource their riskiest jobs, avoiding scrutiny and accountability when workers die. Our reporting team penetrated deeply into the world of climbing, examining each of the 50 cell-tower deaths since 2003. Our reporters found climbers were often shoddily equipped, poorly trained and compelled to meet tight deadlines, sometimes by working through perilous conditions. And our investigation also revealed OSHA’s struggles to improve safety in tower climbing and fields like it. Labor experts and even former OSHA chiefs described the agency as woefully ill-equipped to handle enforcement issues that have come with the growth of subcontracting.

    Tags: Cell towers; subcontracting

    By Ryan Knutson; Liz Day; Travis Fox; Martin Smith

    ProPublica/Frontline

    2012

  • Crime and Human Organs

    Bloomberg Markets magazine shows how impoverished people from Belarus to Nicaragua have been humiliated, maimed, and killed by organ traffickers and the doctors with whom they work. The stories expose the activities of transplant rings that supply wealthy Americans, Europeans, and Israelis with kidneys extracted from the poor.

    Tags: Belarus; Nicaragua; Kidney; Organ Donation; Black Market

    By Michael Smith, Daryna Krasnolutsa, David Glovin

    Bloomberg Business News (Princeton

    2011

  • It Is What It Is

    Using hidden cameras, Jeremy and Jason Finley found that the city of Nashville was ripe with nepotism and poor work habits. What was found were several cases of elected officials hiring their family members for jobs that were never advertised and in some cases substantial raises were given.

    Tags: nepotism; elected officials; broadcast; hidden camera

    By Jeremy Finley; Jason Finley

    WSMV-TV (Nashville, Tenn.)

    2011

  • Fields of Terror-The New Slave Trade in the Heart of Europe

    People from poor countries are becoming modern day slaves as they are lured in on false pretenses and then being held captive. They were promised “good salaries, accommodations, and food”, but instead were beaten and threatened if they asked for these items. These people were becoming slaves and provided many local restaurants with fresh foods from the surrounding fields. Even though this was all happening, many people were continuing to get away with having these modern day slaves and no one was stopping them.

    Tags: Czech Republic; Eastern Europe; illegal immigrants; gangsters; criminals; labor; force; manual labor; work

    By Adrian Mogos; Petru Zoltan; Doru Cobuz; Vitalie Calugareanu; Vlad Lavrov

    n/a

    2009

  • Watching the Watchdogs

    The story documented how six tax investigators for the city of Pittsburgh were failing to do their job. Instead of looking for deadbeat businesses, they were shopping, taking four-hour lunch breaks or simply going home. Moreover, some of them got reimbursed for mileage on the days they were not working. Their jobs are especially critical in difficult financial times, when Pittsburgh is under state oversight because of its poor finances. The story had added weight because this was not an isolated case of one or two employees; the entire department has only eight tax investigators and this investigation found six of them goofing off.

    Tags: tax investigators; Pittsburgh; misconduct; city government;

    By Paul Van Osdol; Kendall Cross; Michael Lazorko

    WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh)

    2008

  • Houston Texas Bus Safety

    This story looks at two bus crashes in Texas to determine how companies are regulated. It also looks at how Houston operators who cater to Hispanic, working-class passengers are allowed to operate, some illegally, despite poor safety records and questionable licensing.

    Tags: buses; public safety; driving records; racial discrimination; bus crashes; chameleon carrier; driving offenses;

    By Terri Langford; James Pinkerton; Dane Schiller; Chase Davis; Matt Stiles; Julio Cortez

    Chronicle (Houston)

    2008