Resource Center





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 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 "working poor" ...

  • The Most Unequal Place in America

    To the IRE Award Judges: Income inequality has been the subject of countless news stories in recent years – but rarely do these stories go beyond numbers to explain to readers and viewers why the gap between rich and poor in the United States actually matters. And rarely if ever do the reporters behind those stories try to become part of a solution. CNN Digital columnist John Sutter and videographer Edythe McNamee traveled to America’s little-known epicenter of income inequality -- East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, which, according to census data, has the widest rich-poor gap in the nation -- to try to make this uber-story tangible for CNN’s readers. Their work was commissioned by CNN’s audience, which voted last summer on the five topics they consider to be the top social justice issues of our time. The vote and the stories on East Carroll Parish were part of CNN’s innovative Change the List project. The goal, as the name suggests, is to do reporting that could help bump East Carroll Parish off the bottom of the list for income inequality. It’s democratic journalism with a goal: Create real change in the world on behalf of the audience. Sutter and McNamee powerfully told the story of one woman, Delores Gilmore, who lives on the south side of Lake Providence, the body of water that neatly and cruelly divides rich from poor in her community. Gilmore, a single mom who works as an overnight prison guard, doesn’t know what life is like on the richer side of the lake, where landowners live in manicured estates with private tennis courts and docks. That story, “The most unequal place in America,” resonated with readers in a way other income inequality pieces haven’t. "I watched this video and read the article this morning sitting in my 1,400-square-foot house, on my iPad. By the end I was bawling,” one reader wrote in response to the stories. “I have been one of those that bemoaned government assistance and had that 'bootstrap' mentality. However, as your article suggests, how can that happen when there are places where there are no opportunities to be had?" In addition to commissioning this series, readers started online petitions urging politicians to address income inequality; uploaded and shared photos of lines that divide the rich from poor in their communities; and submitted iReports saying how their income makes them feel in modern America, where the middle class is increasingly hollowed out. Readers also asked how they could help non-profits in rural Louisiana. Dozens wrote personal e-mails to Sutter asking how they could help Delores Gilmore. A young woman from East Carroll Parish told Sutter she plans to start a non-profit organization to build a literal bridge across Lake Providence, because of the coverage. CNN proudly nominates John Sutter and Edythe McNamee for an IRE Award. Sincerely, Steve Goldberg, Senior Enterprise Producer, CNN Digital The most unequal place in America ‘Surviving’s about the best you can do’ How to help Lake Providence, Louisiana 10 heroes of Income Inequality, USA ‘Cross the gap’ on income inequality 7 ways to narrow the rich-poor gap 5 things the world could teach America about economic justice What is income inequality, anyway? CNN’s Change the List:

    Tags: Income inequality;

    By John Sutter



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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



  • 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


  • 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.)


  • 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



  • 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)


  • 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)


  • The Grim Sleeper

    Pelisek's story details a secret the Los Angeles police were shielding from the public: "that a serial murderer had begun killing Angelenos since 1985, taking a 13-year hiatus before recently resuming his bloody assaults almost exclusively in a poor, black sector of the city." DNA evidence linked a single killer to several murders of mostly young women, drug users and prostitutes. It was Pelisek that informed families of some of the victims that their daughters' murder was the work of a serial killer.

    Tags: police; serial killer; Los Angeles; body dump; murder; cold case; public records; police documents; court documents

    By Christine Pelisek

    LA Weekly