Tags : Behind the Story

Behind the Story: How NPR and ProPublica exposed problems with the Red Cross’ response to Superstorm Sandy

Justin Elliott of ProPublica

Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger and Laura Sullivan turned a vague tip about the American Red Cross’ inefficiency into a powerful report about the organization’s failings after Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy.

The joint project between ProPublica and NPR revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from donors in 2012 fell to organization leaders often more concerned with the appearance that they were helping than with actually providing aid. The team of reporters got the story through public records, internal emails and documents, and accounts from current and former disaster relief specialists.

The team ...

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Story Shorts highlights lessons from VA investigation

We’re back with another round of Story Shorts, our new video series highlighting investigative reporting tips and techniques. This week we’re going behind the story with CNBC’s Dina Gusovsky and Jeff Pohlman and highlighting lessons from their series "Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA".

We’ll be releasing a new video every day this week at 6 p.m. Central. The CNBC team will talk about how to work with anonymous sources, find and vet documents, and identify any potential hidden agendas.

Visit the Story Shorts page to see each new clip as well as our previous ...

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Behind the Story: New Jersey reporter finds inconsistencies in 2008 death investigation

Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter and NJ Advance Media wrestled out a compelling and untold story, let the digital presentation take the lead and came away with a “smashing” investigative success.

Using a system he developed to keep tabs on lawsuits involving state police, Baxter came upon the stifled story of Kenwin Garcia, a Newark man who died in 2008 after an altercation with police along the side of the highway.

Baxter embarked on a deep reporting project that resulted in 7,000 words, an 8-page special print section in The Star-Ledger and a digital presentation as rich as any Baxter ...

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New video series highlights reporting tips, techniques

This week we launched Story Shorts, a new series of web videos designed to help journalists share tips and techniques they’ve used on a variety of investigative stories. We’ve paired the minute-long videos with related resources (tipsheets, stories, webinars and audio) curated by IRE staff. We’ve even made a few of our tipsheets free for a limited time.

Our first set of clips features KSHB reporter Ryan Kath, who filmed a “Behind the Story” video for us earlier this year. Kath’s series, “Trail of Dirty Deeds,” exposed a widespread real estate fraud scheme and was a ...

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Behind the Story: How Chicago Magazine exposed the truth about the city’s crime rates

Chicago Magazine | June 2014

A story that helped change the way Chicagoans digest crime stats started with suspicion.

Immersed in a different crime-related piece, Chicago Magazine Features Editor David Bernstein and Contributing Writer Noah Isackson noticed something amiss with the statistics. When their trusted police sources voiced skepticism, the early trappings of an idea took hold.

In the spring of 2013, fresh off a year of 507 murders in Chicago, the most of any U.S. city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy started celebrating what the stats showed was a drastic turnaround in the amount of crime ...

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Behind the Story: How Kent State tracked student athletes missing class

By Karl Idsvoog, Kent State University

How do you get into college if you can only read at a grade-school level? Last January, CNN’s Sara Ganim answered that question in a powerful piece of reporting. In a few short sentences Sara personalized the reality of college athletics at the University of North Carolina as she told the story of learning specialist Mary Willingham. Sara writes: 

"Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork. He couldn ...

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Behind the Story: High-stakes testing in Norwegian schools subject to corruption

By Shazia Sarwar

A series of investigative reports by Verdens Gang (VG) in 2013 exposed that principals at all primary and secondary schools in Oslo, Norway’s capital, were given personal incentives and salary benefits in secret working contracts and on the basis of student results on national tests.

The investigation found a significant correlation between the number of students exempt from tests and the average scores. An associate professor at the University of Oslo reviewed the data and found that the more students exempt, the better a school’s score. Minority students and children with other special needs are ...

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Behind the Story: How KATC exposed problems with early animal euthanasia in Louisiana

Video by KATC-Lafayette

You don’t need to work in a large newsroom to pull off an investigative story with impact. Earlier this year KATC-Lafayette’s Tina Macias and Allison Bourne-Vanneck revealed that in 2013 a Louisiana animal shelter euthanized a quarter of the dogs that passed through its doors in less than four days – the hold time stipulated by the parish’s animal control ordinance.

Macias, an investigative producer, used public records requests to track down documents on intakes and euthanasia drugs. When the shelter tried to charge the station thousands of dollars, Macias looked up the law and ...

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Behind the Story: How KSHB-Kansas City uncovered a trail of dirty deeds

Video by Ryan Kath and John Woods, KSHB

KSHB-Kansas City’s year-long investigation into a widespread real estate fraud scheme started simple – with a tip from an observant neighbor.

But when reporter Ryan Kath started looking into the housing documents, he spotted a bigger problem. Someone had been stealing homes by forging signature of both the living and the dead. Often, Kath found, the homeowners had no idea.

It’s a crime that’s “shockingly easy,” and little oversight was in place to keep it from happening. The dirty deeds forced victims to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees ...

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Behind the Story: The Desert Sun’s investigation into off-duty Marine deaths

Brett Kelman | The Desert Sun

In 2011, three car crashes caught the attention of Greg Burton, executive editor of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California. The first involved a 100 mile-per-hour road race that led to a deadly wreck at a park. The other two also ended with fatalities. All three involved Marines.

The news got Burton wondering, why were so many Marines dying off duty?

The Desert Sun found that, since 2007, more Marines from the nearby Twentynine Palms military base have died off-duty and on American soil than in combat in the Middle East. A little less ...

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