Tags : business

Behind the Story: The Indianapolis Star’s probe into the billion-dollar deer farming industry

Ryan Sabalow

It’s like a gold rush. There’s money to be made, but the cost of those riches is a host of harmful, unintended consequences.

A recent Indianapolis Star investigation uncovered evidence linking lucrative deer farming operations to the spread of invasive lice and diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease in wild deer populations. The detailed story, told in five chapters each accompanied by a video, chronicles the rise of commercial deer farming from one Amish farmer with pet deer to the profitable industry that exists today.

“No one really saw this coming,” said Indianapolis ...

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Staying on the paper trail of a major business

By Zachary Matson

Businesses may control the world, but they also leave paper and people trails everywhere they go. Resources as basic as a company’s website and resources as complex as analytic tools created by financial firms can be used by journalists to tell important stories about what public and private companies are up to.

Reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Center for Public Integrity shared their secrets for compiling information on companies and piecing together narrative that tells compelling stories. They stressed using SEC filings, court documents, investor resources, patents and trademarks, regulatory filings, campaign ...

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Atlanta-area banks missing tax payments

With a housing market once dubbed “ground zero” for mortgage fraud, Atlanta is still very much in the midst of the foreclosure crisis.

Even the nicest neighborhoods have been hit hard; the anecdotal evidence is everywhere. In poorer neighborhoods, entire blocks are deserted.

We initially had envisioned a series of reports quantifying the number of abandoned homes in a five-county area and explaining the reasons these houses sit neglected.

We brainstormed about which records would indicate a house had been abandoned.  We requested past due utility bills, code enforcement violations and unpaid property taxes. In Microsoft Excel, we built individual ...

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Apply now for agribusiness reporting workshop

Navajo boys plow a corn field on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico, date unknown. Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration.

IRE and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting are seeking applicants for an all-expenses paid workshop on how to cover agribusiness in the Midwest.

The workshop, held from May 30 to June 2 in Champaign, Ill., informs on how to cover the growing impact of corporate agribusiness, along with topics of droughts, corporate-funded research, government subsidies and insurance and commodities trading. It is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Educators, reporters and editors from the ...

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Wednesday wrap-up: Breaking local stories with economic data

Wednesday was a busy day preparing for the start of sessions on Thursday, but one panel was already under way -- “Breaking Local Stories with Economic Data,” hosted by the (Sponsored by Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism).

Paul Overberg of USA Today and Thomas Dall and Jeannine Aversa of the Bureau of Economic Analysis shared tips on using data to uncover local economic trends that set your reporting apart.

The release of the five-year Economic Census provides a timely opportunity to track changes between 2007 and 2012.

Here’s a quick snapshot from the Reynolds Center post of ...

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Covering the repurchase market and shadow banking

Veteran journalist Mary Fricker has put together a guide for the Reynolds Business Journalism Center on how to cover the repurchase market and shadow banking, which she says is "inherently unstable. It triggered the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. It’s a key reason that our recovery is weak. Yet in 2008, when the financial markets were collapsing, no one I knew had ever heard of it, including me. Now that’s a great story.”

The following elements are part of Fricker's coverage  guide:

Fricker has also helped put together ...

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Resources for covering the federal budget, fiscal cliff

As the White House and Congressional Republicans inch toward an agreement before the fiscal cliff deadline, the opportunity remains for digging deeper into the federal budget and the impact of a deal -- or lack of deal -- on both the country's broad economic health and local communities. Find help in these links and resources.

Econocheck
A collaboration between IRE and the Sunlight Foundation, Econocheck is free to both members and non-members. It offers a wealth of data for covering the economy, including the following topics:

  • Jobs and Employment
  • Taxes, Government Finances and Debt
  • Health Care and Insurance 
  • Prices and Inflation ...
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Behind the Story: Using tips from sources, data and documents to uncover inflated hospital prices

Chemotherapy PricesOn Thursday, The Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer in Raleigh won bronze in the Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, funded by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, for their series "Prognosis: Profits," in which the reporters dissected the finances of large healthcare institutions and discovered inflated prices, lawsuits against thousands of needy patients and minimal charity care to the poor and uninsured -- all practiced contradicting the core missions of the hospitals.

Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch ...

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IRE members among Barlett & Steele Awards winners

The New York Times, USA Today and a joint project by The Charlotte Observer and The Raleigh News & Observer were winners in the sixth annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism.

The awards are funded by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and named for the investigative team of Don Barlett and Jim Steel, who won two Pulitzer Prizes among numerous other awards. This year's winners include:

GOLD
“Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart after Top-Level Struggle,” by David Barstow of The New York Times, received the top gold award of $5,000 ...

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Store owners slip past USDA ban

The store owners had already been caught engaging in fraud. They’d been busted swapping food stamps for small amounts of cash and as punishment, permanently ejected from the federal food stamp program.

But an examination of state and local ownership records told a different story. Dozens of store owners, using false pretenses, quietly rejoined the U.S. Department of Agriculture program. The USDA failed to vet the applications, so the merchants were able to slip back in and continue to shortchange customers and taxpayers, who lose an estimated $330 million a year.

That was the takeaway of a computer-assisted ...

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