Tags : government

Do police have to release the name of the officer involved in the Ferguson, Mo. shooting?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Ferguson, Missouri police department’s decision not to release the name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown. To get some legal answers, we turned to professor Sandy Davidson, who teaches communications law at the Missouri School of Journalism. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • While an incident report is considered an open record under Missouri law, that document must legally include: The date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or ...
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Cuomo administration policy allows state to delete emails of government employees

According to WNYC, "New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the governor pledged would be the most transparent in state history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government."

"Last year, the state started deleting any emails more than 90 days old that users hadn’t specifically saved — a much more aggressive stance than many other states. The policy shift was first reported by the Albany Times Union."

IRE Radio Podcast | Scandals at the VA

Welcome to another episode of the IRE Radio Podcast. We’re excited to announce that this podcast is now available on iTunes. Subscribe to have the latest episode automatically download to your phone, computer or tablet.

This week we’re talking about investigating veterans issues, past and present. Here’s the lineup:

  • Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic discusses how he helped break open the most recent scandal involving falsified wait-time data at the Phoenix VA hospital.
  • Aaron Glantz of The Center for Investigative Reporting talks about benefit backlogs at the Veterans Benefits Administration.
  • Michael Phillips of the Wall Street ...
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Multiple data sets used to track fugitives who go free

In December 2011, a man fleeing from a drug robbery shot and killed New York City police officer Peter Figoski. New York reacted with understandable outrage, particularly when newspapers there revealed that the officer’s killer, Lamont Pride, should have been in jail at the time.

The police in Greensboro, N.C. were already after Pride on charges that he had shot another man during an argument. But when Pride ...

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How to investigate subsidized tutoring

Florida's mandated tutoring program used taxpayer dollars to hire firms run by criminals, cheaters and profiteers. Last year Tampa Bay Times reporter Michael LaForgia used invoice records, complaint reports, audits and interviews to report on the industry, which goes virtually unchecked by state regulators.

In this series of clips LaForgia walks through how to investigate subsidized tutoring. To get started, LaForgia introduces Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and explains how it affects your community.

 

 

Step 1: Identify the contractors and find out who's getting paid.
(To view the presentation that goes with this audio, click here.)


 

Step 2: Run ...

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Sunshine Week: A look at what's coming up in freedom of information legislation

In many states, recent or pending legislation could impact the transparency of public information. Though several states are taking strides to make public records more open and accessible, a few seem to be adding obstacles to obtaining public information. Here's a breakdown of what's happened in recent months and what could be on the horizon.

AlabamaSB 191, which passed the Senate in February and is pending in the House, would amend the Open Meetings Act. The bill is chiefly concerned with regulating “serial meetings.” These meetings are used to deliberate an issue, but require no quorum or ...

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Behind the Story: The Boston Globe’s 4-year battle for secret settlement records

Todd Wallack

Boston Globe reporter Todd Wallack thought it would be a simple, short-term project to look into settlements made between the state of Massachusetts and some of its employees. After all, he’d done the same thing in California, uncovering an agreement between UC Davis and one of its administrators to avert a nasty lawsuit.

But the response he got from Massachusetts was completely unexpected.

“This is the first time I came across a state saying, ‘no, this is confidential,” Wallack said.

The records he initially received were heavily redacted. Officials had blacked out reams of crucial information, including names, dates ...

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Investigating tax credits, subsidies and incentives

By Zachary Matson

Each year local and state governments provide private companies with billions of dollars of tax credits, subsidies and other forms of incentives to mover or open new facilities in their communities. These deals are shrouded behind layers of quasi-public agencies, weak disclosure rules and secretive businesses, but rarely the economic benefits turn out as originally billed.

IRE board president and columnist David Cay Johnston and Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First provided insights into exploring these deals and their true costs to the public on a panel at the recent IRE Conference in San Antonio.

Johnston said ...

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Investigating political shenanigans

By Kolten Parker

Manny Garcia, of El Nuevo Herald, speaks during a panel entitled Investigating political shenanigans. Photo: Travis Hartman

Journalists eager to scoop political scandals should get out of the office and state house and into the bar.

A panel of three reporters with experience exposing political shenanigans shared advice and downplayed the notion that investigative stories always begin with an isolated journalist buried in chest-high stacks of financial reports.

Jay Root, a reporter for the Texas Tribune who followed Texas Governor Rick Perry on his failed presidential run last year, shared advice he was given as a young ...

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Making sense of the government surveillance news

News of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone records and internet server data is breaking fast. Yesterday The Washington Post and The Guardian released records that show the U.S. Government has been collecting a vast cache of data spanning audio and video chats, emails, and stored files under a surveillance program known as PRISM. The news comes just days after The Guardian released a copy it obtained of a secret court order for telecommunication company Verizon to provide the NSA with telephone records of millions of U.S. customers.

The revelations have dominated the news ...

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