Small town in Ohio plagued by sex trafficking and local corruption

A team of Cincinnati Enquirer journalists spent more than a year in this small Rust Belt city two hours east of Cincinnati to investigate allegations of a sex trafficking ring. The findings corroborate what federal law enforcement agents first alleged four years ago – that a local defense lawyer and former city councilman lured women…

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IRE Radio Podcast | The Human Face of Heroin

Soaring heroin and opioid addiction rates have left journalists across the country looking for new ways to cover the crisis and make the statistics stick. On this episode, we talk to reporters at two papers who found innovative ways to humanize America’s heroin epidemic. Stephen Stirling of NJ Advance Media takes us on a tour…

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Paper makes audacious decision to highlight silent epidemic

By Susannah Nesmith, CJR Editor’s Note: This article first ran on Dec. 2, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. The Palm Beach Post made the bold decision to profile all 216 people who died of an opioid overdose in its coverage area last year, risking the wrath of victims’ families, some of whom were horrified…

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Going beyond stereotypes to report on substance abuse and addiction

By Jennifer Lu When writing about a topic as pervasive and complex as heroin addiction, the last thing you want to do is to get it wrong. At the 2016 CAR Conference, Stephen Stirling and Jacquee Petchel, who have reported extensively on this subject, shared their experiences and advice on reporting, quantifying and telling the…

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Behind the Story: How Reuters investigated the preventable deaths of drug-addicted babies

Duff Wilson Any good reporter knows that keeping your eyes and ears open to the world can spark an idea for an original investigation. That was the case for Duff Wilson, an investigative reporter for Reuters. Wilson came up with the idea for the project “Helpless and Hooked” after reading an article in a Massachusetts…

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How to examine fatal car crashes involving drunken drivers

Police typically conduct sober checkpoints around the holidays, especially New Year’s Eve. Add context to your stories about holiday safety and travel by looking to look at trends in fatal crashes where drugs and alcohol were noted as a factor. We’ll walk you through how to quickly gather statistics and come up with story ideas…

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From the IRE Archive: Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance”

Interested in learning more about the story behind the new movie, “Kill the Messenger“? Listen to this panel from the 1997 IRE National Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. titled “Can Investigative Reporting Go Too Far?”. In the early 90’s investigative reporter Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News dug into the CIA’s involvement of cocaine…

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News organizations file lawsuits against Missouri for failing to release execution drug records

Missouri’s failure to release records regarding the drugs it uses in executions keeps the public from providing oversight of the death penalty. That’s what the Associated Press and four other news organizations are arguing in a suit filed Thursday against the state. Another suit filed the same day by a reporter for St. Louis Public…

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Behind the Story: Maine pharmacists get licenses despite history of drug abuse

Would you feel safe if your pharmacist had lost his license because of drug abuse or theft, yet had regained it and was dispensing your prescriptions? What about if he had lost his license twice? Naomi Schalit and John Christie of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting found that since 2003, thirteen pharmacists with…

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The details of uncovering performance-enhancing drug abuse

T.J. Quinn leads discussion on “Performance Enhancing Drugs” as Michael Fish looks on. Photo: Travis Hartman. Major League Baseball continues to deal with its performance-enhancing drug issue and the fallout from lengthy suspensions to some of the games most prominent players, such as Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez. Want to find out how it got…

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