IRE Radio Podcast | The Graduates

On high school graduation day, the future looks bright, especially for Boston’s valedictorians. But as years pass, things come to look quite different for the city’s top students. A quarter of them didn’t finish college within six years. Many wanted to be doctors, and today, none of them are. On this episode, Meghan Irons and…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Reaching Behind Bars

In 2016, nearly 2.2 million adults were behind bars. If that were a city, it would be the nation’s fifth largest. That’s a critical community and one journalists often struggle to reach. On this episode, we’ll be exploring ways journalists can amplify the voices of inmates. The Marshall Project’s Eli Hager discusses the nonprofit’s popular…

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IRE Radio Podcast | The Dean’s Double Life

An anonymous tip led the Los Angeles Times to a shocking revelation about the University of Southern California’s medical school dean, an internationally renowned physician. Faculty and staff had complained for years about dean Carmen Puliafito’s conduct, but it wasn’t until the Times uncovered his secret drug use and partying that he was removed from…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Vouching for Education

President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary caused quite a stir. Betsy DeVos barely passed her senate confirmation hearing, sparking protests from teachers and education advocates across the country. Their biggest complaint? Her support of something called school vouchers or scholarships. These programs give students public money to attend private schools. On this week’s episode,…

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Tips for digging into special education

Mining data and digging for documents can be powerful tools for finding families who may not be getting the best special education services. David DesRoches of WNPR in Connecticut, Brian Rosenthal of The New York Times and Heather Vogell of ProPublica shared this tip and more during their IRE Conference panel, “Investigating special education.” “Remember…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Not-So-Special Education

If there’s a sweet spot in investigative journalism, Brian Rosenthal found it. His investigation into special education in Texas schools managed to pull back the curtain on a policy that was felt by thousands of students, teachers and parents – and was understood by none. Brian’s reporting for the Houston Chronicle revealed that state officials…

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Report on the student debt crisis with our new simplified database

Student debt is quickly becoming a national crisis. But reporting on student loans and college finances has always been thorny, especially when dealing with complicated bureaucracies and patchwork data. Earlier this year, for the first time ever, the Obama Administration released a comprehensive intersection of student population, college performance and “outcome” data, measuring with precise…

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Hold grown-ups accountable when kids fail, and other tips for covering schools

By Moriah Balingit Covering schools can be grueling and it can be easy to get caught up in the mundane. At an IRE Conference panel, Dallas Morning-News reporter Tawnell Hobbs, Tampa Bay Times reporter Michael LaForgia and University of Missouri graduate fellow Francisco Vara-Orta offered their advice on how to dig deep on the schools…

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A big investigation of segregated schools gets big results

By Susannah Nesmith, CJR Editor’s Note: This article first ran on April 13, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. It’s been eight months since the Tampa Bay Times rolled out an investigation into five elementary schools in Florida’s Pinellas County that had become “Failure Factories”—almost exclusively black, with some of the worst test scores in the…

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How two court rulings involving universities breathe new life into the right to know

By Jonathan Peters, CJR.org Editor’s Note: This article first ran on March 23, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. Sunshine Week brought some welcome news for transparency advocates this year: Two state courts ruled, in suits brought by news organizations, that freedom-of-information laws require private entities to disclose their records if they perform a…

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