International collaboration enhances investigation into Canadians’ role in Cuba’s child sex market

The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister publication of the Miami Herald, recently collaborated on an investigation that found Canadians are travelling to Cuba in surprising numbers to sexually exploit young people trapped in the socialist country’s underground sex tourism industry. Havana’s conspicuous scenes of street-level prostitution are the public face of a hidden, sordid trade…

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Remembering journalist Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer, a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 as a foreign correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, died this week from complications of lung cancer. Cramer’s writing career spanned politics and sports, and in addition to the Inquirer his work appeared in magazines such as Esquire and Rolling Stone. Cramer authored several books, including What It…

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Behind the Story: The big business of ‘green’ buildings and LEED certification

Can a 50-story Las Vegas hotel be environmentally-friendly?  This is the question USA Today reporter Tom Frank sought to answer when he began reporting on the increase in construction of so-called environmentally friendly buildings.  Through his investigation, Frank found that green commercial construction has increased.  Non-profits are behind the movement, but few have assessed the…

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Behind The Story: Comparing databases on bullying

Students head to lunch at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs. The school district reported 58 alleged incidents to the state in five years, arguably a low rate for an urban district of 9,000 students. David Purdy/The Register In reporting, timing is everything.  For Des Moines Register reporter Kyle Munson, the topic of bullying in…

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Document Cloud, Overview help AP investigate vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s record

Jack Gillum of The Associated Press recently published a story showing that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has relied on many of the programs he’s criticized and suggested cutting. The report wouldn’t have been possible without tools like DocumentCloud and Overview, Gillum said in a post on the Overview project’s website. DocumentCloud enabled Gillum to analyze, annotate…

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Investigating charities calling for disaster relief money

In the wake of Sandy’s destruction, countless efforts will be made to help victims. Already, ABC/Disney has designated a “Day of giving,” the National Football League and it’s players association has pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and iTunes is directly accepting donations. Countless calls will be made for the public to donate to charities large and…

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Seeking communications between the White House and Department of Labor

Transparency Watch is an occasional series from IRE tracking the fight for open records. If you have a story about a quest for public records you’d like to share, email us at web@ire.org. This past summer, I reported for The Oregonian on the issue of child labor on farms, specifically the health and safety risks of such work and…

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State of New Jersey sues itself over release of records

Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog reports that the State of New Jersey is suing itself over a possible release of records to the website. Lagerkvist reports that on Oct. 15, the state attorney general filed a motion seeking to stop the state Government Records Council from reviewing files, which on Aug. 31 had ordered state…

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Behind the Story: The San Diego port, altered public records and interactive presentation

San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is home to a rare deep water port that’s valuable to the maritime industry, but for the last ten years, developers have argued that the area should be transformed into an entertainment district.  When two businessmen responsible for running the U-T San Diego began promoting the stadium, Brooke Williams…

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Spreading computer-assisted reporting techniques in Latin America

By Mc Nelly Torres Víctor Hugo Michel is excited and overwhelmed. He hasn’t stopped thinking about all the stories he will be able to report and write using the data analysis and investigative tools he learned this past weekend at the IberoAmericana University in México City. “I never thought I could organize data, rank it and compare it…

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