Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Berens" ...

  • Suffering in Secret

    Illinois steered thousands of its poorest and most vulnerable adults with disabilities into less expensive private group homes and cloaked harm and death with secrecy and silence. The Tribune exposed flawed investigations (two cases were reopened) and revealed how Illinois had publicly undercounted abuse and neglect cases for five years. The Tribune identified 1,311 cases of harm since July 2011 and tracked at least 42 deaths in group homes or their day programs over the last seven years. Additionally, the Tribune uncovered a secretive state practice that allowed group home employees to police their own businesses. The Tribune also detailed a state auction in which group home executives raised hands to select individuals with disabilities to be moved from state facilities into the community. For the first time, the Tribune circumvented state secrecy to show that many group homes were underfunded, understaffed and dangerously unprepared for new arrivals with complex needs.
  • Sell Block: The empty promises of prison labor

    Our state’s glossy marketing brochures and polished YouTube videos told a story that everyone wanted to believe: Washington Correctional Industries, a for-profit arm of the state prison system, would employ inmates in its factories to make goods for government agencies while paying for itself. The program would teach prisoners new skills so that after release they’d more easily find jobs, thereby lowering crime. It was a wonderful success story, but, unfortunately, it was mostly untrue. Behind the nation’s fourth-largest inmate labor program, our reporters found a broken system that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, charged exorbitant markups on goods that state agencies are required to buy, and taken jobs from private businesses that can’t compete with cheap prison labor. “Sell Block: The Empty Promises of Prison Labor” is the first investigative project about this growing industry
  • Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases

    In 1983, California congressman Henry Waxman helped pass the Orphan Drug Act to encourage research on rare diseases. The law offered financial incentives to drug makers in hopes they would tackle long-neglected disorders while breaking even or posting modest profits. Ever since, the Orphan Drug Act was lauded as government at its finest, praised for providing a boon in generating new pharmaceuticals. But by the act’s 30th anniversary, The Seattle Times found that the law’s good intentions had been subverted. In what amounts to a windfall, the pharmaceutical industry has exploited this once-obscure niche of the healthcare field, turning rare diseases into a multibillion dollar enterprise and the fastest-growing sector of America’s prescription-drug system. The series, “Pharma’s Windfall: The Mining of Rare Diseases,” uses extensive data from the FDA and NIH, along with financial reports from the SEC to show the financial incentives behind the system. For the human repercussions, the reporters found and told the stories of families struggling with rare disease.
  • Glamour Beasts: The dark side of elephant captivity

    The zoo industry claims that elephants are thriving inside U.S. zoos. But that’s not true. It never has been. The Times found that elephants are dying out inside zoos. For every elephant born, on average two others die. Just 288 elephants are left inside 78 accredited U.S. zoos. Captive elephants may be demographically extinct within 50 years – there won’t be enough females left to breed. The Times conducted a first-of-its-kind analysis of 390 elephant fatalities for the past 50 years. In a desperate race to make more baby elephants, Seattle’s Woodland Park has tried to artificially inseminate their Asian elephant, Chai, at least 112 times, sometimes adopting crude and reckless procedures. As nearly two dozen zoos have shutdown or plan to close elephant exhibits, nonprofit sanctuaries with thousands of acres represent one option for retired or unwanted elephants. But a zoo industry trade group is fighting a bitter battle to thwart sanctuaries and punish zoos that give up their elephants.
  • Glamour Beasts: The dark side of elephant captivity

    The zoo industry claims that elephants are thriving inside U.S. zoos. But that’s not true. It never has been. The Times found that elephants are dying out inside zoos. For every elephant born, on average two others die. Just 288 elephants are left inside 78 accredited U.S. zoos. Captive elephants may be demographically extinct within 50 years – there won’t be enough females left to breed. The Times conducted a first-of-its-kind analysis of 390 elephant fatalities for the past 50 years. In a desperate race to make more baby elephants, Seattle’s Woodland Park has tried to artificially inseminate their Asian elephant, Chai, at least 112 times, sometimes adopting crude and reckless procedures. As nearly two dozen zoos have shutdown or plan to close elephant exhibits, nonprofit sanctuaries with thousands of acres represent one option for retired or unwanted elephants. But a zoo industry trade group is fighting a bitter battle to thwart sanctuaries and punish zoos that give up their elephants.
  • Methadone and the Politics of Pain

    Since 2003, at least 2,173 people have fatally overdosed on methadone, a narcotic painkiller that is both cheap and unpredictable. Washington steers people with state-subsidized healthcare -- most notably, Medicaid patients -- toward the drug in order to save money.
  • Methadone and the Politics of Pain

    The Seattle Times has found that since 2003, at least 2,173 people in Washington have fatally overdosed on methadone, a narcotic that is both cheap and unpredictable. More so, Medicaid recipients account for about 8% of Washington's adult population but 48% of the methadone deaths.
  • Seniors for Sale

    A look into Washington's adult homes for vulnerable adults reveals that thousands of elderly were drugged into submission or left without proper medical treatment for weeks by amateur caregivers. At least 236 deaths were believed to be the result of neglect or abuse in the homes. To reduce the state's Medicaid burden, thousands of nursing-home residents were relocated to less-expensive homes which brought harm to many of the adults.
  • The Evidence Gap

    The nations' medical bill last year exceeded $2.7 trillin -- nearly as much as the projected total cost of the Iraq war. If it were medical money well spend, there might be few cries to "reform" the American health care system. But by some estimates, one-third or more of the medical care received by patients in this country may be virtually worthless. The nation is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars each year on superfluous treatments -- money that otherwise could by spent, for example , on providing health insurance for every child, woman and man int his country who currently have no coverage. A team of science and business reporters from The New York Times set out to explain how and why the United States is spending so much on health care with so relatively little to show for the money, They discovered a gaping chasm between scientific evidence and the practice of medicine. In an in-depth series of articles, told through real doctors and patients, and based on information they dug up that was frequently unflattering to medical providers, companies and regulators, the Times team documented many disturbing instances of "The Evidence Gap."
  • Culture of Resistance

    The Seattle Time analyzed millions of computerized hospital records, death certificate and other documents to track the swath of one of the nation's most widespread, and preventable, epidemics. In its investigation, the Times gained access to state files that revealed 672 previously undisclosed deaths attributable to the infection. The Times also found that in Seattle's largest public hospital, some patients who are infected with contagious MRSA are roomed with non-infected patients because of overcrowding. In at least a dozen cases, the Times proved that death certificates were inaccurate or incomplete when it came to MRSA.