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 "Cell towers" ...

  • The Surveillance State of California

    The investigation centered around our discovery that at least seven California law enforcement agencies were using controversial high-tech cell phone tracking technology without the public's knowledge and no judicial oversight. They uncovered police from San Diego to Sacramento have been using fake cell towers, known as "Stingrays", for years and in complete secret. In fact, Sacramento judges and prosecutors had no idea the technology was being used until we approached them about the story. Grant applications obtained during our investigation showed law enforcement agencies used terrorism as the justification for purchasing Stingray technology, when in reality they were using the device for people suspected of far more routine crimes, including drugs and robberies.
  • Cell Tower Deaths

    A ProPublica/Frontline analysis of every cell tower-related fatality since 2003 found that tower climbing has a death rate roughly 10 times that of construction, making it one of the most dangerous jobs in America. AT&T, in particular, had the worst track record with more fatalities on its subcontracted jobs than its three closest competitors combined. Yet cell-phone carriers’ connection to tower-climbing deaths has remained largely invisible, because climbers do not work directly for the communications giants whose wireless networks they enable. They are subcontractors – and a microcosm of a larger trend in American labor, in which companies increasingly outsource their riskiest jobs, avoiding scrutiny and accountability when workers die. Our reporting team penetrated deeply into the world of climbing, examining each of the 50 cell-tower deaths since 2003. Our reporters found climbers were often shoddily equipped, poorly trained and compelled to meet tight deadlines, sometimes by working through perilous conditions. And our investigation also revealed OSHA’s struggles to improve safety in tower climbing and fields like it. Labor experts and even former OSHA chiefs described the agency as woefully ill-equipped to handle enforcement issues that have come with the growth of subcontracting.
  • Bad Reception

    Cities around the country are learning the best way to stop cellular companies from erecting numerous tall cell towers in their city is to mire the company in meetings and red tape. The article discusses how the cities, local residents, and cell phone companies see the issue and how it came about in the first place.
  • A Call for Help; Mad as Hell

    Forbes looks at the "crummy call quality" provided by the cell-phone industry. The two-story package finds that this results from too much competition in the sector, which has made cell-phone calls in America the cheapest in the world, but has also clogged the U.S. network and ruined the business of the largest carriers. The analysis reveals that "new cell towers are only being added fast enough to handle one-third" of the growth in customer rolls. Tables with data on poorly served cities and areas, as well as a ranking of the top carriers, are also included in the package.