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 "Chicago" ...

  • Unintended Consequences: Sex Offenders in Motels & Hotels

    In a six-month investigation, NBC5 Investigates found 667 sex offenders living at 490 motels and hotels throughout Illinois and nine surrounding states. Though many check in to these motels for a few weeks or months at a time, we found that approximately half of these offenders stay there for at least six months or more – and sometimes for years. With few exceptions in just a handful of towns across the country, it is perfectly legal for any registered sex offender to take up residence at a hotel or motel. Often these offenders have few other places where they can legally reside – because they can’t live near parks or schools, which dot most residential areas. There’s also somewhat of a trend away from funding for halfway houses and mental health re-entry facilities, where these offenders might otherwise go.
  • Better Government Association and WBEZ: TRAPPED

    In Chicago’s public housing for senior residents, something as simple as taking an elevator can be dangerous. The Better Government Association and WBEZ 91.5FM investigated how the Chicago Public Housing Authority failed to maintain safe operating conditions in dozens of elevators.
  • The Verge with The Investigative Fund: Palantir has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Predictive Policing Technology

    For the past 6 years, the data-mining firm Palantir — co-founded by Peter Thiel — has used New Orleans as a testing ground for predictive policing, Ali Winston reported for the Verge, in partnership with The Investigative Fund. Palantir has lucrative contracts with the Pentagon, U.S. intelligence and foreign security services. The partnership with the NOPD was similar to the "heat list" in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence. Yet, not only did the program not go through a public procurement process, key city council members in New Orleans didn't even know it existed.
  • Better Government Association: Recycling in Chicago

    Chicago, long notorious for mismanaging its recycling programs, allows a private city recycling hauler to divert tons of residential plastics and paper into landfills the company owns. The situation creates an unfair system that treats residents differently depending solely on where they live, costing taxpayers twice to handle the same materials and making Chicago the worst city in the nation in terms of its recycling rate.
  • Reason Magazine: Chicago Impounds

    This investigation centered on Chicago’s aggressive vehicle impound program, how it intertwines with civil asset forfeiture and the city’s attempts to shrink its budget deficits, the low standards of evidence required to impound a car, and the impact of hefty impound fines on Chicago’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents.
  • ProPublica Illinois: Driven Into Debt

    This series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • Nursing home staffing-related investigations

    More than 1.3 million Americans spend their final months or years in a nursing home and many suffer from inattention, poor care, or outright neglect. But just how much they suffer – and why many die as a result – was hidden until now. In a series of data-driven stories, Kaiser Health News revealed that tens of thousands are dying because the facilities are woefully understaffed and painful infections are routinely left untreated or poorly cared for. In the most horrific cases, patients are cycling in out of hospitals with open wounds or bedsores that trigger sepsis or septic shock, a deadly bloodstream infection that is the leading killer in hospital ICUs.
  • NPR, Medill, Chicago Reporter: Unequal Prison Discipline for Women

    An NPR investigation, with the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and The Chicago Reporter, included a first-ever analysis of state prison data to show that, across the country, women in prison are disciplined at higher rates than men—generally two to three times more often—for smaller infractions of prison rules.
  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”
  • BETRAYED: Chicago schools fail to protect students from sexual abuse and assault, leaving lasting damage

    In “Betrayed,” Tribune reporters for the first time quantified the staggering prevalence of sexual violence against students in a large U.S. school district. Using confidential records, innovative data analysis and sensitive interviews with young people, the team discovered and verified 523 times when police investigated a case of sexual assault or abuse of a child inside a Chicago public school in the last decade. Reporters told the wrenching stories of young victims and uncovered child-protection failures that extended from neighborhood schools to the district's downtown offices and the state capital. For years, media outlets attempted to measure the problem of sexual violence against students by examining the cases of disciplined educators or those convicted of crimes. But those efforts failed to account for cases where students are abused by peers or the adult abuser was not punished. By pursuing crimes against students that were documented in police records, the Tribune shed light on a hidden injustice. The reporting proved to be a catalyst for change, leading to massive reforms by district officials, 12 state reform bills and enforcement efforts by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.