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 "Cleveland" ...

  • So Close, Yet So Costly

    The Great Lakes is experiencing a water affordability crisis that has driven families into debt and led to thousands of people losing access to water. An investigation by APM Reports and Great Lakes Today examined the cost of water over the last 10 years in the six largest cities on the Great Lakes - Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit, Buffalo and Duluth. In the past decade water rates have been rising alarmingly fast, sometimes as much as 200%. As water gets more and more expensive, poor families and communities of color have been hit the hardest. Government run utilities have issued over 360,000 water shutoff notices in the past decade, concentrated in majority black and Latino neighborhoods.
  • How Much are you Overpaying in Property Tax?

    In 2016, an apartment building in Athens County took out a loan for $48.3 million. Yet it was paying property tax as if it were valued at $13.8 million, a whopping $35 million difference. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on this in 2018, it got us thinking: there's a lot of great data out there that we could put together to see how much this actually costs our readers.
  • WEWS-TV: Evading Justice

    The Ohio sex offender registry is supposed to help keep the public safe by providing access to information about convicts who have committed serious sexual offenses. But our extensive six-month-long investigation uncovered a loophole used by prosecutors and judges in one of the largest counties in the state that results in many accused rapists evading the registry. We found oftentimes the justice system allows suspects charged with rape to plead down to lesser and even completely unrelated charges – in a three-year period, there were more than 100 accused rapists who pleaded guilty to abduction, assault and endangering children, which allowed them to avoid registering as sex offenders. We also found many of those same defendants went on to be charged with another sexual offense after they evaded the registry, showing how this practice can put the public at risk.
  • WEWS-TV: Broken Trust

    In March 2018, Cleveland’s University Hospitals announced that a catastrophic failure at its fertility clinic resulted in a tank malfunction that destroyed 2,000 embryos – days after News 5 received information from a source and began digging into what happened. We found patients impacted by the failure who shared with us letters they received from the hospital, where University Hospitals claimed some eggs may be salvaged. Within weeks, however, the hospital admitted the situation was significantly worse. In fact, every single egg and embryo, 4,000 in total, was lost. As soon as the news broke of the failure, WEWS-TV understood the magnitude of this failure for the patients. The entire newsroom mobilized to uncover how this could happen and hold hospital officials accountable.
  • Heroin Hits Home: A Search for Answers

    Ohio is ground zero of the heroin/opiate epidemic. More people die from overdoses in our state than any other (including California, which has three times our population.). WJW-Cleveland has covered the rise of the epidemic for years, but pivot here to where they think, at times, investigative journalism should go: searching for answers to problems that they reveal. In this case, those problems include: 1) a government policy that encourages doctors to prescribe more opiates in the middle of a heroin crisis; 2) a system that, on the federal level, treats marijuana very differently from opiates - many patients and some lawmakers believe legalized medical marijuana may well reduce the opiate epidemic; 3) a prioritization of public health policy that seems upside down: why is more money given to diseases that kill few Americans compared to one that is on track to become a "Vietnam" every year:? The DEA estimated 47,000 Americans would die from an overdose in 2016. Given that incredible number, they think that just reporting on the crisis as reporters do car accident deaths is today insufficient journalism. So we set out in a prime-time program to search for answers.
  • CBS News: Rape Kit Investigation

    Following the CBS News series that exposed more than 20,000 untested rape kits nationwide, Nancy Cordes revisited the Cleveland Police Department which told CBS they “had no idea how many kits they had and would not count.” Since this piece, they have found over 5,000 untested kits. A new county prosecutor, Tim McGinty, met with the State Attorney General to get funding to test ALL of the kits and conceded that mistakes were made and urged officials to dig into the “goldmine” of kits. After testing half of the kits they indicted over 200 rapists, a third of them are serial rapists. Our story broke the news that other cities had major problems with untested kits. We partnered with Joyful Heart Foundation to test all kits to break the news that some cities test 100% of their kits, but Las Vegas only tested 15% and Tulsa, Oklahoma has 3,400 untested kits. Since our story, Nevada Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, announced plans to tackle the backlog as one of his tasks in the New Year.
  • Reinvestigating Rape

    The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com have been reporting on rape kit testing for five years. They put their first public records request in to the Cleveland police department in 2009 and have followed up every step of the way as kits in thousands of rape cases have been counted, submitted for testing and as rape cases have been re-investigated leading to more than 240 indictments, at least a third of them in serial rape cases.
  • Money Down the Drain

    In Money Down the Drain, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporters explored whether there is a less costly, greener alternative to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s $3 billion plan to manage stormwater and sewage by boring giant tunnels beneath the region. The series mapped the district’s history of favoring so-called “gray infrastructure” to comply with federal clean water laws and debunked sewer officials’ claims that green technologies – such as water retention ponds - would inherently be more costly than tunnels. The reporters researched the efficacy of alternative sewer management plans and visited Philadelphia, considered by many to be leading a movement by U.S. cities considering greener solutions to their messy sewage overflow problems. The four-part series concluded with an examination of potential opportunities to transform large expanses of vacant property in Cleveland into park-like stormwater retention features. The team did not set out to prove that green infrastructure is superior to tunnels. Rather, they aimed to expose the district’s failure so far to consider alternatives that officials in other cities believe could save their ratepayers millions – if not billions – of dollars, while driving home to readers just how much the tunnels will cost them. Within a month of the series’ conclusion, sewer district officials announced that they would spend $900,000 on green projects near a major road expansion program and pledged to study the possibility of replacing large stretches of the planned tunnel with green infrastructure.
  • Cleveland Clinic cases highlight flaws in safety oversight

    A three-month Modern Healthcare analysis of hundreds of pages of federal inspection reports reveals the 1,268-bed Cleveland Clinic Hospital spent 19 months on “termination track” with Medicare between 2010 and 2013 as a result of more than a dozen inspections and follow-up visits triggered by patient complaints. The Cleveland Clinic is far from alone in facing the only sanction the CMS can apply to hospitals when serious safety problems and violations of informed consent rules are brought to light by patient complaints. An analysis of Medicare inspection data found that between 2011 and 2014 there were at least 230 validated serious incidents— dubbed “immediate jeopardy” complaints—that led the agency to threaten hospitals with losing their ability to serve Medicare patients unless they immediately fixed the problems. Overall, there were at least 9,505 CMS complaints lodged in that time against 1,638 hospitals, which included low-severity “standard level” violations; midlevel “condition level” violations; and the less common but most serious “immediate jeopardy” complaints. Only the most serious and condition-level complaints can lead to threats of being cut off from government funding. Only in very rarest of circumstances has the CMS followed through on the threat. The CMS’ ultimate goal with hospital inspections “is to ensure compliance with Medicare rules, not close down hospitals that are essential to local communities,” a CMS spokeswoman said.
  • Poor Health An occasional series about the barriers to health and health care for low-income urban Americans

    Poor Health was the result of a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and faculty and students from Marquette University. Both papers published the series, which had three major parts. The backbone of the series is a set of interactive maps that shows that health care systems have closed hospitals in poor communities in the major U.S. metropolitan areas while opening new facilities in more affluent areas, often communities that already had hospitals; that the residents of the communities in which hospitals closed were less healthy than their more affluent counterparts, and that communities in which hospitals closed were much more likely to be federally designated "physician shortage areas." than communities that retained or gained hospitals. In addition, reporting in several cities shows the health care challenges among the urban poor, the results of those difficulties and the economics that drive the unequal distribution of health care. The final part of the series focuses on solutions. A major story on the effort in Oregon to improve health care for Medicaid recipients while lowering costs is the centerpiece; other reporting on innovative approaches to health care in poor areas includes programs in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Indianapolis.