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 "Columbia" ...

  • Education Grant Debacle Fixed: Teachers to Get Millions Back After NPR Investigation

    NPR’s Chris Arnold and Cory Turner started digging into a Department of Education grant program after spotting a brief mention in a broader lawsuit. What they uncovered was shocking: a program gone horribly wrong for thousands of public school teachers. "It's ridiculous; it's mind-boggling. It's been two years of torture," was how teacher Kaitlyn McCollum of Columbia, Tenn described it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The program has a noble goal - to encourage aspiring young teachers like McCollum to work in the nation’s most disadvantaged communities. They agree to teach a high-need subject, like math, for four years in a public school serving low income families. In return, they get grants to pay for their own education. But the reporters found that’s not how it worked out at all. Thousands of teachers had their grants unfairly converted to loans due to a paperwork debacle at the U.S. Department of Education - leaving some bearing the burden of more than $20,000 in debt. Cory and Chris’ work not only exposed the program’s brutal inflexibility and it’s devastating impact on the lives of teachers; their seven stories, reported over the previous ten months, convinced the Department to offer teachers a dramatic fix. As a result of their reporting, the Education Department is now reaching out to thousands of teachers to return millions of dollars of grant money that was unfairly taken away from them.
  • Dirty Gold, Clean Cash

    "Dirty Gold, Clean Cash" was an extensive Miami Herald investigation sparked by a federal court case into how organized crime groups, including narco-traffickers, are using destructive illegal gold mines in Latin America to launder money through precious metals -- metals which ultimately end up in the hands of unsuspecting American consumers as jewelry, electronics and bullion. The trade has a crucial logistical hub in Miami. The series required extensive on-the-ground reporting in Peru and Colombia, a challenge for a local paper like the Miami Herald but one which the paper was prepared for because of its longstanding commitment to foreign reporting.
  • DARK VALLEY

    Please consider the APTN Investigates episode “Dark Valley” which aired October 19, 2018 on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, for the Open Broadcast Feature award. Reporter/Producer Holly Moore and Reporter Rob Smith travelled to the beautiful Okanagan valley in British Columbia in July 2017 and they quickly realized that the incredible landscape held a dark secret. Five women, seemingly unconnected, had gone missing here in just two years. They vanished within an hour’s drive of one another between Vernon and Sicamous, BC.
  • Labeled for Life

    “Labeled for Life”, a three-part investigative series, published by the Columbia Missourian in May of 2018, exposed and explored Missouri’s rigid sex offender laws months prior to a major legislative change that enabled some registrants to petition to be removed from the lifetime list. This local reporting project began as a class assignment and grew into a big national story that brought to light Missouri’s booming export of sex offenders to neighboring states where laws are not as stringent.
  • Dangerous Doses

    For one story, “The hunt for dangerous doses,” investigative reporter Sam Roe led a collaboration with data scientists, pharmacologists and cellular researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in an attempt to discover potentially deadly combinations of prescription drugs. Intrigued by the novel data mining algorithms developed by Columbia scientist Nicholas Tatonetti, Roe proposed that the two team up to search for drug combinations that might cause a potentially fatal heart condition. Roe also recruited Dr. Ray Woosley, the leading authority on that condition and a former dean of the University of Arizona medical school, to the team. Over two years, as he orchestrated the project, Roe traveled to New York 12 times to meet with Tatonetti. They brainstormed, analyzed data and talked with Woosley via conference calls. Several of Tatonetti’s graduate students joined the team, as did Columbia cellular researchers whose work provided a critical layer of validation of the results.
  • A David and Goliath Battle

    The submitted stories are the result of a two-month investigation into the legal and financial status of The GW Hatchet, the independent student-run newspaper at The George Washington University. MediaFile discovered that The Hatchet had been embroiled in a nearly two-year court battle against the District of Columbia over a disputed property tax bill.
  • Sole Voter Not Alone

    Property owners in Columbia, Mo., got together to create a tax district to generate money to beautify and enhance safety in the rundown, dated strip of the community that lines Business Loop 70. They gerrymandered the district border, cutting out all residential parcels of land and voters to give the property owners the power to levy a tax with no vote of the people. A KBIA investigation showed there were actually 14 registered voters living in the district. In turn, a vote on a sales tax had to be posed to the 14.
  • Code of Silence

    "Code of Silence" is an investigative documentary about the sexual harassment of female corrections officers at the hands of their co-workers. The half-hour film was our master's project for Columbia Journalism School. https://vimeo.com/147951744
  • Big Oil and Climate Change

    Even as major oil companies were publicly casting doubt on climate change science, they were quietly taking steps to protect their businesses from its effects.
  • Journey to Jihad

    This is a nine-thousand-word investigation into the European jihadi pipeline. Using thousands of pages of leaked Belgian Federal Police records, which included wiretaps, electronic surveillance, seized radicalization pamphlets, and interrogation transcripts, it traces the web of connections between jihadi recruiters in Europe, and follows a reluctant ISIS member to Syria and back. It also reveals previously-unknown details on Amr al-Absi, the Syrian emir identified by the U.S. State Department as having been "in charge of kidnappings" for ISIS, as well war crimes committed against local civilians by his European recruits. I also took a portrait of the main subject, and a separate portrait of his father. Both pictures were published in the magazine. The article was my M.A. thesis project at Columbia Journalism School.