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 "Economy" ...

  • In the hot seat

    When reporters at NBC News began probing OSHA severe injury data in February 2019, an interesting takeaway emerged: UPS had a higher rate of heat injuries than any other company. At least 107 UPS workers in 23 states had been hospitalized for heat illnesses since 2015. In severe cases, heat can lead to organ failure and death. But regulators have little enforcement ability on this issue because there is no OSHA standard protecting workers from heat--even as climate change brings record-breaking temperatures. NBC News filed more than two dozen public records requests for state-level data -- to supplement the federal OSHA data -- and hundreds of pages of incident reports, and spoke with dozens of UPS employees, uncovering a corporate culture that exacerbated the problem. Long hours, heavy routes, fear of retaliation and sweltering trucks and warehouses pushed workers workers past their limits. Managers pushing workers to continue working when sick, and employees too intimidated to report their injuries. UPS claimed that their iconic brown trucks do not get dangerously hot, but NBC News sent five temperature loggers in packages across the country, during one of the hottest weeks of the summer. The results showed that each package exceeded 100 degrees while on a truck, with one hitting nearly 115 degrees. Drivers around the country also sent us images of temperature readings they took in their own trucks -- the hottest clocked in at 158 degrees. Between rising temperatures and the growing demands of the two-day delivery economy, dozens of UPS drivers said conditions are getting worse. Follow up stories uncovered additional injuries and more examples of UPS poorly protecting its workers from the heat. Following our story, OSHA fined UPS for a heat injury for the first time in nearly a decade.
  • WSJ: The Forces Behind America's Political Divide

    Why are Americans so divided? The Wall Street Journal set out to answer this question in a set of visually-driven stories that made novel use of economic and demographic data, as well as through an analysis of the original response files from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that unearthed new insights. Our exploration found that America's political divisions are being driven by economic and social forces that are fairly new in politics.
  • Silicon Valley’s Hidden Figures

    Silicon Valley has a big diversity problem. But no one has been able to comprehensively quantify it until now. Some of the multibillion-dollar companies that fuel the global economy have sought to hide how few women and people of color they have in their organizations, refusing to release the data, claiming the information is a trade secret. We built the largest and most comprehensive database of diversity employment data for Silicon Valley available. Through a groundbreaking collaboration with a University of Massachusetts Amherst sociologist, we got Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) data for 177 of the largest tech companies through public records requests and a successful FOIA lawsuit. Through this data, we uncovered disparities and ranked companies based on their diversity scores. By establishing a baseline of comparative data, we were able to hold companies accountable for their diversity hiring practices for the first time. Because of our analysis, the public now knows some of the worst companies when it comes to diversity in Silicon Valley. But we also found that diversity is not an impossible goal to achieve for technology companies: some are doing much better than their peers.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • NPR: How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich

    Disasters are becoming more common in the U.S. as climate change drives more severe droughts, floods and wildfires. The federal government spends billions of dollars annually helping communities rebuild and prevent future damage. But an NPR investigation and analysis of data obtained by suing the federal government has found that those dollars follow and perpetuate inequities in the U.S. economy.
  • The New Food Economy and The Intercept: Amazon employees and the safety net

    As food stamps go online in the coming years, Amazon is poised to collect a large proportion of sales from the $70-billion program. Yet our investigation found that in at least five states, the company's own employees are disproportionately reliant on the program to feed their families. We framed these findings in contrast to the vast subsidies states and local governments provide the company in exchange for "good" jobs. Months before the conclusion of Amazon’s HQ2 search prompted mainstream outlets to wonder whether or not the company’s presence really benefits the communities that compete to host its operations, our reporting revealed that taxpayers subsidize Amazon's expansion every step of the way. It remains to be seen whether or not those investments pay off.
  • The Center for Public Integrity: Abandoned in America

    President Donald Trump has declared the United States’ economy to be “the best economy we've ever had in the history of our country.” His administration likewise declared the nation’s decades-long war on poverty “largely over and a success.” So during the summer of 2018, Center for Public Integrity reporters visited six communities where residents say the crushing effects of poverty and government neglect aren’t improving — they’ve gone from bad to worse. Problems range from broken education systems to unlivable housing to infrastructure fit for the third world. One factor bound them together: a profound lack of political clout on the eve of the 2018 midterm election that would determine the balance of power in Washington. Our work led to the publishing of “Abandoned in America” — a six-part, 27,000-word series published over two weeks during October 2018.
  • PublicSource: Failing the Future

    The project documents the wide economic and academic disparities among school districts in Pennsylvania. It tells the stories through the voices of students and educators in under-resourced districts and takes a deep dive into how school funding in Pennsylvania creates a system of "haves and have-nots." It uses both print and multi-media display.
  • CALmatters: California teacher pension debt swamps school budgets

    California’s tax revenue may be surging thanks to a strong economy, but rapidly rising employee pension costs mean public school budgets are being squeezed.
  • Baltimore Sun: The Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force Scandal

    The Baltimore Sun’s coverage of arguably the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the Baltimore Police Department continued into 2018, with the trials of the remaining officers charged in the federal case and the fallout from the case. The Sun produced work that revealed the suburban drug case that led authorities to the rogue squad, how the convictions thrust into question thousands of open and adjudicated cases involving the officers and what the trials revealed about the deep reach of the city’s drug economy.