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 "First Amendment" ...

  • Chicago Police kept secret dossiers on public speakers

    Tribune reporters discovered that Chicago Police were running secret background checks on public speakers at the police board’s monthly disciplinary meetings. Speakers included men and women whose loved ones had been killed by police, attorneys, activists, a religious leader, and even cops themselves. The police department secretly created profiles on more than 300 different speakers, potentially violating a court decree meant to prevent police spying on First Amendment activities. The Tribune also discovered a major discrepancy in how long police ran the secret checks, leading Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to order an inspector general investigation into the matter.
  • BGA: Freedom of Information

    The Better Government Association is a strong backer of First Amendment issues and works hard to ensure public assess to government. This is a collection of BGA's investigative stories using FOI requests in 2014.
  • Spotlight on Shaken-Baby Syndrome

    The Medill Justice Project, through the hard-hitting reporting of student journalists, has taken on a largely overlooked and misunderstood area of the criminal justice system: shaken-baby syndrome. Scores of mothers, fathers, day care workers and other caregivers throughout the United States are being accused of violently shaking children, despite an emotionally charged debate in medical circles about the accuracy of the diagnosis. Our relentless examination of this issue—through published investigative articles, breaking stories, fight for public records, motions in federal court, multimedia features and other stories—has provided a deeper, nuanced understanding of this complex subject. Our groundbreaking investigations into shaken-baby syndrome have uncovered revelatory information, influenced criminal justice proceedings, impacted public policy and challenged government agencies to abide by the First Amendment.
  • Criminalizing Cartoons

    The investigation exposes a police chief's desperate attempt to acquire the name of an anonymous cartoonist, mocking his department on the Internet. A person going by the moniker MrFiddlesticks (and other names) was airing internal affairs dirty laundry in the form of parody. To find out who, the city prosecutor, police chief and a local judge teamed up to craft a criminal search warrant. KIRO-TV's investigative unit not only uncovered questionable legal tactics (like prosecutor shopping), but later caught police shredding hundreds of records related the case. First Amendment and FOIA issues are central to this ongoing investigation.
  • "Under Attack, Credit Raters Turn to the First Amendment"

    Credit rating agencies claim they are protected by the First Amendment right of free speech and therefore cannot be held accountable for their mistakes. Huffington Post Investigative Fund reporters looked deeply into credit raters' claims and found a "potential crack" in their argument.
  • Head on a Skewer

    This story described the behind-the-scenes machinations by powerful law enforcement authorities in Maricopa County, Ariz. to secure a criminal indictment against a reporter (and a newspaper) for allegedly violating an arcane law. Mining newly released documents and other sources, the writer uncovered previously unknown information about this unprecedented and novel attack on the First Amendment.
  • Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul

    Monkey Girl is an investigative book based on the federal court case Kitzmiller v. Dover, a modern version of the Scopes Monkey Trial. The book examines what to teach children in the classroom when it comes down to evolution and intelligent design. The First Amendment lawsuit against the local Pennsylvania school board had the potential to change school practices nationwide, bringing up the question of whether intelligent design is a scientific or religious idea.
  • Target Practice

    A grand jury subpoena requested that all of the Phoenix New Times' notes, tapes, stories and other material regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio since January 1, 2004 be seized. The prosecutor even demanded names of any person who visited the newspaper's website since 2004 as well. This series tells the story of the New Times' struggle against over-reaching public officials, as well as a larger story about diminishing rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
  • South Dakotans No. 1 in permits to conceal guns

    "The story was the culmination of a major First Amendment project that involved the collection of more than 41,000 state-issued permits to carry concealed weapons. Analysis showed that South Dakota had issued more concealed weapons permits per capita than any state."
  • Outsourcing Justice? That's Obscene

    "The Bush administration has contracted with a Christian right organization, Morality in Media, to receive citizens' complaints about online obscenity. Since the early 1960s, Morality in Media has opposed pornography of all types, including constitutionally protected material. The Justice Department, duty-bound to uphold the Constitution, is thus allying itself with an organization that holds much of today's First Amendment law in contempt."