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 "ISIS" ...

  • Bad Chemistry: Annie Dookhan And The Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis

    In August 2012, a drug testing laboratory in Boston was closed by the state of Massachusetts. Initial reports simply stated the shutdown was because a chemist working in the lab ‘failed to follow testing protocols.’ In the months that followed, state officials alleged that the chemist — Annie Dookhan — had not just mishandled criminal evidence but had falsified drug results by deliberately tainting and mixing evidence in tens of thousands of criminal cases. As of this writing, the state has provided what it says is a ‘master list’ of affected cases, and puts that number at roughly 43,000. However, recent court filings question the accuracy of that number. WBUR didn’t want to just follow the latest twists and turns of this story, we wanted to understand how one chemist could cause such a chain reaction that stretched to all corners of the criminal justice system. We wanted to pursue an iterative investigative journalism approach - to show our work mid-process, use data-driven analysis and be transparent about what we didn't know. To date, WBUR is the only news organization to have published an analysis of the testing data.
  • Stacked Up: Do Philly students have the books they need?

    Stacked Up employs data journalism to explore the hidden book crisis in Philadelphia schools. Most people would be surprised at the idea that a public school wouldn't have enough books. In Philadelphia, however, students and parents regularly complain of textbook shortages. A 10th grader at Parkway West High School told me that students often have to share books in class and can't take them home to do homework. Many books are in poor condition: "There were pictures of testicles drawn on every page," she said of one of her ninth-grade books. Access to books is particularly critical because a school today is labeled a success or failure based on students’ performance on high-stakes tests. The tests are highly specific and are aligned with state educational standards. The tests are also aligned with the textbooks sold by the 4 educational publishers that dominate the educational publishing market—the same publishers who have a hand in designing and grading the standardized tests. It therefore stands to reason that if students don’t have the right textbooks, they won’t be able to do well on the tests even if they want to.
  • Chronic Crisis

    The investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County is especially ineffective. We found that Milwaukee politicians for decades have ignored calls for reform, clinging to an outdated system that preserves union jobs at the expense of better care.
  • For The Record: Unrestricted Warfare

    For The Record investigated whether the 2008 U.S. financial crisis may have been caused at least in part by economic terrorism – the intentional infliction of economic damage on U.S. markets. The theory was investigated by a report commissioned by the Pentagon, which the Defense Department later sought to marginalize. For The Record spoke with former high-level Pentagon officials who said that the report was quashed because it didn’t “fit the narrative” being pushed at the time.
  • NFL at a Crossroads: Investigating a health crisis

    Awareness of the football concussion crisis reached the mainstream in 2013, and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” continued its now two-year investigation. In its crossplatform series of stories in 2013, “Outside the Lines” shed light on all aspects of the crisis, from the NFL’s years-long denials that playing football could lead to brain damage to how the crisis affects football at all levels to the behind-the-scenes happenings related to the settlement of a federal lawsuit more than 4,000 players had filed against the NFL.
  • Farmers vs. fish: Wisconsin's groundwater crisis

    Across central Wisconsin, in a region known as the Central Sands, residents have watched water levels in lakes and small streams drop for years. In a state with about 15,000 lakes and more than a quadrillion gallons of groundwater, it is hard to believe that water could ever be in short supply. Experts say, however, that the burgeoning number of so-called high-capacity wells mostly for irrigated agriculture, is drawing down some ground and surface water.
  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran's journalistic skills have been focused in uncovering the secrets that often lurk behind the closed doors of our state institutions. Wendy began reporting about conditions in the Arizona Department of Corrections and became the vehicle through which the public would learn the story of Tony Lester. Tony, 26 years of age and suffering with schizophrenia tragically took his own life as he lingered in his prison cell, without proper medications and treatment, to ease the suffering he endured due to his debilitating illness. Wendy's ground breaking work in penetrating the great wall of silence within our state prison system was truly amazing. Wendy was able to obtain videos of Tony's last few moments of life through her fearless, "don't stop until the job is done attitude" The picture we see revealed in his final hours will create the guide for reform of Arizona's prison policy and procedures in treatment of those with mental disabilities for years to come. Tony Lester was a young man with a mental disability whose life unfortunately crossed with Arizona's criminal justice system. Tony's illness became a death sentence for him as all of our mental health system safety nets failed him. From the moment of Tony's first major psychotic break, when law enforcement was summoned rather than a Crisis Response Team, Tony's chances of survival grew dim. Arizona's courts do not place much importance on the state of mind a defendant has at the time a crime occurs but rather spend millions to be sure a defendant is competent at the time of trial. At trial we then prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law, as we did in Tony's case and hand him a 12 year prison sentence, for his illness which was at the root of his desire to end his suffering. Some call it the definition of insanity, we do the same thing over and over again and each time expect a different result. Her work in bringing the story of Tony Lester's illness and treatment within the Arizona criminal justice system into the public view, has opened the eyes of the public as to what we can expect, when we allow a mental health system to fail and our prisons to become the largest psychiatric facilities in our state. Since Wendy Halloran's news story on Tony Lester has circulated, Arizona has seemed to have heard the sounding of the alarm, that our mentally disabled must have proper care. Meaningless punishment for a disease of the brain such as schizophrenia does nothing to heal the mind of the afflicted or keep our communities safe. The Tony Lester story has captured the attention of the Maricopa County Attorney and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Both of these important criminal justice players are currently involved in dialogue with The Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. This has encouraged and promoted an open public discourse on mental health/criminal justice collaboration and reform.
  • A Home, But No Help

    As rates of homelessness were soaring in Hillsborough County, the local government’s program for housing the poor was in crisis. It was paying millions of dollars to slumlords who housed the homeless, including veterans and families with small children, alongside sex offenders in filthy, crime-ridden and bug-infested buildings. It was sending the sick and dying to a squalid, unlicensed home where they were abused and they languished without care. It even ensured, through a perverse misuse of a federal reimbursement plan, that a few homeless people who qualified for federal disability money stayed destitute by garnishing most of their government checks. All of this was going on, but nobody --- not top government leaders nor the taxpayers who funded it --- knew the extent of the problems. That all changed when the Tampa Bay Times started reporting on the program. A series of stories by reporters Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia brought greater transparency to local government. The stories resulted in sweeping reforms and gave the area’s vulnerable homeless a voice for the first time in decades.
  • Panama: Dam Promises or Dam Lies?

    Panama is embracing its role as one of Latin America’s fastest growing economy by undertaking massive infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of the Panama Canal and a metro in Panama City. However, as these projects develop Panama is on the brink of exceeding their electricity capacity. To address the national crisis the country is investing in the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in Western Panama. The completion of the dam is expected to result in cheaper and more sustainable energy by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. However, not everybody is optimistic about the prospects of the dam. Standing in the way of the project is Panama’s largest indigenous group, the Ngäbe-Buglé. Even though the dam is not being built inside their semi-autonomous region, they say its reservoir threatens their way of life.
  • Chronic Crisis

    The investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County is especially ineffective. We found that Milwaukee politicians for decades have ignored calls for reform, clinging to an outdated system that preserves union jobs at the expense of better care. Milwaukee has the most lopsided system in the country, spending more on emergency and in-patient care than any other. Doctors are bound by the strictest time constraints in the country, allowing them 24 hours to observe patients considered dangerous, even in cases when patients are unconscious from suicide attempts. Our data analysis found people returning for care at an alarming rate. One woman had been seen 196 times in six years, an average of once every 11 days. One man had been brought in by police 10 times in one month. A big part of this project was not just to show the problem but to identify ways that Milwaukee County could improve. This required us to travel to other cities — including Geel, Belgium — to look at communities that do a better job.