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 "Open records" ...

  • ’Drag this out’: Atlanta mayor’s office directs delay of public requests

    In a unique partnership, WSB-TV joined resources with investigative journalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reporters, producers and editors crafted stories for the needs of their audiences and platforms but broke them in tandem. Management from both media outlets collaborated to make a formal complaint with the state after reporting on city officials frustrating Georgia’s Open Records Act. WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both owned by parent company Cox Media Group
  • The Journal by KLC: Ogallala Aquifer

    This 7,000-word story by investigative reporter Karen Dillon outlines why it's so difficult for farmers, state officials and local governments to slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital economic resource for western Kansas. It is based on water-use data acquired through a state open records request. The information helps illustrate the scale of aquifer's depletion and who is most responsible. The Journal is the first publication to our knowledge that has used public records to detail the 150 largest users of the aquifer's groundwater over the past 13 years. This list serves an important public interest since groundwater belongs to the people of Kansas under state law.
  • NYT: Using FOIA To Open Access to the Government in the Trump Era

    The regulatory and legal system that for the last 50 years has protected the environment in the United States--the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the toxic chemicals we encounter--is facing an assault unlike anything since the modern environmental movement began in the 1960s. The New York Times in the past year has committed an extraordinary amount of resources not just to investigate the controversies inside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have fanned out across the United States to document the real impact this radical shift in regulatory policy is having, via an ambitious investigative project that demanded all of the skills journalism can deliver from FOIAs, to databases, to litigation, to government sources, narrative storytelling and innovative online and print presentations. It is one of the biggest stories of our times. And no one has covered it as aggressively as The New York Times. FOIA, for almost every piece we have published, has been a critical part of our reporting.
  • L.A. Times: How California Law Shielded Dishonest Cops

    For decades, California’s strict police privacy laws made it nearly impossible for anyone to find out basic information about police officer misconduct. A team of Los Angeles Times reporters spent months investigating the impact of this secrecy on the criminal justice system. They found that officers caught for dishonesty and other serious wrongdoing were able to continue testifying in court without prosecutors, defendants, judges and jurors ever finding out about their past. Countless defendants were convicted based on the testimony of these officers. Published at the height of a political debate over making police records public, the stories helped galvanize support to change state law and open up some records about officer misconduct, which had been kept confidential for 40 years.
  • Investigation to Resignation to Plea Deal

    The press secretary for Houston's mayor hid thousands of emails from the media after a records request. Those emails would show she was spending significant amounts of time pitching reality shows to Hollywood producers while on the clock for the city of Houston. That decision was exposed and led to her eventual arrest: a major message to public officials that violations of the open records act can lead to criminal charges.
  • FLIPPED: Secrets Inside a Corrupt Police Department

    This is a year-long investigation of a corrupt police department that was operating as a criminal enterprise. A one-man-band investigative reporter revealed institutional and systemic failures inside a large Metro Atlanta police department. By cultivating internal police sources, he was able to demand specific, hidden public records that uncovered several scandals the Roswell Police Department tried to keep secret from the public. This investigation and public records fight resulted in the resignation of the police chief, the firing of three police officers, and an overhaul of the city's open records system to improve public access.
  • FLIPPED: Secrets Inside a Corrupt Police Department

    A year-long investigation by a one-man-band investigative reporter revealed institutional and systemic failures inside a large Metro Atlanta police department. By cultivating internal police sources, he was able to demand specific, hidden public records that uncovered the following scandals the Roswell Police Department tried to keep secret from the public: Officers arrested a driver for speeding using a ‘coin flip’ app; Police covered up a K9 brutally mauling a teen suspect who had already surrendered; Top sergeant intentionally froze a 13-year-old boy to get him to tell the truth; Department concealed the release of a suspected drunk driver - one of its own officers; and Officer failed to help a dying prisoner because that officer was already under investigation. This investigation and public records fight resulted in the resignation of the police chief, the firing of three police officers, and an overhaul of the city's open records system to improve public access.
  • Analyzing police use-of-force data

    After a yearlong open records battle, the San Antonio Express-News obtained and analyzed a use-of-force database from the San Antonio Police Department. The records showed that officers used force against black and Hispanic suspects at a rate that was up to 78 percent higher than white suspects, yet less than one percent of 5,300 force incidents resulted in any kind of policy violation. The newspaper brought those stunning numbers to life with police suspension records, video, DocumentCloud and interviews with victims -- including an innocent man who was paralyzed after he underwent surgery to treat injuries from a police beating.
  • Baseball player promoted to varsity after sexually abusing child

    After receiving a tip, WJHL asked a juvenile court judge in Virginia to release court records related to a sex abuse case. They knew they had a shot securing the records after conferring with an open records expert. After all, the records involved serious felonies. The judge released the records after discussing the issue with the Virginia Supreme Court. The records confirmed exactly what we suspected. In the end, the investigation uncovered a legal and school system failure that allowed two baseball players to remain on the team and at school after sexually abusing their 11-year-old neighbor during an off-campus campout. The investigation prompted the court clerk to apologize and the school to take action against the boys.
  • Imposter Nurses

    A months-long I-Team 8 investigation uncovered serious problems with Indiana's professional licensing system. Their stories exposed a system filled with weak internal controls and lax security that allowed for nurses' identities to be stolen. Through a series of open records requests, interviews with victims and old-fashioned gumshoe reporting, this investigative series exposed impostor nurses and questioned state officials. It also prompted the state to make sweeping changes to its online licensing system, which now provides increased security measures to more than 100,000 nurses in Indiana along with 30+ other professions overseen by the agency.