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 "Pittsburgh" ...

  • PublicSource: Revelations of police technology problems spark FBI scrutiny, alleged retaliation and unfinished work

    For the first time, PublicSource reported how Pittsburgh's reform-minded police chief touched off an FBI investigation into how city employee's handled software contracts. Included were projects that were never implemented by 2018, though they were fully paid for five years earlier using federal funds. The federal investigation ended without any charges, but internal investigations in the city were ongoing. A former officer also claims he faced retaliation for reporting concerns about tech projects, specifically from one of the city's highest ranking public safety officials. He is currently suing the city over several of the same concerns first publicly reported in our stories. Our stories led directly to internal changes in city purchasing and increased scrutiny of purchasing by City Council.
  • PublicSource: Pittsburgh's lack of cybersecurity and transparency

    The City of Pittsburgh's cybersecurity is lacking, according to a commissioned report, and officials won't address the issues publicly. That same report found serious issues with the way the city handles software and other IT projects and how it structures its Department of Innovation & Performance. Through a public records request and "copy and paste" sleuthing, PublicSource revealed details about how city cybersecurity and IT practices are lacking, potentially putting citizens and local government at risk.
  • "Predator Priests" Grand Jury Report

    In August 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report outlining the alleged abuse of hundreds of children at the hands of priests in several Roman Catholic Dioceses across Pennsylvania. Investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol began immediately sifting through the report to find out where the men outlined in the report were today and what they were doing. The most shocking case he uncovered was that of an accused priest from the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese who was a practicing counselor just across the state line in Ohio.
  • Burning Questions

    When your house catches fire, every second counts. An investigation by WTAE TV in Pittsburgh found a wide gap in response times by Western Pennsylvania fire departments. WTAE’s investigation found little has changed in the volunteer firefighting system since Ben Franklin started America’s first fire department in Philadelphia in 1736. Investigative Reporter Paul Van Osdol obtained data that revealed response times for communities throughout Western Pennsylvania. But that was only the beginning. http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/131571086/99ea45739d http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/150830783/ada0681965 http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/151430643/c0c500ace0
  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.
  • Poor Health An occasional series about the barriers to health and health care for low-income urban Americans

    Poor Health was the result of a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and faculty and students from Marquette University. Both papers published the series, which had three major parts. The backbone of the series is a set of interactive maps that shows that health care systems have closed hospitals in poor communities in the major U.S. metropolitan areas while opening new facilities in more affluent areas, often communities that already had hospitals; that the residents of the communities in which hospitals closed were less healthy than their more affluent counterparts, and that communities in which hospitals closed were much more likely to be federally designated "physician shortage areas." than communities that retained or gained hospitals. In addition, reporting in several cities shows the health care challenges among the urban poor, the results of those difficulties and the economics that drive the unequal distribution of health care. The final part of the series focuses on solutions. A major story on the effort in Oregon to improve health care for Medicaid recipients while lowering costs is the centerpiece; other reporting on innovative approaches to health care in poor areas includes programs in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Indianapolis.
  • Death and Dysfunction at VA

    In four original investigative reports (plus follow-ups) examining the Veterans Health Administration, CBS News uncovered serious problems surrounding patient care at VA facilities across the country. We uncovered patient deaths due to the mismanagement of an infectious disease outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA. We discovered VA doctors across the country felt pressured to prescribe strong narcotic painkillers to veterans instead of treating the underlying cause of their pain (narcotic prescriptions at VA are up 259% since 2002). We found veterans are dying at a 33% higher rate than the general population of accidental prescription narcotic overdose. We interviewed a VA doctor who was retaliated against for blowing the whistle on a dangerous shortage of mental healthcare providers at the Wilmington VA. We also found VA administrators are receiving large bonuses from the federal government despite serious allegations of poor patient care at the hospitals they oversee.
  • VA Legionnaires' Outbreak

    An announcement by the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in late 2012 about a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed five people and sickened 16 others there was reported by local, state and some national media largely from the officially presented account. But editors and reporters at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review felt the announcement raised more questions than it answered. A team of reporters assembled to dig deeper into what went wrong. An investigation led to a series of stories during 2013 that exposed a broken health care system rife with testing errors and what appeared to be an almost deliberate failure to inform the public. In fact, the Trib revealed top VA officials reaped thousands of dollars in performance bonuses that were awarded just before the public announcement. The Trib documented that the VA’s problems extend beyond the Pittsburgh system. Nationwide, the newspaper found the deaths of at least 21 veterans in the past year appear to be linked to failures in VA medical care.
  • A Department in Disarray

    In 2013 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette exposed numerous systemic problems in the city of Pittsburgh's 900-member police department, focusing on a lack of oversight over its personnel and finances.
  • WTAE: Where is Pittsburgh's Mayor?

    After Pittsburgh's mayor came under scrutiny during a federal criminal grand jury probe into his administration, WTAE-TV investigative reporter Bofta Yimam requested Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's work calendar for a one-year period. The federal investigation led to the mayor's hand-picked police chief to plead guilty to conspiracy and fraud. Through the official calendar, we hoped to learn more about the mayor’s comings and goings during the period federal investigators are examining. The city, however, denied our request. Our series of ongoing reports showed the difficulty in accessing a public official's calendar in Pennsylvania and highlighted the need for transparency. Through the state's Right to Know law, we filed an appeal and won a decision with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Instead of turning over the records, however, the city Law Department filed a lawsuit against Yimam in the Court of Common Pleas. Now, taxpayers will pay for a court case to keep a calendar private, for a mayor who is under federal investigation and who chose not to run for re-election.