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.

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  • Stolen Wishes

    NBC 7 Investigates looks into the non-profit WishWarriors, a San Diego cancer charity that promised families with children battling cancer financial support for allowing the charity to highlight them in advertisements. Months after these promises were made and after the families participated in time-consuming fundraisers, none of the families had received a penny. As we looked into WishWarriors and the people behind the group, the story began to unfold with unexpected twists and turns including officials making an arrest and community members rallying behind the children this organization advertised as supporting.
  • The rise and fall of Denny Hecker

    Denny Hecker is one of the” biggest, most well-known businessmen in the Twin Cities”. He owned car dealerships, a national car rental company, and was the star of many advertisements. Behind this perfect exterior is a story of criminal behaviors and massive debt. All these details were revealed after Hecker filed for personal bankruptcy, which began the “collapse of a massive empire”.
  • Is it true?

    "For several years a local car dealership ran advertisements on the radio, television and in newspapers offering deals on cars that it could not live up to". As a number of complaints mounted, the investigation into the dealership began. The investigation revealed the dealership used false advertising and "even increased the interest rate on finance documents after they were signed by the customer".
  • Secret Money Project

    The Center for Investigative Reporting and National Public Radio launched the "Secret Money Project" as a joint initiative to track the hidden money in the election season. In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertisements hurt Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign. In the 2008 presidential campaign, independent groups also did everything possible -- sometimes well under the radar -- to influence the election. Independent groups raised and spent tens of millions of dollars, unleashing attack ads, robocalls and direct mail across the country. Although NPR is best known as a radio network, the primary venue for the Secret MOney Project was npr.org. The project Web site featured a blog of breaking news and analysis. It serves as a searchable database of independent groups and attack ads, which provided a real-time public resource during the election and will continue to be a research tool that can shed light on future political races.
  • Donald T. Sterling's Skid Row Mirage

    According to advertisements he distributed in the media, Los Angeles Clippers basketball owner Donald T. Sterling was building a new homeless center in downtown LA. But after L.A. Weekly did some investigating, they found he wasn't close to constructing anything. In fact, he was still looking for a homeless service provider to raise the $50 million needed to build the Donald T. Sterling Homeless Center.
  • Who's in the Driver's Seat at Motor Vehicles

    The online traffic school, lowestpricetrafficschool.com, had exclusive advertisement in Florida's Official Driver's Handbook through the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department. The traffic school was also in charge of printing the booklet, offering it free on line but charging taxpayers for shipping. WTVT found that Fred Dickinson's, the executive director of the DHSMV, wife was a lobbyist for the National Safety Commission which operates the traffic school. She later resigned her position when Gov. Jeb Bush criticized the Dickinsons for the conflict of interest.
  • Prescription for Trouble: Common drugs, hidden dangers. Tens of millions of people at risk.

    This article investigated twelve common types of prescription drugs that are linked to serious risks, including heart attacks, cancer, strokes and suicide. The risks were undetected or underestimated when the drugs were initially approved for use. Many of the drugs are still not properly disclosing the risks in advertisements. The article uncovers widespread problems in the drug safety system and proposes needed reform.
  • Sleeping Pills: Are They Worth the Rosk?

    As manufacturers have increased their spending on advertisement for sleeping pills, the rate of sleep drug prescriptions rose 32 percent between 2001 and 2005. But better and safer remedies might be available, and Consumer Reports asks if consumers might be turning to the pills too early.
  • Canal Rights Sold

    "For $30,000, New York state sold exclusive development rights along its 524-mile state canal system, which includes the Erie Canal, to Buffalo developer Richard Hutchens after running a small advertisement that produced only Hutchen's bid...the stories showed the state courted Hutchens for years before running an ad tailored to a project Hutchens proposed. The state cannot explain what happened to 32 other companies that expressed some interest in development along the canal."
  • Free Rein for Drug Ads?

    The Food and Drug Administration has been slow to stop an alarming number of inaccurate drug advertisements, leaving consumers and the doctors that actually prescribe the medicines vulnerable to false or misleading messages. The investigation found ads that minimized prescription drug risks, exaggerated efficacy, made false claims of superiority over competing products, promoted unapproved uses of an approved drug, or promoted use of a drug still in the experimental stage. Such drug ads may contribute to excessive or inappropriate prescribing and to soaring prescription drug spending.