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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  • "Healthy Holly" and University of Maryland Medical System Investigation

    The “Healthy Holly” scandal began with a suggestion from a source, a state legislator who told Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater she thought there might be some irregular contracting practices going on at the University of Maryland Medical System. Broadwater, busy covering the General Assembly session, filed a public records request. The documents showed that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and other members of the hospital network’s board of directors had no-bid contracts with the medical system -- though the extent of those contracts, especially Pugh's, were not fully described. Broadwater's story -- written quickly as a daily as soon as he received the documents -- was breaking news that got the attention of Maryland's political establishment: University of Maryland Medical System pays members of volunteer board hundreds of thousands in business deals. Immediately, Broadwater and other Baltimore Sun reporters followed their instincts and tips that were coming in -- including that Pugh had failed to print many of the books she’d been paid to produce, while thousands of others were sitting unread in a Baltimore school system warehouse. Meanwhile, Sun reporters pulled ethics forms, poured over tax records, filed public information requests and worked sources, breaking story after story that exposed a widening scandal that rocked the state of Maryland, perhaps more than any other series of articles in decades. Their work led to the resignation of the mayor, the UMMS CEO and other top officials, including every member of the medical system's board of directors.
  • NYT Mag: From Arizona to Yemen - The Journey of an American Bomb

    In one narrative feature, rendering the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe on a small, personal scale, in order to make it feel relevant, tactile, and immediate to western readers. The hope was to collapse the distance and let Western readers feel what it was like to be the victim of an airstrike in Yemen, and to be a patient in hospital deprived of resources by a blockade. We wanted the crisis to feel familiar and close, rather than distant and exotic. By investigating the provenance of a bomb used and telling the story of its journey from an American assembly line to the planes above people we’d come to care about, showing readers how intertwined their own lives are with the lives of Yemenis.
  • The Property Tax Crisis

    An examination of the regressive property tax system in New Jersey, which has more in common with feudal states than the United States. Our examination shows how it is the wellspring of the state’s myriad problems, from government corruption to a stalled economy to the highest-in-the-nation debt. The series sparked a public outcry for reform, with more than 14,000 signing our petition for change, and pledges from half the Assembly members to address the issue. http://php.app.com/taxpain/
  • The Final Days of Michael Kerr

    The death of inmate Michael Kerr by dehydration in 2014 ignited a barrage of activity in the state's corrections system and raised questions about prisoner treatment that reached the chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly more than a year later. Hundreds of pages of court documents pieced together the mentally ill veteran’s last hours in solitary confinement at a remote state prison, ignored and dismissed by an overworked corrections staff. http://www.wral.com/one-year-later-inmate-s-death-looms-over-prison-mental-health-debate/14506834/ http://www.wral.com/news/state/asset_gallery/14731191/
  • Campaign Finance Questions

    To date, our investigation has uncovered irregularities and possible violations of state campaign law in the campaign finance reports of XXX members of the North Carolina General Assembly. Our investigation continues. Recently, we reported that our questions have prompted an inquiry by the FBI. https://youtu.be/HJ9ZS2TZZQk
  • Perils of Pantex

    An in-depth look at the federal program to compensate nuclear assembly plant workers in Amarillo was sparked after a controversial strike by workers -- the first in decades. Reporter Yamil Berard was sent to the scene as the strike was unfolding, only to bring back real stories about how the nation's program to compensate irradiated workers has failed to reach them before many die or become gravely ill. Berard also snapped the front page photo that ran with the package of stories and video.
  • Tijuana Tire Valley

    In an investigation that took us across the border, we explored the failure of the California state government to properly allocate funds collected from a consumer fee to prevent severe pollution of a bi-national region. We discovered California recycling fees were being used to ship tires to the border where they are sold and resold in Mexico; until the tires eventually wash back into environmentally sensitive lands in the United States. NBC7 Investigates uncovered a ballooning $60 million state "tire recycling management fund" that has since been targeted for better use by the Speaker of the Assembly. We followed tires from the California tire store to the border to deeper into Mexico to Tijuana, where tires are in such surplus they have become a fixture of architecture.
  • Exposing Missouri's Secret Execution Drug Source

    For the past several months, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been investigating Missouri's execution process and the legal and ethical questions around how the state is obtaining its execution drug. Since most drug manufacturers don’t want their products used for lethal injection, Missouri has had to go to great lengths to find a supply. In October, our reporting uncovered that the state had turned to an unauthorized distributor. Then, at the direction of Missouri’s Governor, the Department of Corrections switched to a different execution drug. But they didn’t stop there – they also changed the rules to make it illegal to reveal the source of the drug. After at least a dozen open records requests and numerous interviews with pharmacy experts, our investigation has revealed that the state is obtaining its drug from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy that isn’t licensed in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, that could be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Our reporting has led lawyers representing Missouri’s death row inmates to file a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, demanding they stop the state from illegal importation of its execution drug. And several state lawmakers have called for an appointed commission to investigate the Department of Corrections, and for executions to be put on hold while the General Assembly looks into the issue.
  • Exposing Missouri's Secret Execution Drug Source

    For the past several months, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been investigating Missouri's execution process and the legal and ethical questions around how the state is obtaining its execution drug. Since most drug manufacturers don’t want their products used for lethal injection, Missouri has had to go to great lengths to find a supply. In October, our reporting uncovered that the state had turned to an unauthorized distributor. Then, at the direction of Missouri’s Governor, the Department of Corrections switched to a different execution drug. But they didn’t stop there – they also changed the rules to make it illegal to reveal the source of the drug. After at least a dozen open records requests and numerous interviews with pharmacy experts, our investigation has revealed that the state is obtaining its drug from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy that isn’t licensed in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, that could be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Our reporting has led lawyers representing Missouri’s death row inmates to file a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, demanding they stop the state from illegal importation of its execution drug. And several state lawmakers have called for an appointed commission to investigate the Department of Corrections, and for executions to be put on hold while the General Assembly looks into the issue.
  • Phila City Paper Forfeiture

    Topic: An investigation into how civil asset forfeiture in Philadelphia results in the systematic seizure of cash from individuals not convicted of a crime. "Civil asset forfeiture," is a legal construct that allows government entities to pursue money allegedly tied to crime via a civil, versus criminal, process. Originally intended as a tool to thwart large and complex organized criminal enterprises, the use of civil forfeiture in relatively small-time cases has ballooned in recent decades, especially on the local level to the point where many law enforcement agencies rely on (increasingly petty) forfeiture actions to fund their own operations. While there has been increasing attention paid to forfeiture on the federal level, there exists little published data and reporting on local-level forfeiture operations around the country. This was certainly true in Philadelphia, where my investigation into the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office revealed almost entirely unreported, massive, and profoundly indifferent civil forfeiture apparatus, in which cases are churned out by the thousands in an assembly line-like process, an individual's guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant, and which has been crafted to allow the D.A.'s Office to raise millions annually in revenue from thousands of cases whose merits will almost never be "proven" or even argued before a before a judge or jury.