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 "assessment" ...

  • CBC: Unassisted Death

    In a powerful series of stories, CBC Edmonton revealed the devastating human cost of the medical-assistance-in-dying (MAID) policy of Alberta’s massive Catholic health provider, Covenant Health. By default, Covenant's policy prohibited patients from even signing their MAID request forms, or undergoing eligibility assessments by provincial medical staff, on its publicly funded property. Covenant Health also explicitly prohibits assisted deaths from taking place in its facilities.
  • Hacking Democracy

    NBC News broke a series of exclusive stories about the U.S. government assessment that Russian intelligence had mounted a covert operation to interfere in the American presidential election, and about efforts to prevent manipulation of the vote itself. http://qlnk.io/ql/58753f16e4b036c5d233fddc http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/sources-intel-has-drawn-direct-links-to-russia-in-election-hackings-776086083639
  • Shocking Force

    This first-ever data analysis of police use of Tasers revealed that departments across Maryland predominantly used the devices against suspects who, by their own assessment, posed no immediate threat, and showed that officers didn’t follow widely accepted safety recommendations, shocking people for longer than what’s recommended and firing at the chest despite warnings it could cause cardiac arrest.
  • Machine Bias

    With our Machine Bias series, we are investigating the algorithms that are increasingly making decisions about our lives, from what news or ads we see online to what sentences are meted out for crimes. Algorithms are often proprietary "black boxes," raising important questions about transparency and due process. By collecting and analyzing the output of these systems, we set out to reverse-engineer and make accountable some of the algorithms that were having the biggest impact on people’s lives. Our investigative methods included linear regression, statistical analysis, and the creation of our own software. Among the series’ findings were evidence of racial bias in risk assessment systems, and the preferential treatment of Amazon’s own products in its so-called open market.
  • Landlords benefit from loose laws

    Champaign County landlords are reaping more than $20 million in tax exemptions a year by taking advantage of a loosely written state law and an interpretation of that law by the county supervisor of assessments.
  • The Tax Windfall

    These reports uncovered how subtle changes in contracts and secret business relationships with government officials led to the elimination of competition for a major vendor in the county’s new tax assessment program. We found that one former tax commissioner, who was integral in creating the program, later became an owner of an assessment firm that benefited from the contracts. A second insider firm, who had hired the father-in-law of the chief county assessor, won 90 percent of the contracts for the towns in the county required to revamp their assessments. That same company also had on its payroll the very same assessor who would be supervising their work in the various towns.
  • The Brothel Next Door

    Merrill College student reporters did what state officials had promised but failed to do: a comprehensive assessment of human trafficking and law enforcement’s response to it. The result was “The Brothel Next Door,” the first in-depth, data-based analysis of the problem in Maryland. The report was published online by Capital News Service and by local news outlets, including in Spanish by The Washington Post’s El Tiempo Latino. Five classes collaborated on the project: Media law classes submitted public records requests to every county. Capstone classes searched court files for details about how victims become trapped, traffickers operate and authorities respond. They obtained chilling audio of victims’ testimony and a state database never before released. Their analysis found authorities had uncovered extensive evidence of trafficking but struggled to win convictions. They conducted scores of interviews to understand why.
  • Trouble with Taxes

    The intricacies of the property tax system in Wisconsin are not unlike the federal tax code: complex, confusing and potentially quite boring. But reporters Rutledge and Crowe tackled the topic with determination and curiosity and uncovered a statewide assessment system rife with problems. Founded in the late 1700s on fairness, Wisconsin’s system is far from fair. In their investigation, Rutledge and Crowe used documents and large data sets to penetrate a subject that impacts every property owner in Wisconsin but that few understand. The disparities were hitting homeowners in their wallets, but most had no clue why. Among the discoveries: Assessors across Wisconsin violated the state constitution while regulators ignored the practice; in dozens of communities, 20% or more of taxes were paid by the wrong people; and assessors in 15% of municipalities were doing “poor” work by the state’s own definition.
  • Shakedown

    For years, megacorporations such as Valero, ExxonMobil, and Hines Interest have successfully gamed the Harris County Appraisal District and decreased its certified value by millions, resulting in a total reduction of more than $2.4 billion in tax base on which tax liability is calculated. The Houston Independent School District and the City of Houston have paid the price, losing out on $15.4 million and $9.4 million in tax revenues respectively. Meanwhile, HCAD, which is in charge of valuing more than 1.4 million parcels in the greater Houston area, routinely fights property owners whose parcels are worth a modest $80,000 to $150,000 for every assessment penny. A majority of these property owners have no idea that it's happening and don't have the means to challenge HCAD.
  • The Shooting of Sgt. Manuel Loggins by Orange County Deputy Sheriff Darren Sandberg

    Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Sandberg shot off-duty Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins to death in front of his two young daughters in February of 2012. Loggins was unarmed, and Patch was the first organization to break the name of the victim and the name of the deputy involved, as well as an assessment by police procedure experts that mirrored findings by the district attorney months later. The shooting happened a few months after police in Fullerton beat to death the mentally ill and homeless Kelly Thomas. It was a key catalyst to the debate about how police in Orange County use force against suspects.