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 "battery" ...

  • The Shocking Truth About Florida’s Pools

    The Shocking Truth about Pools is a ground breaking investigation that is changing pool safety laws and already saving lives. It began with the tragic electrocution of a 7-year-old boy April 13, 2014. Calder Sloan took a deep breath, jumped into the family pool, and raced across to the deep end. As he touched the pool light he was jolted to the surface by more than 120 volts. He never stood a chance of surviving. A week later three more children were shocked in an apartment complex pool. This time though, they all lived. We wanted to know how those in the apartment pool survived when Calder didn’t in his family pool. What we discovered were two different standards for commercial and residential pools. Commercial pools were required by law to carry low voltage power. That’s the equivalent of a 9 volt battery. Meanwhile residential pools can carry 120 volts or more. What’s the difference between 9 volts and 120 volts? Life and death. It was something the pool industry knew very well… but had kept quiet in the name of profits.
  • The Shocking Truth About Florida's Pools

    The Shocking Truth about Pools is a ground breaking investigation that is changing pool safety laws and already saving lives. It began with the tragic electrocution of a 7-year-old boy April 13, 2014. Calder Sloan took a deep breath, jumped into the family pool, and raced across to the deep end. As he touched the pool light he was jolted to the surface by more than 120 volts. He never stood a chance of surviving. A week later three more children were shocked in an apartment complex pool. This time though, they all lived. We wanted to know how those in the apartment pool survived when Calder didn’t in his family pool. What we discovered were two different standards for commercial and residential pools. Commercial pools were required by law to carry low voltage power. That’s the equivalent of a 9 volt battery. Meanwhile residential pools can carry 120 volts or more. What’s the difference between 9 volts and 120 volts? Life and death. It was something the pool industry knew very well… but had kept quiet in the name of profits.
  • Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787

    Jumping off from the battery failures that caused an unprecedented grounding of the 787 fleet in January 2013, "Broken Dreams" explores how Boeing's signature product went so wrong and reveals fresh revelations regarding the safety and quality of the aircraft, including workers afraid to fly the plane they build. "Broken Dreams" ties the well-known story of the battery failures and grounding to a larger, unexplored economic critique. It's the story of a management hungry for Wall Street returns, emboldened by its outsized power in Washington, and enabled by a cozy relationship with a compromised regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • The mysterious story of the battery startup that promised GM a 200-mile car

    Quartz’s feature, “The mysterious story of the battery startup that promised GM a 200-mile car” by Steve LeVine, is a prime example of the continued vitality of classic reporting methods in investigative news. In this long-form piece, LeVine turns two years of week-by-week reporting for a book into an unusual, blow-by-blow, insider account of alleged fraud. Advances in battery technology are critical to the development of products including smartphones, airplanes, and electric cars—and Silicon Valley’s Envia at one moment was home to the most promising research breakthroughs in the US. But a phone tip told LeVine that matters were not as they seemed, leading him to burrow in on the investigation on which the piece is based. LeVine had been regularly interviewing two of the story’s characters for The Great Battery Race, his latest book, to be published in 2015 by Viking. The executives of a Silicon Valley startup were the book’s positive, climactic finish, a Hollywood ending in which General Motors licensed their technology for a triumphal 200-mile electric car, and the founders launched an IPO and got rich. It was only in September 2013, as LeVine was finishing the book, that he received the phone tip--the executives had fallen out in allegations of fraud, and GM had canceled the license. It is a story of how at least one and possibly both of the executives had fooled everyone—the Obama Administration, GM and the media—into believing they had created an enormous technological breakthrough when they had not.
  • Thompson's $300 Million Bill

    This story--an edited version of my Columbia Journalism School masters thesis--revealed that Bill Thompson, a likely candidate for New York City mayor, had cut two deals as head of a public authority that put some $81 million in the hands of wealthy developers at the expense of taxpayers. Based on roughly six months of work, starting with a push from my advisor, the piece draws on extensive reporting, using both on- and off-the-record conversations, which led to several records requests that ultimately gave the first accounting of the cost of the actions of the Battery Park City Authority during Mr. Thompson's term as chair. The piece was published in the New York World, a non-profit accountability journalism organization run by Columbia.
  • What Killed Arafat?

    This 50-minute film was the result of a nine month long cold case investigation into the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat, Palestine's iconic, revolutionary leader. After obtaining Arafat's entire original medical files, Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, led by producer and reporter Clayton Swisher, crossed continents to track down and interview the French, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian doctors who had worked to save Arafat's life. Part I of "What Killed Arafat?" was able to easily shatter popular myths about what caused Arafat's precipitous decline from the onset of his illness on October 12, 2004 until his death on November 11th. Testimony from Arafat's doctors conclusively ruled out liver cirrhosis, cancer, even rumors of HIV. The scientific, evidence-based discoveries made in the Part II result from the work performed by a team of forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and radiation physicists from the University Center for Legal Medicine and Institute for Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland. Working without payment, they agreed to run a battery of sophisticated tests on a large gym bag containing Arafat’s last personal effects. The scientists discovered significant levels of reactor-made Polonium 210 contaminating areas of Arafat's personal effects that came into contact with his biological fluids. When the final results came back in late June, Al Jazeera hosted Mrs. Arafat in Doha to watch the Swiss explain the results on set. Upon witnessing their testimony, Ms. Arafat made a resolute, unanticipated surprise announcement, calling on the Palestinian Authority to exhume her husband's body for testing. Yasser Arafat’s body was exhumed on November 27, 2012 so that the final samples could be retrieved. Whether the causes of Arafat's death are determined to be natural, inconclusive—or even murder—suffice it to say that Al Jazeera’s "What Killed Arafat?" and the resulting investigations and exhumation will have inched the world closer to understanding what did not, and possibly for the first time, what did claim the life of this historic and controversial personality.
  • Protect and Serve

    The investigation of a Florida Atlantic University police officer, who was arrested for allegedly shooting escort Sheri Deann Carter in January 2011. Ho had a history of violence and a rap sheet that included many civilian complaints and battery charges from his wife.
  • Leading to the Dell Battery Recall

    Dell Computers initiated the largest recall of electronic goods in history, possibly influenced partly by this story. Consumer Affairs looked into a report from a woodsman in rural Arizona who said a Dell computer "engulfed his truck." His 1966 Ford F-250 exploded in a fire caused by the laptop, a situation which became even more dangerous thanks to the bullets in the gentleman's glove compartment, sending bystanders diving behind boulders. The man, Thomas Forqueran, provided photos and documents to verify his story. Following the battery recall, Consumer Affiars further reported that Dell may have been aware of the potential problems.
  • Burning Laptops

    Dallas' KVTV investigates overheating laptop batteries, eventually leading to a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall of nearly 10 million batteries due to fire hazards. The station received a tip after a consumer's laptop burst into flames, and the subsequent investigation found that lithium ion laptop batteries were susceptible. Experts asserted that the attempt to pack too much power into such a small device was leading to the overheating. Because there had been relatively few fires, this issue was not widely known, nor were the manufacturers taking steps to improve it. The story is ongoing, as technology continues to evolve.
  • Battered Justice

    This extensive investigative series examines the methods used to deal with domestic violence cases in Colorado. While domestic violence and assault laws have changed drastically over the past 15 years to help victims of abuse, advocacy groups are still unsure as to whether the laws are helpful or causing more harm to victims. Others don't want to dispute these laws for fear that old beliefs will return about domestic violence not being a crime.