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 "bias" ...

  • Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't

    The book revisits the murder conviction of Jo Ann Parks, sentenced to life in prison without parole for allegedly murdering her three young children in 1989by setting fire to her home and trapping them inside. In re-investigating the case, the author found flawed forensic science, false and contradictory testimony, and strong evidence of cognitive bias throughout the case, including use of an unreliable informant who later recanted, and sworn expert testimony that the fire began because Parks supposedly constructed a crude “incendiary device” by deliberately overloading a sabotaged electrical extension cord. Testing later proved the cord did not and could not start a fire. Information in the book has since been added to Parks’ existing habeas corpus petition filed by the California Innocence Project, now being considered by the state Supreme Court. Additional findings suggests the problems with flawed forensic science and cognitive bias in general, and in arson investigation in particular, is widespread and has led to other wrongful convictions. Correcting the use of flawed forensic and expert testimony is hindered by the legal system’s reliance on precedent, which slows and sometimes prevents the correction of scientifically dubious ideas used to win convictions. Nascent attempts to study and change this tendency to prolong the use of flawed forensic science initiated by the Obama Administration have been shut down by the Trump Administration.
  • Bias In Olympic Figure Skating Judging

    Figure skating, unlike other subjective judged Olympic sports, lets national sports federations decide who will judge athletes. This apparently creates an incentive for bias. Judges know they have to please their national sports federation to go to the Olympics. These judges give higher scores when their own country’s athletes perform. Nationalistic bias is measurable. In addition, NBC News roughly a fifth of the judges in the pool to judge the games hold or have held leadership positions in their national skating federations. We went further and during the Olympics named the names of judges who showed the most bias in scoring. One of those judges was later sanctioned - the first time a judge has ever been sanctioned for statistically showing bias.
  • WUSA 9 -- "DC Police: Stop and Frisk"

    Through analyzing more than 6 years of data WUSA 9's “DC Police: Stop and Frisk” series uncovered 8 out of 10 people stop and frisked by Washington, DC police are African-American, despite black people making up less than half the city's population. The year-long investigation, 20 part series and hour-long special that followed exposed shocking and systematic failures by the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department to follow its own laws. Laws designed to protect people from racial bias on the part of police officers.
  • NBC News: Bias In Olympic Figure Skating Judging

    When it comes to judging Olympic figure skating, nationalistic bias is measurable and statistically significant. Data shows a typical judge will give about three points more to an athlete from the same country in cumulative scores. Academics know this. But NBC News showed problems with Olympic skating judging even run deeper. The very people who judge skating include leaders in national skating federations, raising further questions of bias. NBC News found that the pool of 164 judges eligible for PyeongChang's figure-skating events includes 33 judges — roughly a fifth of the total — who hold or have held leadership positions in their national skating federations. NBC News documented how judges caught cheating and breaking the rules routinely are allowed to quickly return to judging the world’s top international competitions. NBC News also did something never attempted before: Spotting bias during the Olympics, and naming names. Our stories got results. For the first time, the International Skating Union took action. After the Olympics, one of the judges named by NBC News while the Olympics were going on, Feng Huang of China, was sanctioned for statistical patterns of bias.
  • Military.com: Aviators Kicked Out

    The U.S. military prides itself on its colorblind attitude to race and its increasing diversity. Why, then, does the field of naval aviation remain overwhelmingly white, and less diverse in some areas now than two decades ago? Three black aviators who share remarkably similar stories of getting expelled from the training pipeline say unconscious bias is to blame. These former trainees, some of whom remain in appeals with the Navy, say they're just as good as their white peers, and an instructor backs their assertions. Investigations, formal complaints, and a troubling aviation instructors' chat history paint a picture of an environment that dooms minority aviators from the moment they set foot on the flightline.
  • Influence & Injustice: An investigation into the power of prosecutors

    When it comes to racial bias in Florida's criminal justice system, there's plenty of blame to go around. Judges say prosecutors are the most responsible because they control the plea negotiation process where 95 percent of cases are resolved, But while prosecutors are the most powerful people in the system, that power varies based on where they practice and the relative influence of other actors – judges, public defenders, private attorneys, law enforcement officers and even juries.
  • BuzzFeed News: The Edge

    Figure skating, one of the most popular sports at the Winter Olympics, has a problem: Scoring is often slanted in favor of the judges' home countries. In this exclusive analysis, BuzzFeed News showed that one third of the officials selected to judge the 2018 Winter Olympics had, in recent seasons, demonstrated a home-country preference so strikingly consistent that the odds of it occurring by random chance were less than 1 in 100,000.
  • They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?

    This was a year-long investigation of the prosecution of accidental drug overdoses as homicides. It is the first and only story to attempt to quantify the national scale of this emerging trend using court data. It also involved a review of 82 individual cases in Pennsylvania to examine where defendants fit on the user-dealer continuum and whether they were drug users themselves.
  • Deceptive Diplomacy - Cover-up by the UN

    An international team of investigative reporters revealed how top UN officials covered up crucial information about the murder of the UN experts Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
  • Deceptive Diplomacy - Cover-up by the UN

    An international team of investigative reporters revealed how top UN officials covered up crucial information about the murder of the UN experts Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.