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  • Decoding Discrimination

    Hiring workers based on race or sex is illegal, but Reveal found that some companies skirted the law by contracting out their discriminatory practices to temp agencies.
  • The Bandidos and the Waco Melee

    After rival bikers and police engaged in a deadly shootout at a Waco restaurant, many questions lingered about what prompted the fight, who fired the fatal shots and why so many were arrested - even seemingly innocent. But police and prosecutors stopped talking and a judge imposed a gag order Most reporters let the story drop - but not Houston Chronicle Reporter Dane Schiller, a long-time organized crime specialist. His doggedness resulted in a series of stories – significant take-outs and regular blog posts - that shed light on the bad blood between biker gangs, raised questions about how police overreacted to the gathering and exposed the weaknesses of the charges against many of those arrested.
  • Shadow Money

    With our ongoing investigation of "dark money" in politics, OpenSecrets Blog (run by the Center for Responsive Politics) has repeatedly broken new ground in revealing the cash pipeline of some of the groups that have been most active trying to influence elections and national policy. These groups -- tax-exempt nonprofits that don't have to reveal their funding sources -- spent more than $300 million in the 2012 elections, mostly on TV ads, and have continued to spend to set the stage for the next election cycle. No other news organization has done more to shine light on these secretive groups that use confusion and ambiguity in both tax law and election law to spend big money in elections around the country.
  • Big Brands on Campus

    "Big Brands on Campus" was a six-month investigation of the apparel contracts between universities and Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. At a time of boiling controversy about big money in amateur sports, it raised alarming questions about the influence of sneaker companies on college campuses. The series included three exhaustive print stories, two interactive maps, two databases, six slideshows and a dozen blog posts as well as extensive interaction with readers on Twitter.
  • Spotlight on the Texas Legislature

    During the 2013 legislative session, The Texas Tribune rolled out two entirely innovative ways to watchdog the state’s elected officials – the first-ever gavel-to-gavel livestream of Texas House and Senate proceedings, and the Ethics Explorer, an interactive investigative app documenting the conflicts of interest and financial relationships of every member of the Legislature. Combined, these two tools gave the Texas public unfettered access to the political maneuvering and shenanigans under the Pink Dome, including an unprecedented abortion filibuster that thrust our scrappy news organization into the national spotlight. No other Texas news organization came close to providing this service; they and many national news sites all relied on the Tribune. Check out the Tribune's interactive, livestream and video links below:
  • Who Protects Reputation for the Bolibourgeoisie?

    While investigating corruption in Venezuela's oil industry, I stumbled upon dozens of newly created websites that appeared to exist only to obfuscate search results about the people I was investigating. It was what technologists call "black-hat reputation management." I tried to figure out who might be behind this effort, and ended up on a months-long hunt that connected several otherwise unrelated scams. I tentatively identified the person who was working for all of these different scammers. This article shows how I solved the puzzle. The article became the best-read page on my blog, thanks in part to a link from Boing Boing. In response to it, changed its search results, the reputation manager deleted some of the offending sites, and someone decided to take out aggression on me. Immediately after I posted the article, someone, most likely the person fingered in my investigation, posted web sites that say I'm an extortionist on the run from the law. The revenge sites also include personal family photos taken from my mother's Facebook page. This article shows that an independent, unfunded blog can do serious investigative journalism with a real-world impact.
  • The F-22’s Fatal Flaws

    For more than a year and a half the Brian Ross Unit investigated the potentially deadly design flaws hidden in the crown jewel of the U.S. Air Force, the F-22 Raptor, the most expensive fighter plane in history. Digital reporter Lee Ferran and editor Mark Schone produced more than 30 web reports or blogs, starting with the story of the death of a gifted pilot and mid-air scares for dozens more, and then digging into the Pentagon’s dangerous policy of letting pilots fly planes it knew were broken. The Ross team uncovered a document showing the Air Force was aware of serious design flaws in its prize plane, and its web pieces questioned whether the service valued the reputation of a troubled $79 billion weapons system more than the safety of its airmen. Part of the investigation challenged the Air Force’s conclusion that the death of F-22 pilot Capt. Jeff Haney was his own fault. The Air Force blamed Haney even though his plane suffered a catastrophic malfunction just seconds before he crashed. The online series was so powerful that both “Nightline” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” asked the Ross team to prepare reports for broadcast as well. On May 2, 2012, in an exclusive interview that appeared both on-air and online, Haney’s sister, Jennifer, said that she suspected the Air Force was tarnishing her brother’s memory to keep heat off the flawed plane. After the ABC News online reports about the crash, the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office announced it planned to review the Air Force’s investigation – the first major crash review by the IG in more than a decade. For years, the Air Force had also been contending with another mysterious and possibly deadly flaw in the F-22 -- one that randomly caused pilots to experience symptoms of oxygen deprivation. It wasn’t until ABC News began asking questions, however, that Defense Secretary Panetta was forced to address the issue publicly. The Air Force repeatedly declined Ferran’s on-camera interview requests, but said it was his dogged attempts that pushed the service to give press briefings on the plane’s problems. Finally, the investigation uncovered a 12-year-old internal document that revealed the Air Force had long been aware of one of the plane’s potentially deadly design flaws but had neglected to fix it. In 2012, under public scrutiny inspired by the Ross team’s reporting, the Air Force addressed the flaw, and made another adjustment designed to protect pilots. Since then it has reported no further oxygen deprivation incidents.
  • Women and Danger

    The four stories in this entry zoom in on women and families battling crime and punishment across the world. The stories are not only investigative reports but personal narratives that shed crucial light on the modern battles families face. For instance, in "Thanks for Ruining My Life," a Kentucky teen gets into legal trouble for tweeting the names of two boys who sexually assaulted her—defying a court order to stay silent about the crime. Reporter Abigail Pesta was the first to get an extended interview with the teen girl, Savannah Dietrich, about her legal crisis and the aftermath, a saga that raised questions about the courts and free speech in the age of social media. In "Laws Gone Wild," Michigan mother Francie Baldino starts a movement against sex-offender laws when the laws ensnare her teenage son for having underage sex with his high-school sweetheart, landing him in prison with predators and pedophiles for more than six years. Pesta was the first to report on this new movement of mothers and tell this family's personal story as well. The stories sparked a discussion across the media and blogosphere about crime and modern law, bringing in a slew of letters and comments.
  • The Dallas Morning News: Texas' Cancer-Fighting Agency

    Since May, 2012, The Dallas Morning News has published a dozen stories and 16 blog posts on a series of political and legal problems facing a new state agency, The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The agency opened to much acclaim in 2009; it is the second-largest U.S. source of funds to fight cancer, second only to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute.
  • Waldo Canyon Fire tragedy

    On either June 22 or 23, the Waldo Canyon Fire ignited on U.S. forest land a few miles west of Colorado Springs. On June 26, it surged into the city, killing two people and destroying 345 homes. In print stories and blog posts between July 4 and Dec. 19, the Colorado Springs Independent delved into how city government responded to the fire — first as a threat, then as a crisis. Our findings suggest that an event city leaders have often described simply as unpredictably “epic” was actually made more dangerous and devastating by their own shortcomings of preparation and organization.