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 "breaking news" ...

  • Hard Rock Hotel Collapse

    When an 18-story hotel under construction collapsed catastrophically on a Saturday morning in October, we immediately began trying to understand what went wrong. Initially, this involved sharing video of the collapse with experts to seek opinions about possible causes. In the days and weeks that followed, we spoke with workers who were on the job and reviewed building plans and inspection reports to determine where missteps were made. We also uncovered a video, narrated in Spanish by a worker on the site, that was posted several days before the collapse, in which the worker spotlights a number of alarming flaws in the building.
  • Inside Texas' botched voter-rolls review

    The press release landed late on a Friday afternoon: State officials had found 95,000 “noncitizens” on the Texas voter rolls — and 58,000 of those people had voted. The reaction from GOP state leaders, who have long pushed unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud in Texas, was swift and certain. “VOTER FRAUD ALERT,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted. “Thanks to Attorney General Paxton and the Secretary of State for uncovering and investigating this illegal vote registration,” Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, adding, “I support prosecution where appropriate.” Even President Donald Trump chimed in. “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.” The state’s claims immediately raised red flags for our voting rights reporter, Alexa Ura. Ura knew the state had used driver’s license records — where applicants must reveal their citizenship status — to cross-reference the voter rolls and flag potential illegitimate voters. She also knew that in Texas, immigrants only have to renew their driver’s license every few years — meaning many thousands of people flagged by the state’s review had almost certainly become naturalized citizens before they registered and voted. Her breaking news story on state leaders’ “voter fraud” announcement explained those flawed methods and cast serious doubts on their claims. But her follow-up reporting — dozens of explanatory and investigative stories over as many weeks — had far greater impact than merely debunking irresponsible claims.
  • The Death of a State Trooper

    Early on a Saturday morning in late March of 2019, a man drove the wrong way down a suburban Chicago expressway and crashed into another driver, killing them both. It’s the kind of news story that – unfortunately -- we all report too often. It’s also the kind of story that NBC5 Investigates regularly checks out, to see what might be behind the breaking news. In this case, we quickly discovered a man – Dan Davies -- who should never have been on the road, because of a system that simply (and repeatedly) didn’t work, eventually resulting in that early- morning crash. The man Davies killed: An Illinois State Trooper named Gerald Ellis, who was heading home to his family after his late-night shift. One witness at the scene said Trooper Ellis saved the lives of others, by steering into Davies’ oncoming car. Nearly every day over the two weeks following that fatal crash, NBC5 Investigates uncovered new court records and police reports, blood-alcohol analyses and dash cam video, social-media posts and States Attorney documents, all adding to a damning pile of evidence showing that Davies should have been behind bars the night of the crash, save for a series of mistakes by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Yet, every day, when we tried to get answers from that State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, there was only radio silence. The lack of response was so galling – especially from a taxpayer-funded office accountable to the public -- that we documented, online and in real time, the actual reporting process of our daily phone calls and emails, which simply sought the most basic answers on what her office did and didn’t do, in a case that clearly and ultimately resulted in the unnecessary death of an Illinois State trooper. Ultimately, Foxx was forced to respond and – finally – take responsibility for the mistakes that allowed Dan Davies to be on the road that night.
  • Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships

    In the middle of June, tensions were rising between the United States and Iran. Iran had attacked oil tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, and then downed an expensive, high-tech Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone flying over the Strait, upping the ante of the conflict. Given previous rhetoric from Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Iranian regime, the decision to exit the Iran deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the increasingly heavy sanctions on Iran, the Yahoo News team was monitoring for chances to report in more depth on specific Iranian capabilities as well as U.S. plans to counter them. Following the attack on the U.S. drone, Yahoo News began communicating with sources who had extensive detail on a specific unit within the Iranian military in the cross-hairs of the U.S. military, a unit that had advanced its cyber capabilities to the point that it was able to track nearly all ships traveling through the Strait through both social engineering, or pretending to be attractive women engaging with service members traveling on the ships, to actually compromising ship GPS data websites in order to digitally monitor their paths. In the course of reporting, Yahoo News discovered a key, news breaking event—that just hours prior, the U.S. Cyber Command had launched a retaliatory strike aimed at limiting the capabilities of the specific Iranian cyber group the team had already been investigating. Yahoo was the first to break the news of the retaliatory strike, leading dozens of major news outlets to race to match the story. However, given the fact Yahoo News was investigating details into the cyber unit, our story was not only first but best and most detailed. The story demonstrates our ability to jump into the news cycle, provide key breaking news to our readers, as well as dig deep into illuminating new details. The story also revealed that Iranian capabilities to intercept and down drones to study them for espionage purposes was highly advanced, a fact previously unknown. Given President Trump’s recent decision to authorize a strike to kill IRGC Commander Qasem Suleimani, our reporting will continue to provide value to readers, analysts, and other interested parties hoping to better understand Iranian capabilities and how the U.S. might respond to them.
  • "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.
  • Atmos gas explosion

    “Atmos gas explosion” is a WFAA investigation into lax regulatory oversight and shoddy maintenance of Atmos Energy, a natural gas supplier, that puts millions of North Texas residents in continued danger. The series of stories was triggered by a fatal natural gas home explosion that killed a 12-year-old girl.
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Troubled officer kills wife, her friend and himself

    A troubled Georgia police officer with a history of violence and dishonesty shot and killed his wife, her male friend and himself in June 2018. An AJC breaking news investigation revealed that prosecutors and the local law enforcement community for years enabled Officer Robert Sasser and looked the other way in the face of a documented pattern of misconduct. This helped set the stage for his final violent act.
  • Youth prison chaos revealed

    A breaking news investigation that revealed a state-federal probe into allegations of abuse and mismanagement at a youth prison facility in northern Wisconsin and quickly identified many of the problems, including poor oversight by the state Department of Corrections.
  • Fatal shooting exposes nepotism in the California Senate

    The California Capitol was rocked last year by criminal charges against three state senators accused in unrelated cases of bribery, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons. These were high-profile cases that garnered widespread media attention and public hand-wringing by politicians. What wasn't being covered by anyone else was the stories you will read here, about an ethical crisis simmering in the administrative side of the state Senate -- problems that had been largely ignored by the politicians elected to run the house. This entry includes 11 news stories I wrote over six months, a mix of enterprise investigations and breaking news. Rosenhall coverage led to significant changes in the administration of the California Senate.
  • Waiting for Help

    The breaking news was a mobile home fire on a bitterly cold night. A WSPA photographer captured the aftermath, wrecked home, shivering children, flashing lights on the trucks. The people there, the neighbors mostly, kept asking the same question, “Why did it take so long for firefighters to show up?” It was easy to check and see just how long it took those first responders to arrive and the answer didn’t make sense. WSPA discovered the 911 calls from the fire gave all the correct information including the right address and a full description of the emergency. 911 dispatchers heard that information clearly and repeated it back exactly. Then, they sent the wrong stations to the wrong address in a different city. WSPA used dispatch logs, 911 recordings and interviews to expose a problem with the automated dispatch software that was happening in agencies across the area. With lives at stake, a simple oversight was causing dangerous delays. As a result of WSPA's report, the 911 agency promised sweeping changes. The follow-up reports hold them accountable for that effort.