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 "cheap" ...

  • Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat

    Americans love meat – we have one of the highest rates of consumption in the world. While U.S. shoppers enjoy relatively low prices and an array of choices, there is a high human price tag. The more than 500,000 men and women who work in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants have some of the most dangerous factory jobs in America. The meatpacking industry has made a lot of progress on worker safety since publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” in 1906, but some things remain the same: the work is mostly done by immigrants and refugees; they suffer high rates of injuries and even, sometimes death; and the government lags in oversight. http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/dangerous-jobs-cheap-meat
  • The Buyout of America

    The expose reveals how private equity firms make fortunes by destroying businesses. This is an important topic since secretive PE firms using the same cheap credit that caused the housing bubble bought companies last decade that employed one of every 10 Americans.
  • Comrade Capitalism

    In these investigations, Reuters revealed how Putin’s daughter secretly married the son of an old friend of the president; how Putin’s new son-in-law went on to acquire a stake worth $2.85 billion in Russia’s biggest petrochemical processor; how that stake was financed by a cheap loan from a bank run by associates of Putin; and how the petrochemical company is now benefiting from $1.75 billion in cheap state finance. While much has been written about other Russian billionaires, no one has previously succeeded in shedding so much light on the finances of the president’s family. Former KGB officer Putin has long claimed to be a man of modest means, a frugal figure atop the former communist country now plundered by crony capitalism. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/section/comrade-capitalism-2015/
  • Insane. Invisible. In Danger.

    Each year, Florida courts send thousands of patients to live in state-funded mental hospitals. They go because they are seriously ill, mentally broken and potentially dangerous. They need round-the-clock care to avoid hurting themselves or someone else. But in Florida, the care that patients, their families – and society – count on has given way to state-run chaos. Over the past six years, Florida has tried to run these hospitals on the cheap, quietly stripping them of $100 million in funding in order to plug holes in more politically popular programs. The result: mental patients are warehoused, cared for by startlingly few trained workers, and living in a violent environment that has led to the death and injury of patients and staff. And the state has kept it all secret.
  • Pets at Risk

    This series examined the fast-growing, secretive world of pet medicines -- how they are riskier, cheaper and quicker to develop than human medicines, and how some pharmaceutical companies are moving aggressively into this specialized, under-regulated world to cushion the blow of declining revenues from human medicines.
  • Inside the Box

    Portable classrooms come cheap and fast. They offer a lifeline for districts with more students than building capacity, a problem recent projections show will worsen in coming years. But in Washington and Oregon, like at schools across the country, the temporary structures more often than not become permanent fixtures, InvestigateWest and EarthFix learned. The consequences can be serious, as for fourth-grader Shaylee Adams, who suffered high fevers, coughing and swelling.
  • Cheated Under the Hood

    This undercover KXAN investigation exposed automotive shops charging customers for the most expensive, highest quality synthetic motor oil for their cars but putting in much cheaper, lower quality conventional oil. The cost difference between full synthetic oil and conventional can be as much as $80 - $100, which means customers were getting ripped off while the auto shops were profiting. But there’s really no way for a consumer to tell if they’re getting the oil they paid for without having the oil tested at a petroleum lab, which is very expensive. But KXAN was willing to cover the expenses to achieve the story. We paid thousands for oil changes and lab tests to expose the problem. And after we exposed the problem the guilty auto shops stopped what they were doing.
  • Sell Block: The empty promises of prison labor

    Our state’s glossy marketing brochures and polished YouTube videos told a story that everyone wanted to believe: Washington Correctional Industries, a for-profit arm of the state prison system, would employ inmates in its factories to make goods for government agencies while paying for itself. The program would teach prisoners new skills so that after release they’d more easily find jobs, thereby lowering crime. It was a wonderful success story, but, unfortunately, it was mostly untrue. Behind the nation’s fourth-largest inmate labor program, our reporters found a broken system that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, charged exorbitant markups on goods that state agencies are required to buy, and taken jobs from private businesses that can’t compete with cheap prison labor. “Sell Block: The Empty Promises of Prison Labor” is the first investigative project about this growing industry
  • Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

    The U.S. government is the nation's single largest employer of undocumented immigrants. This was the startling discovery of a 7-month investigation into a little-known program that allows the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to employ these immigrants and pay them a $1 a day or less to perform most of the jobs running the 250 federal immigration detention centers around the country. This finding was even more striking considering the number of undocumented workers involved -- more than 60,000 per year -- and the amount of money the federal government saves and private prison companies make (at least $40 million annually) as a direct result of being allowed to pay these people so far below the minimum wage, or about 13 cents per hour.
  • Costly Generics

    Generic drugs now make up around 80 percent of prescriptions filled, and many assume generics are always cheap. But a PBS NewsHour Weekend investigation found that’s not always the case. Retail prices for generic drugs can vary wildly from pharmacy to pharmacy – a fact few consumers know anything about. The story was very personal for PBS NewsHour Weekend correspondent Megan Thompson, whose mother Carol discovered that the cost of a month’s supply of her generic breast cancer drug Letrozole ranged from around $10 to more than $400 at pharmacies around the Twin Cities. Thompson also spoke to Lisa Gill at Consumer Reports who led a national survey of retail prices for five new generics. Gill said their results were unprecedented - the biggest price variations they’d ever seen in a drug pricing study. The consequences of these huge price variations can be dire. The uninsured, or people with inadequate drug coverage or high deductibles, could overpay by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Or, they could end up going without medications they need. Thompson interviewed Lisa Duncan of Brooklyn Park, MN, who is bipolar and has a history of suicide attempts. After she became uninsured, she couldn’t afford a big-name chain’s price of more than $100 for one of her prescriptions, so she left the store empty-handed. Duncan says she found the same drug at CostCo for a tenth of the price and was able take the drug again as needed. As the nation grapples with skyrocketing health care costs, “Costly Generics” is an important consumer story that shines a light on the murky prescription drug marketplace, where it’s hard to know how much drugs are supposed to cost, and is very difficult to find or compare prices. And vulnerable populations who need medications the most – the elderly, or chronically ill -- may also be the least likely to have to have the resources to navigate this opaque marketplace. One viewer wrote that after watching the story, she called around and found her prescription for $28 at a local drug store, compared to $72 at CVS.