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 "competition" ...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Electric Boondoggle

    A $2.5 million prize from the prestigious taxpayer-backed X Prize competition wound up rewarding a troubled company that's been accused of running penny-stock scams. A two-month Greenwire investigation uncovered a cascade of suspicious transactions and dubious claims by Li-Ion Motors Corporation Court documents, interviews and the company's own filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission found that the company has plowed through $50 million in investors' money with little to show for it other than millions of dollars of debt, a $250,000 IRS lien, angry customers and allegations that it was involved in "pump and dump" stock schemes.
  • The Tax Windfall

    These reports uncovered how subtle changes in contracts and secret business relationships with government officials led to the elimination of competition for a major vendor in the county’s new tax assessment program. We found that one former tax commissioner, who was integral in creating the program, later became an owner of an assessment firm that benefited from the contracts. A second insider firm, who had hired the father-in-law of the chief county assessor, won 90 percent of the contracts for the towns in the county required to revamp their assessments. That same company also had on its payroll the very same assessor who would be supervising their work in the various towns.
  • Qatar: The Price of Glory 2015

    The Price of Glory is an HBO Real Sports investigation into Qatar’s plan to achieve international recognition through sport and the price it has exacted in fair play, human rights, and even human lives. Our investigation found that the Qatari sports plan is one of unprecedented ambition and ruthlessness, based on the exploitation of foreign labor on and off the field. To build world-class athletic teams, Qatar has crisscrossed the world, paying athletes from the poorest countries on earth to become naturalized Qatari citizens. Real Sports heard it first hand from an entire team of Bulgarian weightlifters paid by Qatar to assume Arabic identities and represent the Gulf state in international competition. Our story detailed the systemic bribery that allowed this stiflingly hot desert sheikhdom without a soccer tradition to improbably win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Ten months before a series of arrests of FIFA officials suspected of taking bribes, Real Sports spoke with a former FIFA insider about the corrupt bidding process, and detailed how Qatari officials bought their way to the very top of world soccer by plying FIFA officials on five continents. Off the field, Real Sports documented how Qatar’s sports glory is built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in Asia, imported and indentured to create a lavish World Cup city in the desert. Our team watched workers toil in 117-degree heat and followed them into the decrepit labor camps few outsiders have seen in order to expose the brutal conditions in which they are bonded into effective slavery. Viewers will see why thousands of these migrant workers are projected to die on the job by the time the 2022 World Cup games begin. When we first aired the piece the Qatari government told us changes were coming and that we should stand by. We took them up on their offer and revisited the situation a year later, only to find that none of the changes to the bonded labor system—known as Kafala—had taken place. In fact Nepali migrant workers were even prohibited from returning home after a massive earthquake ravaged their country. Worse still—our follow-up investigation found that some of the top people in Qatari sport weren’t just using their money to buy athletes, they were using it to fund terrorist organizations and invite radical jihadi clerics to speak at their elite sports academy. Our project spanned four years of research, four continents, and scores of interviews with athletes, activists, migrant workers, FIFA insiders, and US government officials.
  • Pay for Delay

    Are generic drugs delayed to market by so-called “pay-for-delay” deals between brand and generic drug manufacturers? PBS NewsHour Weekend investigated these deals and other practices that opponents like the Federal Trade Commission say are meant to impede generic competition and protect profits. PBS NewsHour Weekend profiled Karen Winkler, a 46-year-old mother of three with Multiple Sclerosis. A deal was struck over her M.S. drug that opponents say delayed the generic to market. Then, the manufacturer raised the price to get patients to switch to its new extended-release version. Unable to afford it, Karen went off the drug until it went generic in 2012. PBS NewsHour Weekend shed light on complicated, secretive pharmaceutical deals rarely examined on national TV. These deals affect thousands of patients, but few know anything about them. And in cases like Winkler’s, they can have profound consequences.
  • Contract to Cheat

    Contract to Cheat told an overlooked and poorly understood story of a construction industry dominated by companies willing to cheat on the backs of laborers and honest competitors. Using payroll records submitted for federally funded projects, reporters in eight McClatchy papers, the company's D.C. bureau and ProPublica examined the extent of the problem and exposed the government regulators who let it happen.
  • Norwegian Government investing in Betting Companies

    A stabbing, based upon betting debt, gave VG the idea to investigate the betting companies and the people in the "industry". In Norway they have a betting monopoly, organized at "Norsk Tipping" ("Norwegian Betting"), but the monopoly has faced competition from foreign companies regarding online betting. Even if the government has have forbidden the banks to make transmission to these companies, the players are finding the way around.
  • Google Play Store Lets Your Kid Spend Like a Drunken Sailor

    This investigation, performed under extremely tight time constraints and in the face of intense competition, delivered previously unreported consumer news about a longstanding problem that had cost customers of the world's biggest brand, Google, millions of dollars. The published report, which presented a technical problem in a dramatic and understandable way, had significant impact: It prompted Google to fix the problem within a matter of weeks; the report itself was sent by Google's biggest competitor, Apple, to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission; the report was cited extensively as evidence in a class action suit against Google in Federal Court; and it helped lead to a settlement between Google and the Federal Trade Commission in which Google agreed to reimburse aggrieved consumers at least $19 million.
  • Dividing Lines

    This project explored the nature, causes and consequences of political polarization in metropolitan Milwaukee and Wisconsin. It concluded that metropolitan Milwaukee is by some measures the most polarized place in swing-state America; that it has grown more politically segregated with virtually every election cycle since the 1970s; that its voters live overwhelmingly in politically homogenous neighborhoods dominated by a single party; that those communities have been moving systematically in one partisan direction (either red or blue) for more than four decades; that the partisan gap between its urban and outlying communities has been steadily growing; and that this deep and deepening polarization is a consequence of at least three factors: extreme racial segregation, unusually high levels of political engagement and activism; and at least two decades of perpetual partisan conflict and mobilizing as a result of Wisconsin’s political competitiveness, its battleground role in presidential races and the unprecedented turmoil and division over collective bargaining beginning in 2011. We also charted the rise of political segregation nationally, in the ever-growing share of voters in the United States who live in politically one-sided counties. The project also traced the dramatic changes in voting behavior in the state of Wisconsin in recent decades with the demise of ticket-splitting, the rise of extreme party-line voting, and the systematic growth of two political divides – the one between white and nonwhite voters, and the one between densely populated and less densely populated places. The series explored the relationship between Wisconsin’s high and rising political engagement and turnout rates and its deepening partisan divisions. And it explored the consequences of rising polarization and political segregation when it comes to the way campaigns are conducted, the outcomes of elections, the decline in electoral competition, and barriers to regional problem-solving. It found that as a result of partisan and geographic fault lines, the two parties in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) are increasingly drawing their support from different kinds of voters and different kinds of communities, and winning very different kinds of elections.