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 "computer-assisted reporting" ...

  • Murder Mysteries

    Schripps Howard News Service has conducted the most complete accounting ever made of homicide victims in the United States. Aggressive use of state and local Freedom of Information laws allowed the wire service to assemble a database of 525,742 homicides, including records of 15,322 killings never reported to the FBI. The "Murder Mysteries" project calculated the homicide clearance rate for every police department in the U.S., prompting four departments to promise reforms. Scripps also developed an algorithm that identified 161 suspicious clusters of unsolved homicides involving women of similar age killed through similar means. Authorities in Gary, Ind., and Youngstown, Ohio, Launched new investigations into possible serial murder in their communities as a result of this project.
  • The Federal Contractor Misconduct Database

    The Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD) is a Web-based resource that tracks the civil, criminal, and administrative misconduct of the federal government's largest suppliers of goods and services. POGO created the FCMD to ensure that the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars the federal government awards every year in contracts (over $530 billion in fiscal year 2008) go to companies with solid records of responsibility, integrity and performance. POGO developed the FCMD because government contracting officers are required by law to award contracts to responsible vendors only but lack a centralized repository of information on vendors' misconduct histories. To make decisions that are in the best interest of the public and prevent fraud, wasted and abuse, the government must have as much information as possible reflecting the past performance and responsibility of prospective vendors. The FCMD provides this information free to the public in a concise and user-friendly format. The FCMD spotlights each of the top 100 federal contractors. It complies each contractor's instances of misconduct -- actual and alleged -- dating back to 1995. In addition to misconduct instances, the FCMD includes primary source documents and links to the contractors' Web sites, annual reports, SEC filings, and lobbying and campaign finance information. Search and sort features allow users to search the data for key words, or to organize the data in interesting ways. The FCMD is an evolving resource. POGO continually adds and updates instances and contractor information. POGO also periodically updates the contractor list to reflect the most current fiscal year ranking. Each year, the roster of contractors will change, but POGO will keep all old rankings on a special archive page so that eventually the FCMD will include hundreds of contractors.
  • Katrina Crime: Perceived or Real?

    These stories showed that many months of steep declines in major violent crime in San Antonio ended within weeks of the arrival of Katrina evacuees and began a steady double digit climb in homicide, aggravated robbery and a variety of other violent crime categories. The stories pointed out that, while it was impossible to conclusively link crime to evacuees, this correlation was almost identical to that which was successfully cited by Houston in funding requests to FEMA and other agencies. The series identified crime hotspots in and around a number of resettlement areas and portrayed the feelings experiences of evacuees, native neighbors and business owners in these areas.
  • Paradise: At What Cost?

    For a year-long convergence investigation into Southwest Florida housing prices, reporters for Naples Daily News custom-built a searchable online database of more than 100,000 real estate transactions and median home prices for more than 1600 single family neighborhoods and condo developments in Southwest Fla. They also did more than 500 interviews with local residents, housing and government officials. The series resulted in 33 stories, multiple video interviews, behind-the-scenes vodcasts, weekly podcasts, online reader chats
  • College Student Death Series

    A two part investigation on the deaths of college students on or near four-year campuses. The first shows the death rate for freshman students is higher than any other group; the second looks at the dadly mix of alcohol and fire among college students.
  • Rapid Change

    The authors analyzed home mortgage data to evaluate which areas of Chicago are growing the fastest. They found that the fastest growing housing market in Chicago exists in areas near recently torn down public housing. The authors explore this phenomenon, talk to many Chicago residents, and offer possible explanations for the increasing popularity of those neighborhoods.
  • Recipe for Trouble

    This investigation brings to light the flaws in Pennsylvania's health inspection agencies. The reporters found major inconsistencies with how inspectors rated restaurants, determined that some restaurants had not been inspected in years, and found that the lax rules sometimes lead to repeat violations. The investigation includes a sidebar on food-borne illnesses, and a story on the effort it took to acquire and organize the data.
  • Major Money. Singular Sway

    Campbell analyzed the Federal Elections Commission database to determine the 100 largest individual campaign donors from California. He found that the top 100 together contributed more than $150 million in the 2003-2004 election cycle, and had a huge impact on the state's politics and policies in areas like stem cell research and workers' compensation.
  • Home Costs Go North; The More Affordable Suburbs; Seeing a Hopeful Change

    Hopkins used a database of average home prices in the Baltimore area, grouped by zip code, to show the increase in home-sale prices from 1999-2004. Part one of the series shows that Baltimore is slowly becoming a Washington suburb, and the changing demographic is pushing locals to move further away. Part two focuses on some of the older suburban communities in the area. Part three examines the real estate market to see who is benefiting from the changes.
  • Big jump in State's high-paid workers

    Wallack tracked and analyzed total compensation for state workers from 2002 to 2004. He found that, even though the state budget was tightened, the number of high-paid state employees is on the rise.