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 "consumers" ...

  • Driven Into Debt

    This ongoing series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • Unlicensed, Unpunished

    A single tip led the investigative team at Denver7 to uncover unlicensed, untrained and often unpunished health care workers diagnosing and treating vulnerable, sick and disadvantaged Coloradans. The team’s work led to criminal investigations, forced Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to intervene in the matter directly, and prompted state regulators to rewrite and reprioritize their policies. It represents a textbook case of journalists holding the powerful accountable by identifying fundamental problems in the institutions designed to keep consumers safe. Hickenlooper credited Denver7 for "actually making the community safer."
  • ProPublica Illinois: Driven Into Debt

    This series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • Dirty Gold, Clean Cash

    "Dirty Gold, Clean Cash" was an extensive Miami Herald investigation sparked by a federal court case into how organized crime groups, including narco-traffickers, are using destructive illegal gold mines in Latin America to launder money through precious metals -- metals which ultimately end up in the hands of unsuspecting American consumers as jewelry, electronics and bullion. The trade has a crucial logistical hub in Miami. The series required extensive on-the-ground reporting in Peru and Colombia, a challenge for a local paper like the Miami Herald but one which the paper was prepared for because of its longstanding commitment to foreign reporting.
  • CNBC: Oceans of Crime

    This is a crime story, set in the most open and lawless place on earth – the ocean. The perpetrators traffic in an illegal product – seafood. Their front-line workers are literally slaves. And almost anyone who buys salmon, canned tuna, or pet food is helping to fund this outlaw industry, whether they realize it or not. In this documentary about illegal fishing, CNBC illustrates the often shocking, unethical path much of our seafood takes from the water to our dinner plates, and what is being done to curb the often monumental abuses that occur along the way. Because illegal fishing is both a human rights and an environmental issue, CNBC’s goal was to explore the entire supply process and introduce all those involved – fishermen suffering abuse, the perpetrators, the would-be rescuers and enforcers, and the consumers who make it all possible, whether they know it or not.
  • Cosecha de Miseria (Harvest of Misery)

    A yearlong investigation by Telemundo and The Weather Channel gathered evidence that child labor is commonplace during the coffee harvest in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico -- illustrating in stark, human terms the failures and limitations of an elaborate global system of third-party monitoring established by the coffee industry to assure its sourcing is ethical, and a violation of international agreements and laws meant to prohibit child labor. By following the supply chain to the source, the investigation also revealed how global agreements and the laws of nations prohibit such labors by children, who were found filling and lugging heavy bags of coffee while living in harsh conditions. Result: A documentary in which reporters take viewers on a gritty, real-world tour to the bottom of the murky coffee supply chain, where feel-good marketing clashes with harsh realities socially conscious consumers may find surprising if not shocking.
  • Consumer Fraud Involving Various Agricultural Products and Crops

    This series focuses on consumer fraud involving various agricultural products and crops. As American consumers seek more quality and health claims about products they buy, they're also demanding greater transparency from the companies that make these goods. But there's still plenty of secrecy in the supply chains from the farms that produce raw materials to the finished products that people purchase at stores.
  • Troubling Pharmacies

    An investigation of nearly seven years of Virginia pharmacy board case decisions leads to the state making it easier for consumers to find out which health professionals are on probation but still working. It uncovers the area's largest health-provider, which had to outsource its hospital IV fluid mixing when it failed a pharmacy inspection, and got hospital officials to describe the details of the corrective action taken. It tells the story of a single pharmacist who never lost a day of work despite multiple probations from nearly 50 violations cited in board orders. It identifies the 17 area pharmacies that were cited for violations. And it reveals board reporting delays and transparency issues that keep consumers from making informed decisions on where to safely have their prescriptions filled.
  • Smart Consumer Reports

    "Smart Consumer Reports" is a weekly show that provides consumers with credible information for them to make rational choices through comparative experiments and analysis of consumer goods and services as consumers are the weak compared to producers and distributors. This episode covers the worst case of manufactured product in Korea, the humidifier sterilizer incident. The official recorded deaths are 146 from this incident and it's already been 5 years since the incident occurred. However, the government has been neglecting this incident and there has been no punishment for the manufacturer and compensation for the victims. This program reports such results and seeks for an institutional solution that can save the victims.