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 "county" ...

  • Color of Debt

    The heart of our main story this year was a first-of-its-kind analysis of debt collection lawsuits. Crunching data from five years of court judgments from three metropolitan areas — St. Louis, Chicago and Newark — we found that, even controlling for income, the rate of judgments was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones. This finding was drawn out through in-depth reporting on the ground in St. Louis. We focused on one neighborhood, Jennings, a mostly black suburb that borders Ferguson in north St. Louis County, to illustrate the impact. https://projects.propublica.org/garnishments/
  • Death of Elijah LaJeuness

    This investigative story chronicles the troubling and tragic death of three year old Elijah LaJeuness. WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, obtained hundreds of pages of documents through public information requests filed with the Howard County Police Department and the Howard County Department of Social Services. For months, I-Team reporter, Deborah Weiner, and producers poured over the documents which revealed that up until the day he died, Elijah’s safety and well-being were supposed to be monitored by Child Protective Services. The story of his still unsolved murder, chronicles a failure to protect this little boy who died in his own home. http://www.wbaltv.com/tv/about/death-of-elijah-lajeuness/37380942
  • School Desegregation Orders

    The highest performing school district in the state of Florida, St. Johns County schools, still has an open desegregation order. I submitted FOI requests with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and the St. Johns County school district to obtain records and information needed for the story. Records show currently the majority of students in the St. Johns County school district are white but the district is now fully integrated and complies with the federal order. I learned that that the federal government has been inconsistent in its monitoring of the open desegregation orders in Florida. After my story aired, the St. Johns County school district has said they are working with the federal government to have the desegregation order closed.
  • The Brothel Next Door

    Merrill College student reporters did what state officials had promised but failed to do: a comprehensive assessment of human trafficking and law enforcement’s response to it. The result was “The Brothel Next Door,” the first in-depth, data-based analysis of the problem in Maryland. The report was published online by Capital News Service and by local news outlets, including in Spanish by The Washington Post’s El Tiempo Latino. Five classes collaborated on the project: Media law classes submitted public records requests to every county. Capstone classes searched court files for details about how victims become trapped, traffickers operate and authorities respond. They obtained chilling audio of victims’ testimony and a state database never before released. Their analysis found authorities had uncovered extensive evidence of trafficking but struggled to win convictions. They conducted scores of interviews to understand why.
  • Line of Fire: Bullets, badges and death on the street

    Even before riots swept Ferguson, Mo., WPTV NewsChannel 5 and The Palm Beach Post teamed up to take on an unprecedented assignment: Track every police-involved shooting since 2000. We spent more than one year gathering public records and creating a database to track every detail from 256 incidents. Our joint investigation found Palm Beach County’s largest law enforcement agency cleared deputies in nearly every shooting and showed a pattern of rushing to judgment and ignoring evidence to reach those conclusions.
  • Municipal Court Abuses

    Many municipal courts in St. Louis County, particularly in struggling areas, have become major sources of revenue for their cities. As these towns came to rely more on traffic fines and court fees to fund their operations, people on the bottom income rungs found themselves buried in debt to the courts and facing arrest when they didn't show up for hearings because they couldn't pay. At the same time, the courts corrupted the points system designed to keep bad drivers off the road by turning moving violations into "illegal parking in a park" -- for a fee.
  • Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana

    "Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana" explored how Indiana's county-level government agencies complied with the Access to Public Records Act — the state's open records law. Reported and written by master's students at The Media School at Indiana University and published by the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, the project found nearly half of the 90 agencies sampled failed to respond to requests for public records. http://indianacog.org/icog-news/problems-and-opportunities-electronic-access-in-indiana/
  • Paid to Prosecute

    A joint Texas Tribune/Austin American-Statesman investigation revealed that the state's largest and oldest provider of workers’ compensation coverage — Texas Mutual Insurance — had paid millions of dollars to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to get public prosecutors to pursue alleged crimes against the company. It was an enormous conflict of interest that had flown under the radar for more than a decade, a private justice system that gave special treatment to one insurer — and subjected many unsuspecting blue-collar workers to lawsuits.
  • The Injustice System: Cops, Courts and Greedy Politicians

    Our primary entry is an hour-long, commercial free documentary that exposes the role police, municipal courts and politicians play in a revenue-driven system of law enforcement in St. Louis County. KMOV’s investigation was sparked by issues revealed following the protests and riots in Ferguson, MO. News 4 Investigates repeatedly documented the abuses that are prompting major reforms in local police departments and courts. The documentary is part of a major ongoing investigation that includes more than 40 stories revealing misconduct, incompetence, racism and greed in policing and the courts. KMOV’s investigation prompted the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department to end its ticket quota system. It also forced the resignation of a judge, the termination of a police officer, and following our report on the Bellefontaine Neighbors PD, city officials met with representatives from the United States Department of Justice for a series of community meetings focusing on policing practices. Our stories were played during those meetings. KMOV’s reports were also played by state senators during sessions of the Missouri state legislature and cited as part of the evidence documenting the need for reform.
  • Census Records Show Asian Population Boom

    Using Census records, this story looks into a dramatic shift in the demographic profile of Fairfax County in Virginia, one of the largest counties in the country. The records showed different Asian subgroups growing at different rates in different parts of the county, trends that were personified by tracking down people whose stories reflected the data. There's also an interactive map to show which parts of the county were seeing the largest increase.