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 "income" ...

  • Opportunity Zones

    Trump’s only significant legislative achievement was his 2017 tax code overhaul. It contained a provision to help the poor, called “opportunity zones.” In 2019, ProPublica showed that while the benefits to the poor have not yet materialized, some people have already reaped the rewards: the wealthy and politically connected. We found that wealthy developers lobbied government officials and got their long-planned investments in luxury projects included in the program, despite its avowed goal of attracting new investment into poor areas. Critically, two of our stories feature areas that never should have been qualified for the program in the first place, but were allowed in by a deeply flawed implementation of the law by the U.S. Treasury Department. They were then selected by state governors after lobbying efforts by wealthy developers. Our articles, along with those of other outlets, led to Congressional calls for investigations into the designation process, as well as proposed reforms to make the program more transparent and to eliminate potential abuses by investors.
  • STARZ's Fail State

    Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, FAIL STATE investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C. that have given rise to a powerful and highly-predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploit millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them with worthless degrees and drowning in student loan debt. Combining five years of research and interviews from over 60 experts, policymakers, whistleblowers, and students defrauded by their colleges, director Alexander Shebanow presents a searing exposé on the for-profit college industry and the lawmakers enabling widespread fraud and abuse in American higher education. FAIL STATE debuted on STARZ on December 17th, 2018.
  • Politico: Wage Theft

    Raising hourly pay is a rallying cry for politicians and activists, but they’ve put little attention on a key problem for low-wage workers: states often fail to get workers the money they’re owed. Combining data analysis and interviews, a nine-month Politico investigation found workers are so lightly protected that six states have no investigators to handle minimum-wage violations, while 26 additional states have fewer than 10 investigators. Given the widespread nature of wage theft and the dearth of resources to combat it, an estimated $15 billion in desperately needed income for workers with the lowest wages goes instead into the pockets of shady bosses.
  • Nearly 750 charter schools are whiter than the nearby district schools

    Politicians often sell charters as a solution for low-income black and brown students stuck in chronically poor-performing public schools. But Lake Oconee Academy in Georgia is one of at least 747 public charter schools around the country that enroll a higher percentage of white students than any of the traditional public schools in the school districts where they are located.
  • NBC News: Taxpayers Financing Slumlords: Under Ben Carson, more families live in HUD housing that fails health and safety inspections

    In a three-month investigation, NBC News found that a growing number of families – more than 47,000 - were living in horrid conditions subsidized by taxpayers in properties regularly inspected by HUD; after we started asking questions, HUD announced an overhaul of its inspection system and said it is now planning to toughen inspections, which will impact millions of low-income American families.
  • Education Grant Debacle Fixed: Teachers to Get Millions Back After NPR Investigation

    NPR’s Chris Arnold and Cory Turner started digging into a Department of Education grant program after spotting a brief mention in a broader lawsuit. What they uncovered was shocking: a program gone horribly wrong for thousands of public school teachers. "It's ridiculous; it's mind-boggling. It's been two years of torture," was how teacher Kaitlyn McCollum of Columbia, Tenn described it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The program has a noble goal - to encourage aspiring young teachers like McCollum to work in the nation’s most disadvantaged communities. They agree to teach a high-need subject, like math, for four years in a public school serving low income families. In return, they get grants to pay for their own education. But the reporters found that’s not how it worked out at all. Thousands of teachers had their grants unfairly converted to loans due to a paperwork debacle at the U.S. Department of Education - leaving some bearing the burden of more than $20,000 in debt. Cory and Chris’ work not only exposed the program’s brutal inflexibility and it’s devastating impact on the lives of teachers; their seven stories, reported over the previous ten months, convinced the Department to offer teachers a dramatic fix. As a result of their reporting, the Education Department is now reaching out to thousands of teachers to return millions of dollars of grant money that was unfairly taken away from them.
  • Broadband Inequality

    The Center for Public Integrity combined large datasets to measure in hard numbers who doesn’t have access to high-speed internet and for the first time illuminate the issue through a socioeconomic lens. The Center found that people living in areas in the lowest quintile of median household income were nearly five times more likely not to have access to broadband than those living in areas in the top quintile. This analysis had never been done before.
  • Inequality Calculator

    The Inequality Calculator is an application based on the massive data analysis of the income of citizens of 16 countries that reveals, in an interactive and comparative way, the enormous income gaps that exist between the poor and multimillionaires of Latin America and the Caribbean. The INEQUALITY CALCULATOR is based on an algorithm that divides a household's monthly income among its members and compares this with the country's population ordered from poorest to richest in 10 groups, or deciles, plus the group of multimillionaires. The result of these calculations will provide the user with an estimate of the time he or she would need to work to attain the average monthly income of a multimillionaire and will also allow comparison to the country's other income groups. The timeframe—some will need to work for several centuries to achieve this income—will highlight, in an amusing but direct fashion, the insuperable gap that separates the ordinary citizen and the multimillionaire.
  • Millennials: the trials of Generation Y

    The Guardian’s millennials project is the first in-depth examination of intergenerational inequality across eight countries over three decades. The data-driven series reveals the extent of income inequality between generations and shows young people today are worse off than their parents in some of the world’s richest countries despite decades of economic growth.
  • The Color of Debt

    The heart of our main story 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.