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 "inspections" ...

  • Hard Rock Hotel Collapse

    When an 18-story hotel under construction collapsed catastrophically on a Saturday morning in October, we immediately began trying to understand what went wrong. Initially, this involved sharing video of the collapse with experts to seek opinions about possible causes. In the days and weeks that followed, we spoke with workers who were on the job and reviewed building plans and inspection reports to determine where missteps were made. We also uncovered a video, narrated in Spanish by a worker on the site, that was posted several days before the collapse, in which the worker spotlights a number of alarming flaws in the building.
  • 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.
  • Bay Area News Group: Burned Out

    An exclusive data analysis that revealed how fire inspectors across the San Francisco Bay Area routinely fail to perform state-required safety inspections at schools and apartment buildings -- and how, despite the potential for tragedy, there are no consequences — and nobody paying attention — to make sure they are getting the job done.
  • Food Plight: Cafeteria Inspections Reveal Critical Health Violations at New York City Schools

    Our reporters scoured reams of health inspection records and discovered that nearly half of New York City public school cafeterias were hit with at least one critical violation in 2017. A closer look found that the four dozen schools with the worst inspections records largely serve some of the city’s poorest students. The most sickening cases include schools where 600 rodent droppings and 1,500 flies were found in food preparation and consumption areas – conditions that are breeding grounds for potentially dangerous food-borne illnesses. Our team of students conceived of the story and used the data, obtained from the New York City Health Department under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, to create a filterable interactive graphic that parents can use to uncover details of violations found at their child’s school.
  • Rental Inspections

    Student rental housing being the chief industry of our small college town of Frostburg, Md., student reporter Brad Kroner worked for months to obtain city inspection data of rental units. The information finally provided showed 75 percent of rental units had not been inspected in the past three years, as required by municipal code, including many units owned by the mayor. Embarrassed by the published story that resulted, City Hall quickly released an updated set of data – which still showed the city was far from compliant – and said the first set was incomplete because its beleaguered staff had to compile the data from scratch. In other words, the city did not even have the data to know whether it was compliant, until an undergraduate filed a Maryland Public Information Act request asking for it.
  • Lax building inspections, lurking danger

    When a building collapsed in Center City Philadelphia, killing six people and injuring 13, attention quickly focused on the reckless demolition contractor who cut corners in taking down the building. Then it shifted to the city agency charged with overseeing demolitions and ensuring safety. Chagrined city officials pledged safety reforms and stepped up enforcement. An Inquirer investigation revealed just how empty those promises were and documented dangerous conditions in buildings across the city.
  • Nursing home info scare

    The Tribune examined government inspections of nursing homes, which indentified a small group of chronic violators. Two chains owned five of the top 10 violators, indicating that ownership was a strong predictor of quality care.
  • Biolabs In Your Backyard: Inside America's secretive biolabs

    A USA TODAY NETWORK investigation revealed hundreds of safety accidents have occurred at secretive biolabs that have proliferated under U.S. counterterrorism policies, yet fragmented regulation lets troubled facilities keep experimenting with dangerous pathogens. Labs and regulators – often citing federal bioterrorism laws -- fought reporters seeking access to even basic information about lab accidents as well as government inspections and enforcement actions. The series has resulted in congressional investigations, an internal CDC review that prompted the replacement of a top lab regulator, and a White House recommendation for greater transparency and public accountability about lab operations and accidents.
  • Deficient Hospices Rarely Punished

    After mining a database of inspection records, Huffington Post determined that hospices frequently go three years -- and sometimes much longer -- without any regulatory scrutiny. It also showed that when hospices break Medicare's rules, endangering the safety and even lives of their frail patients, they are virtually never punished. Medicare’s regulator has punished a hospice provider just 16 times in the last decade, despite carrying out 15,000 inspections and identifying more than 31,000 violations. In each instance, the hospice’s license was terminated -- the sole recourse for regulators when they confront a hospice that breaks the rules. The system of oversight designed to ensure sound practices in an industry that has quadrupled in size since 2000 simply has no means to assess fines or other punishments. The service, which at its best provides a caring, home-based alternative to hospitalization for terminally ill patients, is increasingly how Americans die. Yet virtually nothing is known about the quality of the companies providing that service. This story reveals to consumers those hospices that regulators have determined have the most problems -- and hopefully spurring government authorities to act.
  • Restaurant Inspections

    The publicizing of restaurant inspections across the United States is a common practice. But the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Diistrict - until January 2014 - would only release the results of a restaurant inspection if a member of the public submitted a Freedom of Information request. So after a Hepatitis A outbreak from at a local restaurant, CU-CitizenAccess.org decided it was time to make public the results of inspections of restaurants that failed to meet public health standards. For four years, reporters and student reporters at CU-CitizenAccess.org relentessly filed monthly requests for the inspections of failed restaurant, painstakingly downloading data, and wrote story after story - and last year, public health department finally went public with its restaurant inspections.