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.

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  • 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.
  • Better Government Association: Recycling in Chicago

    Chicago, long notorious for mismanaging its recycling programs, allows a private city recycling hauler to divert tons of residential plastics and paper into landfills the company owns. The situation creates an unfair system that treats residents differently depending solely on where they live, costing taxpayers twice to handle the same materials and making Chicago the worst city in the nation in terms of its recycling rate.
  • CBC News - Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo

    This submission is for a podcast with ten episodes. The submission includes the episodes, an audio trailer as well as a link to the podcast website where you can find other material such as photos and video and text stories and uploaded files of the episode transcripts (as supplementary material) On the surface, this is a true crime story trying to answer the question - what happened to Cleo Semaganis Nicotine? She and her siblings in the Cree Indigenous family were taken into government care in Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1970's and adopted into white families in Canada and the United States. The siblings re-connected as adults but can't find Cleo. They've heard that she ran away from a home in Arkansas and was murdered but they don't know if that is true. They want help to at least find where she is buried.
  • Maria’s dead

    On September 20, Puerto Rico was devastated by the strongest hurricane that has hit the island in the last century. In the weeks after the storm, the government insisted there were only a few dozen deaths, but reporting on the ground by the Center for Investigative Journalism suggested there were hundreds. Officials also refused to provide overall mortality statistics that could help measure the impact of the storm. Given the lack of a reliable official death toll, we put together our own database with information collected from family members through an online survey, reporting, and tips. We verified those deaths by matching the victims’ names with government death records CPI eventually obtained through a lawsuit, and through nearly 300 phone interviews with victims’ relatives. We analyzed that material, as well as historic demographic data, to detect changes in mortality trends after the storm.
  • Hurricane Maria’s dead

    On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was devastated by the strongest hurricane that has hit the island in the last century. In the weeks after the storm, the government insisted there were only a few dozen deaths, but reporting on the ground by the Center for Investigative Journalism suggested there were hundreds. Officials also refused to provide overall mortality statistics that could help measure the impact of the storm. Given the lack of a reliable official death toll, we put together our own database with information collected from family members through an online survey, reporting, and tips. We verified those deaths by matching the victims’ names with government death records CPI eventually obtained through a lawsuit, and through nearly 300 phone interviews with victims’ relatives. We analyzed that material, as well as historic demographic data, to detect changes in mortality trends after the storm.
  • 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.
  • Luxuries on public dime

    Based on public financial records obtained through an FOI request, a Belleville News-Democrat investigation found that more than $230,000 was spent on a taxpayer-supported American Express card over four years used by East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton. He used the card to buy construction materials, take Las Vegas trips, purchase gas for his private vehicle, and buy dinners and gifts for political friends. Hamilton pleaded guilty to federal charges for misusing public funds.
  • Abandoned Mine Pollution

    CBS 5 Investigates found radioactive uranium from abandoned mines, leaking into Phoenix's largest drinking water reservoir. That is just one of the findings from our investigation into the toxins left behind at as many 100,000 abandoned mines across the state of Arizona. We collected soil and water samples from ten different locations and had them tested for heavy metals and radioactive materials. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far has prompted the US Forest Service to clean up one of the sites at a cost of more than $300,000, and prompted the state of Arizona to begin an inventory of old mines, in order to figure out which ones pose the most dangers to the environment and human health. http://www.cbs5az.com/story/30211875/cbs-5-investigates-abandoned-mines-polluting-valleys-water-supply?autostart=true http://www.cbs5az.com/story/30211875/cbs-5-investigates-abandoned-mines-polluting-valleys-water-supply?autostart=true
  • Nuclear Risks

    The Obama administration has waged an international campaign to lock down nuclear explosive materials over the past seven years, to stem the risk that a terrorist might detonate a bomb in New York, Washington, or elsewhere. But three countries in particular have proved immune to U.S. pressures for better safeguards: South Africa, Russia, and India. Our deep investigations into their nuclear activities laid bare a toxic mix of ineptitude, nationalism, and greed – and not just in foreign capitals – that keeps the world at risk.
  • The Death of Linwood Lambert

    MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber’s exhaustive investigation into the death of a Virginia man in police custody. Linwood "Ray" Lambert died three years ago, after police took him to a local hospital for medical care. But police never brought Lambert inside, instead tasing him repeatedly at the doorway to the hospital, and later inside a squad car. In September, Melber obtained 80 minutes of security camera footage. Melber led a months-long investigation, combing through the video to reconstruct the incident, obtaining previously unreleased police, medical and investigative files, and interviewing dozens of sources. The material gave MSNBC an opportunity to tell the story of that deadly night for the first time. State investigators and local prosecutors provided Melber some of their first public comments on the incident. Melber’s work also spurred outcry from officials and civil rights leaders, including calls for a resolution to the case by Virginia’s governor, and both U.S. Senators from Virginia.