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 "open government" ...

  • Battle to preserve access to open records

    An investigation that exposed who was behind a last-minute measure that would have gutted Wisconsin's open meetings law, as well as later attempts to limit access to electronic records.
  • Exposing Waste, Fraud And Corruption

    The Better Government Association is a nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog that's been around for more than 90 years exposing waste, fraud and corruption in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is a key component of our work, not only for our investigations team, which regularly enlists FOIA to access and analyze public records, but also for the BGA's legal and policy units.
  • 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/
  • Rápido y Furioso

    In this special edition of the newsmagazine program “Aqui y Ahora” (“Here and Now”), Univision news reports on the drug trade’s violent impact in Mexico, an aspect of the story that is often lost. We are submitting this report for your consideration in the FOI category. Although the hundreds of classified us and Mexican government documents weren’t obtained through a FOI request, we believe our process of gathering and comparing comprehensive information from two different governments, resulted in a story that did “open records and open government” in a unique and revealing way that could not be achieved by simply filing a FOI request.
  • The Year in Closed Government

    The Year in Closed Government encompasses seven months of tough reporting, exhaustive research and dozens of public-records requests, culminating in a sweeping exposé of public officials’ attempts to evade public scrutiny and undermine public-records laws under New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who campaigned in 2010 on a promise to restore transparency in government. Our IRE entry includes only a selection of our print and online reporting on the issue of open government in New Mexico. It begins in July, with our first big story on a massive trove of leaked emails that revealed the extent to which public officials were using private email to conduct state business, in an apparent attempt to hide it from the public record. Our reporting on open-government issues extends to the 2012 elections, during which we delved into the close relationships among political action committees, super PACs, campaign managers and candidates connected to Gov. Martinez. Our entry ends with a December cover story that encompasses the entire series and offers unprecedented insight into the degree to which New Mexico's public officials sought to hide important information from the public.
  • Platts: Oil and Gas Drillers Want ‘Confidential’ Wells

    It’s no secret that oil and natural gas production is booming in North Dakota. But there are indeed countless secrets — technical, strategic and otherwise — associated with many of the wells that are being drilled in the Roughrider State. North Dakota maintains something called a “Confidential Well List.” Under state law, certain information about the 1,800-plus wells on this list -- such as production levels, geographical data and engineering specifications – is kept from the public for six months. North Dakota regulators argue that there are legitimate reasons for keeping this data from the public, such as encouraging so-called “wildcat” drilling operations in remote or undeveloped areas where little or nothing is known about the subsurface geology. But other oil and gas-producing states are sharply curtaining their use of such policies, saying they are outdated and conflict with the principles of open government. Wyoming, for example, recently revised its policy on the grounds that granting confidential status without good reason was inhibiting “the timely dissemination of well information to the public.”
  • Local officials are likely to profit from fracking in Southern Tier

    Local government officials have been lobbying the state to the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as fracking. But when they spoke at public hearings and pushed in other forums, were they just representing their communities, or did they have more at stake? In a four-month investigation, SUNY New Paltz students reviewed thousands of public records in two states. The investigation found more than 30 locally elected officials who have been outspoken proponents for fracking. Public records and additional examinations identified about 20 percent of those with more than political philosophy at stake — the chance to gain personally and financially. To open government advocates such as Common Cause, these instances raise concerns about transparency and conflicts of interest among locally elected officials. About six months after publication, and after further moves by local officials to press the state to approve fracking, the state attorney general has launched inquiries into whether local officials have violated conflicts of interest.
  • Rápido y Furioso (Fast & Furious)

    In this special edition of the newsmagazine program “Aqui y Ahora” (“Here and Now”), Univision news reports on the drug trade’s violent impact in Mexico, an aspect of the story that is often lost. We are submitting this report for your consideration in the FOI category. Although the hundreds of classified us and Mexican government documents weren’t obtained through a FOI request, we believe our process of gathering and comparing comprehensive information from two different governments, resulted in a story that did “open records and open government” in a unique and revealing way that could not be achieved by simply filing a FOI request.
  • Spanish-language FOIA requests

    We undertook the project to explore the issue of language access and freedom of information. Our goals were threefold. First, we wanted to break new ground in open government with regards to language access by submitting FOI requests in Spanish. Second, we wanted to receive data from officials at city, country, state and federal levels to use as the basis for stories and articles that fulfilled our watchdog and public service mission. Third, we wanted to educated our colleagues and readers about their information rights so that they could have additional tools for their news production and consumption, respectively.
  • Keeping Secrets

    This series exposed the financial and public safety costs of North Carolina's personnel law, which we discovered was among the most secretive in the nation. The series showed how the law protected abusive cops and predatory teachers, political patronage and nepotism, as well as extravagantly pay raises and pensions.