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 "patterns" ...

  • The Opioid Files

    The Opioid Files for the first time identified not only the counties flooded with the highest amount of prescription opioid pills at the height of the prescription drug crisis, but the specific manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies that were responsible for bringing those pills into communities. The Post found that over a seven-year period from 2006-2012, over 76 billion pills of hydrocodone and oxycodone were shipped to pharmacies across the country, more than enough for one pill per person in some communities. The Post also found that opioid death rates tracked with the rates of pills being shipped into those counties. And The Post identified counties and pharmacies with suspicious patterns and large amounts of pain pills. In making the data available by county- and pharmacy-level, The Post gave reporters from across the country the opportunity to write stories about their own communities and the impact that pills had on them.
  • WaPo: The Opioid Files

    The Opioid Files for the first time identified not only the counties flooded with the highest amount of prescription opioid pills at the height of the prescription drug crisis, but the pharmacies that were specifically responsible for bringing those pills in. The Post found that over a seven-year period from 2006-2012, over 76 billion pills of hydrocodone and oxycodone were shipped to pharmacies across the country, in some places more than enough for one pill per person per day in some communities. The Post also found that opioid death rates tracked quite well with the rates of pills being shipped into those counties. And The Post identified counties and pharmacies with suspicious patterns and amounts of pills. In making the data available in county- and pharmacy-level chunks, The Post allowed reporters from other organizations across the country to write stories about their own communities and the impact that pills had on them.
  • NBC News: Bias In Olympic Figure Skating Judging

    When it comes to judging Olympic figure skating, nationalistic bias is measurable and statistically significant. Data shows a typical judge will give about three points more to an athlete from the same country in cumulative scores. Academics know this. But NBC News showed problems with Olympic skating judging even run deeper. The very people who judge skating include leaders in national skating federations, raising further questions of bias. NBC News found that the pool of 164 judges eligible for PyeongChang's figure-skating events includes 33 judges — roughly a fifth of the total — who hold or have held leadership positions in their national skating federations. NBC News documented how judges caught cheating and breaking the rules routinely are allowed to quickly return to judging the world’s top international competitions. NBC News also did something never attempted before: Spotting bias during the Olympics, and naming names. Our stories got results. For the first time, the International Skating Union took action. After the Olympics, one of the judges named by NBC News while the Olympics were going on, Feng Huang of China, was sanctioned for statistical patterns of bias.
  • Michigan State University: Capital expenditure

    This project analyzed 2017 campaign finance data reported by Michigan state lawmakers. The initial intent was to determine how much of those funds came from special interest Political Action Committees rather than individual contributions. It blossomed into 10 stories that looked at such things as the difference in fundraising patterns between men and women, Republicans and Democrats. It ranked the partisanship of the state’s PACs, the largest PAC donors, the lawmakers who received the most and least, those who used the most of their own money and those who used no money at all. It discovered that the NRA spends very little on individual state lawmakers and those who break campaign finance laws rarely get hefty fines.
  • Silent Majority/Mayoria Silenciosa

    A first-of-its-kind analysis found deep patterns of under-representation of the fast growing Hispanic population on city councils and county commissioners courts across Texas. http://projects.statesman.com/news/latino-representation/
  • Suspect shootings

    After a series of fatal shootings by Philadelphia police that violated department regulations, The Inquirer began closely examining all big-dollar settlements of civil rights lawsuits to determine what went wrong. Reporters found officers persisted in shooting at moving vehicles, often with deadly results. They also uncovered patterns of shoddy investigations by police Internal Affairs investigators and by criminal prosecutors, typically acting with no public accountability.
  • The Narco-Terror Trap

    This project traces the Drug Enforcement Administration’s use of a little-known statute of the Patriot Act to create a role for itself in the war on terror, based largely on unsubstantiated assertions that terrorists were using the drug trade to finance attacks against the United States. The statute, adopted with broad bi-partisan support, allows the D.E.A. to pursue so-called narco-terrorists anywhere in the world, even when none of their alleged crimes occurred on American soil. Between 2002 and 2008, the agency’s budget for foreign operations increased by some 75 percent, which supported expansions into Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, and West Africa. But an examination of the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism cases reveals that most unraveled as they proceeded through court. The cases relied heavily on sting operations, and the only evidence of any links between terrorists and traffickers was concocted by the D.E.A., which used highly-paid informants to lure targets into staged narco-terrorism conspiracies. The first piece tells the story of three small-time smugglers from Mali who were arrested in West Africa, transported to New York and accused as narco-terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda. It explains how the D.E.A.’s narco-terrorism campaign began in the arrest-first-ask-questions-later period that followed 9/11. And it details the negligible contributions that the effort, whose total cost remains unknown, has made to keeping the country safe from either terrorists or drug traffickers. Nearly three years after the Malian’s arrest, a judge found that the men were not linked to Al-Qaeda, and that they had been motivated to participate in the D.E.A.’s fake conspiracy by an informant’s offer to pay them millions of dollars. The second piece uses an interactive comic – ProPublica’s first – to bring a sharper focus to the patterns in the DEA’s cases. It uses five different narco-terrorism operations in five different parts of the world. The interactivity of the comic allows readers to see how the agency’s stings use essentially the same script in order to make disparate targets fit the designated crime. https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/narco
  • Missing and Murdered; Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls

    CBC spent more than six months finding, investigating and documenting more than 230 unsolved cases of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada over the last six decades. The result was an unprecedented multi-platform series which revealed patterns, details and information about these women and the crimes – including an interactive database featuring all of their stories. The investigation succeeded in contacting more than 110 family members, many of whom had never spoken publicly before, and surveyed them on key questions such as how effectively police had investigated their cases. Eight months after the series, the Canadian federal government called a national inquiry into the subject. http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/
  • Missed signs. Fatal consequences.

    A series of stories about how Texas state law required the filing of a child fatality report when a child dies of abuse or neglect, but no one looked at them afterward to look for patterns, trends or red flags to help prevent such deaths in the future. So we analyzed them and reported on what we found. http://projects.statesman.com/news/cps-missed-signs/ https://github.com/statesman/cps/
  • The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Elder Guardianship in Florida

    With an estimated 50 percent of Americans 85 and older experiencing cognitive impairment, the longevity boom has generated an increase in the number of elders who are deemed too frail or mentally compromised to handle their affairs. Most states, including Florida, have cobbled together an efficient way to identify and care for helpless elders, using the probate court system to place them under guardianship. But critics say this system – easily set in motion, notoriously difficult to stop – often ignores basic civil rights. They describe a ruthless determination to take elders from their homes and make them conform to a process by which their belongings can be sold, and their family and friends shut out—until eventually they are locked away in institutions to decline and die. The critics call this process “liquidate, isolate, medicate.” Through case studies, examining court documents and talking to those working for elder justice reform, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found consistent patterns of a lack of due process, an unwillingness to inform and involve family members, a one-size-fits-all approach to elders with diverse levels of capacity, substandard care for wards who lack assets, and high legal and professional fees for wards who have considerable assets. Fundamentally, the system treats elders as second-class citizens, before stripping them of citizenship altogether and rendering them as non-persons.