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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  • Mississippi Child Care Crisis

    Mississippi has some of the lowest standards for child care centers in the country and some of the weakest oversight. The Hechinger Report joined with the Clarion-Ledger to investigate how the state fails to serve all its children well, why it falls short and possible solutions. Our 18-month investigation revealed a child care system in Mississippi plagued by a lack of funding and support. We looked into low standards and pay for child care center employees, difficulties parents face in finding and paying for childcare, and years of legislative inaction in improving conditions for children. We highlighted solutions for the state, such as the Department of Defense’s strong child care system, and investigated trends, such as frequent absences among child care center directors. In December, Mississippi officials said the state would adopt a host of new strategies meant to reform the system, many of them similar to the best practices we wrote about.
  • The PCB Plague

    We discovered that a majority of public schools in Connecticut could be contaminated with toxic, cancer-causing PCBs, but no state or federal law requires schools to test for the carcinogenic chemical. Even though PCBs were banned in 1979, a loophole in federal regulations allows schools to avoid testing for PCBs, leaving the chemical in place where it emits gaseous toxins, and sending PCB particles into the air and ground during and after construction projects where it can remain for decades.
  • The Poor Kids of Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley is built on the promise of the American Dream. Rags to riches. Anyone can make it. Apple and Google grew out of garages there. Yet CNN Opinion columnist John Sutter and videographer Brandon Ancil found this valley of riches, the heart of the U.S. tech industry, to be plagued by widespread and severe child poverty. Sutter argued that this is not only a moral outrage in this era of income inequality, it also undermines this valley’s future and that of the country. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/03/opinion/ctl-child-poverty/#0
  • Guardianship - The Grey Prison

    They're among the most vulnerable members of society. Often elderly, sometimes disabled, those conscripted into guardianship as "wards" are supposed to be protected and safeguarded. But in a first-of-its-kind, in-depth investigation, our team uncovered a system plagued by abuses. Families torn apart. Wards isolated. Estates raided. Judges rubber-stamping wrongdoing and turning a blind eye to the exploitation of private, for-profit guardians. We overcame tremendous resistance from court leaders who tried to dismiss all concerns and put us off this story before we even got started. As we waded through thousands of pages of court documents and other records, we uncovered a system so corrupt that the state was forced to initiate sweeping change. That change started at the Nevada Supreme Court and continues today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P31Zu-wUDWI https://youtu.be/_URbZLLgj6o
  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.
  • Following the Money: Indiana Storm Sausage

    This 6-month WTHR investigation exposed how Indiana diverted millions of dollars in disaster recovery grant money to private corporations that weren't impacted by any of the state's widespread disasters. While flood victims and hard-hit communities received little direct financial assistance, state leaders quietly allocated $20 million to fund pet projects for businesses. Their justification -- creating jobs in disaster-impacted areas -- proved unfounded, and WTHR discovered much of the money was wasted or simply disappeared. Using dogged research, thorough reporting and creative storytelling, WTHR exposed a grant program plagued by poor oversight, questionable spending and missing money.
  • California's Deloitte Dilemma: The Politics of Programming and Public Contracts. A KCRA Investigation

    When payments for California's unemployed were delayed after a computer upgrade, KCRA began digging into the cause of the delay. What reporter Sharokina Shams and producer Dave Manoucheri found was a state agency that was downplaying the problems with their new computer system and grossly under-reporting the number of people affected. Utilizing California Public Records Act requests (similar to FOIA) and whistleblowers inside the department, KCRA exposed the fact that California had purchased a computer system plagued with problems. Within a week they had determined that multiple states had hired the same company, Deloitte, LLC, and those states were experiencing similar problems. With more digging Shams and Manoucheri found that Deloitte had also donated hundreds of thousands to political campaigns and lobbied heavily with the state. KCRA found hundreds of millions paid to the company for IT contracts, failed previous projects and a new contract due to be awarded that would costs half a billion dollars. Ultimately, KCRA's investigation led to legislative hearings, the creation of legislation to change how the state writes IT contracts, and revealed that more than 40 states are waiting in the wings to upgrade their computer systems and the federal Department of Labor anticipates similar problems in all those states.
  • Cracking the Codes

    Cracking the Codes documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade – adding $11 billion or more to their fees – despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment. The series also uncovered a broad range of costly billing errors and abuses that have plagued Medicare for years – from confusion over how to pick proper payment codes to apparent overcharges in medical offices and hospital emergency rooms. The findings strongly suggest these problems, known as “upcoding,” are worsening amid lax federal oversight and the government-sponsored switch from paper to electronic medical records.
  • No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster

    The 1968 Farmington Coal Mine Disaster prompted Congress to pass the 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, the first law to set meaningful underground safety standards and fines for violations. Despite the importance of the tragedy, which took the lives of 78 men, neither federal nor the state government determined the cause of the disaster. The state did not produce a final report as was required by West Virginia law, and the federal government did not make public its final, inconclusive report until 1990. This book pieces the story together, documenting the dangerous conditions that plagued the No. 9 from 1935 through the first deadly disaster in 1954 that killed 16 men and up to the 1968 tragedy.
  • Con-Men: Grant Chasers Plague Katrina Aid

    This series investigates the malfeasance and graft inside Louisiana's $750 million home elevation grant program, a federally financed effort to help Katrina victims rebuild safer homes.