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 "practices" ...

  • "Healthy Holly" and University of Maryland Medical System Investigation

    The “Healthy Holly” scandal began with a suggestion from a source, a state legislator who told Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater she thought there might be some irregular contracting practices going on at the University of Maryland Medical System. Broadwater, busy covering the General Assembly session, filed a public records request. The documents showed that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and other members of the hospital network’s board of directors had no-bid contracts with the medical system -- though the extent of those contracts, especially Pugh's, were not fully described. Broadwater's story -- written quickly as a daily as soon as he received the documents -- was breaking news that got the attention of Maryland's political establishment: University of Maryland Medical System pays members of volunteer board hundreds of thousands in business deals. Immediately, Broadwater and other Baltimore Sun reporters followed their instincts and tips that were coming in -- including that Pugh had failed to print many of the books she’d been paid to produce, while thousands of others were sitting unread in a Baltimore school system warehouse. Meanwhile, Sun reporters pulled ethics forms, poured over tax records, filed public information requests and worked sources, breaking story after story that exposed a widening scandal that rocked the state of Maryland, perhaps more than any other series of articles in decades. Their work led to the resignation of the mayor, the UMMS CEO and other top officials, including every member of the medical system's board of directors.
  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • Silicon Valley’s Hidden Figures

    Silicon Valley has a big diversity problem. But no one has been able to comprehensively quantify it until now. Some of the multibillion-dollar companies that fuel the global economy have sought to hide how few women and people of color they have in their organizations, refusing to release the data, claiming the information is a trade secret. We built the largest and most comprehensive database of diversity employment data for Silicon Valley available. Through a groundbreaking collaboration with a University of Massachusetts Amherst sociologist, we got Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) data for 177 of the largest tech companies through public records requests and a successful FOIA lawsuit. Through this data, we uncovered disparities and ranked companies based on their diversity scores. By establishing a baseline of comparative data, we were able to hold companies accountable for their diversity hiring practices for the first time. Because of our analysis, the public now knows some of the worst companies when it comes to diversity in Silicon Valley. But we also found that diversity is not an impossible goal to achieve for technology companies: some are doing much better than their peers.
  • Driven Into Debt

    This ongoing series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • NPR/PBS Frontline/Ohio Valley ReSource: Coal's Deadly Dust

    Coal's Deadly Dust asked a fundamental question about an unprecedented epidemic of the advanced stage of black lung disease (Progressive Massive Fibrosis or PMF), among coal miners. How and why did this happen? How could it happen given a regulatory system designed to protect miners from the toxic dust that causes disease? The investigation documented the failure of federal regulators and the mining industry to protect coal miners from the epidemic of disease, despite clear evidence in federal data, clear evidence in mining practices, decades of recommendations to take action, and awareness of the danger.
  • The New Republic and The Investigative Fund: Political Corruption and the Art of the Deal

    President Donald Trump has railed against the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials or partner with others who are doing so. But reporter Anjali Kamat uncovered an extensive history of lawsuits, police inquiries and government investigations connected to the Trump family's real estate partners in India, reporting that appeared as the cover story of the April The New Republic and formed the basis of two episodes of Trump Inc., a podcast series from WNYC and ProPublica that digs deeply into the secrets of Trump's family business.
  • PublicSource: Pittsburgh's lack of cybersecurity and transparency

    The City of Pittsburgh's cybersecurity is lacking, according to a commissioned report, and officials won't address the issues publicly. That same report found serious issues with the way the city handles software and other IT projects and how it structures its Department of Innovation & Performance. Through a public records request and "copy and paste" sleuthing, PublicSource revealed details about how city cybersecurity and IT practices are lacking, potentially putting citizens and local government at risk.
  • ProPublica Illinois: Driven Into Debt

    This series of stories — which started at ProPublica Illinois and later was produced in collaboration with WBEZ — exposed how the city of Chicago’s aggressive and unequal ticketing practices, combined with punitive collections measures, have pushed tens of thousands of mostly black motorists into Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The stories have also examined Chicago’s cottage industry of bankruptcy attorneys who profit off consumers with ticket debt, even as their clients often sink even deeper into debt; the racially disparate consequences of license suspensions for unpaid tickets; and an ill-fated decision to hike the price of what was already one of the most expensive tickets in the city.
  • NJ Advance Media: The Force Report

    A 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media that found New Jersey's system for tracking police force is broken, with no statewide collection or analysis of data, little oversight by state officials and no standard practices among local departments. Two decades ago, officials envisioned a centralized database that would flag dangerous cops, preventing unnecessary injuries and costly excessive force lawsuits. But that database was never created. So we built it.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water

    This yearlong investigation – more than two dozen stories that culminated in an hourlong, primetime special -- exposed students drinking lead-contaminated water inside Nashville schools, parents being kept in the dark about the test results, as well as officials secretly plotting to bypass lead filters to save money and using testing methods that disguised the real contamination. Through persistence and dogged reporting, we exposed a scandal that would make national news in 2018. As a result, the head of facilities for the school district was forced to resign. District officials were also pressured by Nashville’s mayor and health department to reform their testing practices. In addition, our intense focus on the issue in 2018 would be credited with reviving legislation that’s designed to help keep children across Tennessee safe.