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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  • NationSwell: Forgotten Victims

    An investigation by NationSwell looked at county data in six states — Arizona, New Jersey, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas — which showed that thousands of families are denied compensation each year because of the contributory conduct clause. Regulators involved in processing claims say they are just following federal law and that there needs to be top-down change in order for there to be significant progress on the best way to assist financially strapped families. But one victim services group, Every Murder Is Real, based in Philadelphia — i.e. the city with the highest number of compensation claims filed each year in Pennsylvania — is helping families navigate the system and fight for their right to fair treatment.
  • KARE 11 Investigates: “A Pattern of Denial”

    KARE 11’s two-year investigation exposed a systemic nationwide pattern of veterans having their emergency medical bills improperly denied and often turned over to collection agencies. VA whistleblowers revealed to KARE that government quotas for processing claims – and a computer system that made it easier to deny claims than to approve them – were to blame for many denials. The improper denials could total billions of dollars.
  • Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat

    Americans love meat – we have one of the highest rates of consumption in the world. While U.S. shoppers enjoy relatively low prices and an array of choices, there is a high human price tag. The more than 500,000 men and women who work in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants have some of the most dangerous factory jobs in America. The meatpacking industry has made a lot of progress on worker safety since publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” in 1906, but some things remain the same: the work is mostly done by immigrants and refugees; they suffer high rates of injuries and even, sometimes death; and the government lags in oversight. http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/dangerous-jobs-cheap-meat
  • Rare Earth Elements

    The U.S. began the march toward the use of rare Earth metals - essential ingredients in everything from smart phones and computers to cars and missiles - but has left most of their mining and processing to others. China now dominates this crucial industry, which worries the U.S. government.
  • SERCO - ACA CONTRACTOR PAYING WORKERS TO DO NOTHING

    Employees at an Affordable Care Act processing center in Wentzville with a contract worth $1.2 billion are getting paid to do nothing but sit at their computers, a whistleblower tells News 4 The facility is operated by Serco, which is owned by a British company awarded $1.2 billion partially to hire workers to handle paper applications for coverage under the new healthcare law. A worker tells News 4 weeks can pass without employees receiving even a single application to process. Employees reportedly spend their days staring at their computers. News 4 requested the contract and information from CMS about just how many applications Serco processed, but it took months and legal action to get an answer.
  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.
  • Dental Drama

    For nearly five years, the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP), a subsidiary of Xerox, allowed workers with limited expertise to approve dental claims for Texas’ Medicaid program, the joint state-federal insurer of poor children. State spending on orthodontic services spiraled out of control: Between 2003 and 2010, Texas Medicaid payments for orthodontic services grew by more than 3,000 percent — from $6.5 million to $220.5 million — while program enrollment only grew 33 percent. Our investigation found that three years later, the state’s aggressive campaign to recover misspent Medicaid dollars had failed to prove any dental providers intentionally committed fraud. Meanwhile, the state maintained its contract with TMHP, and continued to pay the company between $168 and $185 million annually to continue processing certain Texas Medicaid claims.
  • Big Oil, Bad Air

    Texas lies at the epicenter of the nation’s hydraulic fracturing – fracking – boom. What began in the Barnett Shale of North Texas 15 years ago has spread to the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and across the United States, to include regions unaccustomed to dealing with the fossil fuel industry. Until early 2014, the national media had paid little attention to the frenzy of drilling in the Eagle Ford, one of the most active shale plays in the world. It seemed the right place for us to explore a little-discussed yet critical aspect of the boom: toxic air emissions associated with wells, compressor stations and processing plants.
  • Sexual Assault Test Kits

    KOAA-TV News 5 Guardians determined most area law enforcement agencies were not having sexual assault test kits completed by health care facilities sent to a state agency for processing. A state lawmaker objected to the unprocessed evidence and proposed a new law. A woman who was a sexual assault victim offered the perspective of a victim.
  • Message Machine

    “Message Machine,” a news application, takes an innovative approach to decode how the presidential campaigns were shaping fundraising appeals and other communications to potential voters. Going into the election cycle, there were reports that the presidential campaigns were gearing up to use "data science" -- sophisticated quantitative analysis and statistics -- to "microtarget" messages as never before. They had little interest in explaining what they were doing, however, for obvious strategic reasons. When a couple we knew told us they'd received similar emails simultaneously from the Obama campaign, each asking for donations, but in language that differed in subtle, but important ways, we set out to reverse engineer how the campaign was altering its tone and content to specific audiences. ProPublica News Application Developer Jeff Larson created a system to automatically gather tens of thousands of campaign emails and analyze how they were targeted. He used the same sophisticated techniques, such as machine learning and natural language processing, used by the campaign. There were a huge number of stories done after the campaign about the “geniuses” at Obama For America, but ProPublica was virtually alone in providing real-time, deep analysis of the operation while the campaign was still happening.