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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

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  • Chicago Police kept secret dossiers on public speakers

    Tribune reporters discovered that Chicago Police were running secret background checks on public speakers at the police board’s monthly disciplinary meetings. Speakers included men and women whose loved ones had been killed by police, attorneys, activists, a religious leader, and even cops themselves. The police department secretly created profiles on more than 300 different speakers, potentially violating a court decree meant to prevent police spying on First Amendment activities. The Tribune also discovered a major discrepancy in how long police ran the secret checks, leading Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to order an inspector general investigation into the matter.
  • ProPublica: The Child Abuse Contrarians

    Judges and juries hearing cases of alleged physical abuse of babies rely on expert witnesses to illuminate the medical evidence based on an impartial examination of the record and the victims. But in two fascinating investigative profiles co-published by ProPublica and The New Yorker, ProPublica Senior Reporter David Armstrong exposed a pair of sought-after expert witnesses who fall far short of this standard. Both work exclusively for accused child abusers and use dubious scientific arguments to make their case, potentially undermining justice and endangering children. Their success underscores the susceptibility of the U.S. judicial system to junk science, as well as the growing suspicion of mainstream medicine in an era when misinformation quickly spreads online.
  • CBC Radio: #MeToo in Medicine

    The #MeToo in Medicine breaks the code of silence in healthcare to expose the hierarchical culture of medicine which allows for those in senior positions to sexually harass and abuse their junior colleagues. The story profiles two physicians who speak out for the first time about how they were sexually harassed on the job by their superiors.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Robots Are Now Hiring

    Hiring is undergoing a profound revolution. Since skills have a shorter and shorter shelf life, companies are moving away from assessing candidates based on their resumes and skills, towards making hiring decisions based on people’s personalities.
  • Heroin: Killer of a generation

    Confronted by a nationwide heroin epidemic in a county known as the nation's rehab capital, The Palm Beach Post exposed the sordid underbelly of the unregulated sober home business, identified bogus addiction treatment lab tests and created the state’s first and only cost analysis of the heroin epidemic. The Post's reporting culminated with publication of the photographs and mini-profiles of all of the 216 people who died from heroin-related overdoses in Palm Beach County in 2015. Federal and state officials arrested sober home operators, and county, state and federal lawmakers pledged action to curb the epidemic and treatment abuses. http://apps.mypalmbeachpost.com/ourdead/
  • The Real War on Families—Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now

    This groundbreaking investigative report reveals the staggering toll on new mothers who must return to work within weeks or days of childbirth. Lerner’s report profiles mothers around the country who went back to work as quickly as 7 days after childbirth, and describes in heartbreaking detail the mental and physical costs of juggling a job and a newborn. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed for In These Times’ report showed that 1 in 4 women return to work within two weeks of childbirth. The report serves as a vital intervention—at a time when calls for paid parental leave in the United States are growing at both the state and federal level—putting the severity of the issue into stark relief by adding a human face to it.
  • Tech Behind Bars

    "Tech Behind Bars" is a deeply reported, multi-media three-part examination of the growing intersection of the corrections system and the technology industry. Part 1, "Inside the prison system’s illicit digital world," explores the growing problem of smartphone smuggling inside federal and state prisons, and reveals dozens of social media profiles of inmates currently serving time in several states, many of whom were using the internet illicitly from their cells. Part 2, "After years behind bars, can prisoners re-enter a digital society?", explores what happens to inmates after they're released from length prison stays, and are forced into a world and a job market that expects them to have familiarity with the tools of the digital age, and profiles Code 7370, a program at San Quentin State Prison that is equipping inmates with computer skills in preparation for their re-entry. Part 3, "Can technology and prisons get along?", is an examination of the growing number of attempts to integrate modern technology into correctional facilities, through the lens of the Napa County Jail, which is giving tablets to its inmates in attempt to keep them up to speed with the digital revolution.
  • Growing Oil Train Traffic is Shrouded in Secrecy

    Oil train traffic in the Northwest is on the rise, as more oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota arrives at Washington refineries. But despite numerous incidents of oil trains catching fire and exploding around North America, the companies transporting that oil aren't sharing enough information with local and state emergency responders. Ashley Ahearn examined the consequences of that data gap and the risk to the public, and profiles citizens who are taking matters into their own hands and tracking the oil trains themselves.
  • Testing Theranos

    Americans have been fascinated with successful entrepreneurs since the days of Horatio Alger. In recent years, Silicon Valley billionaires like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have become icons. Elizabeth Holmes looked to be next. Claiming she was transforming medicine with her blood-testing company, Theranos Inc., the 31-year-old Stanford University dropout became a celebrity. The New Yorker and Fortune published admiring profiles. Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Harvard’s medical school appointed her to its prestigious board of fellows. President Obama named her a U.S. ambassador for global entrepreneurship. Theranos became the nation’s largest private health-care startup, with Ms. Holmes’s stake valued at more than $4.5 billion.
  • The Billion Dollar Startup Club

    The Wall Street Journal sought a powerful way to illustrate the tech boom and the explosion of capital flooding startups. The resulting interactive spurred a new investigative series called “Private Risk,” which examines the intersection of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. For the startup companies that populate Silicon Valley, the idea of raising $1 billion has long been hailed as a near-mythical achievement. The 2010 movie about Facebook Inc., “The Social Network,” hammered this notion into the mainstream American lexicon. But it has become clear that a $1 billion valuation for a startup is no longer unusual. In early 2015, our research found that more than 80 startup companies were valued at that amount and the list was growing as never before. Just a few years earlier, only a handful of companies had achieved this milestone. We needed a way to better track this boom and create a trusted resource for readers who may not have heard of these companies. Over time we hope to show the expansion and contraction of capital, perhaps a visual accounting of a boom and a bust. At the top of the interactive, we created a unique radial bar that displays the size of each company's valuation over time. Readers can move a slider underneath the chart between months, enabling the radial bar to contract or expand along with a sortable table below that includes written profiles of all the companies. These profiles are created by dozens of Journal reporters around the world, based on interviews with each company. The Billion Dollar Startup Club has become a dependable resource for readers and is often cited online and in internal reports by big firms such as Goldman Sachs. The interactive allows us to enhance our articles dealing with startups; related coverage is linked along the right rail of the interactive. The list now includes more than 125 companies, double the number we started with.