Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "projects" ...

  • Insult to Injury: America’s Vanishing Worker Protections

    Driven by big business and insurers, states nationwide are dismantling workers’ compensation, slashing benefits to injured workers and making it more difficult for them to get care. Meanwhile employers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the 1970s. http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/workers-compensation-benefits-by-limb http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/workers-comp-reform-by-state https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/workcomp-company http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/workers-compensation-premiums-down http://www.npr.org/2015/03/05/390930229/grand-bargain-in-workers-comp-unravels-harming-injured-workers-further
  • 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
  • G.I. Dough

    The U.S. government has wasted billions of dollars in Afghanistan – repeatedly ignoring history, warnings, local culture and common sense – to undertake one boondoggle project after another. Congress has barely blinked as the financial toll has mounted, and until now, no one has even added it all up. https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/afghan https://projects.propublica.org/cerp/ https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/boondoggle
  • Color of Debt

    The heart of our main story this year was a first-of-its-kind analysis of debt collection lawsuits. Crunching data from five years of court judgments from three metropolitan areas — St. Louis, Chicago and Newark — we found that, even controlling for income, the rate of judgments was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones. This finding was drawn out through in-depth reporting on the ground in St. Louis. We focused on one neighborhood, Jennings, a mostly black suburb that borders Ferguson in north St. Louis County, to illustrate the impact. https://projects.propublica.org/garnishments/
  • 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/
  • Infosys

    Infosys, the world's 5th largest technology consulting firm is a company most Americans have never heard of. Based in Bangalore India, Infosys does 63% of its business here in the United States overhauling and redesigning software systems for fortune 500 companies like Walmart, Home Depot and Goldman Sachs. In order to staff their contracted projects, the company claimed it had to bring in specialized employees from India who had skills that could not be readily found in the United States. A CBS News investigation uncovered documents and witnesses that said the oversees employees had no special skills and were brought in to displace higher-paid American workers.
  • Pension Crisis

    Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund is in crisis. The fund has about 43 cents available for every dollar promised to its retired police officers and fire fighters. Now $2.88 billion, the multiplying city debt is threatening the city’s financial stability. Bond ratings have been downgraded. City projects have been scuttled. Bankruptcy is feared. The recent recession isn’t the only thing that crippled the fund. Deals done in secret, deals hidden for more than a decade and sweetheart deals that allowed a select few to skirt regulations and retire from public service jobs with hundreds of thousands of extra dollars they weren’t entitled to are also to blame.
  • Money Down the Drain

    In Money Down the Drain, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporters explored whether there is a less costly, greener alternative to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s $3 billion plan to manage stormwater and sewage by boring giant tunnels beneath the region. The series mapped the district’s history of favoring so-called “gray infrastructure” to comply with federal clean water laws and debunked sewer officials’ claims that green technologies – such as water retention ponds - would inherently be more costly than tunnels. The reporters researched the efficacy of alternative sewer management plans and visited Philadelphia, considered by many to be leading a movement by U.S. cities considering greener solutions to their messy sewage overflow problems. The four-part series concluded with an examination of potential opportunities to transform large expanses of vacant property in Cleveland into park-like stormwater retention features. The team did not set out to prove that green infrastructure is superior to tunnels. Rather, they aimed to expose the district’s failure so far to consider alternatives that officials in other cities believe could save their ratepayers millions – if not billions – of dollars, while driving home to readers just how much the tunnels will cost them. Within a month of the series’ conclusion, sewer district officials announced that they would spend $900,000 on green projects near a major road expansion program and pledged to study the possibility of replacing large stretches of the planned tunnel with green infrastructure.
  • 1033 program

    Over the past year, MuckRock reporter and projects editor Shawn Musgrave investigated the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies nationwide. After the Department of Defense rejected FOIA requests for data indicating which departments had received tactical equipment such as assault rifles, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers, Musgrave — spurred by events in Ferguson — submitted FOI requests to each state’s 1033 program coordinator. This effort not only secured this crucial data for 38 states, but also pressured the Pentagon to reverse its position and release spreadsheets which detailed what tactical equipment had been distributed to every participating agency in the country. MuckRock’s investigation of the 1033 program revealed such questionable transfers as mine-resistant vehicles distributed to school districts and helicopters allocated to small-town police departments.
  • They Died At The Hands of Cops

    Following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision on Dec. 3, 2014 to not indict the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, the New York Daily News set out to determine just how often NYPD officers had suffered criminal repercussions for killing another person. With protests mounting, the demand for answers in our community was great. The newspaper marshaled its projects team, two senior courts reporters and a police reporter to answer this key question as quickly as possible. The paper’s findings — that NYPD officers had killed at least 179 people while on duty over the past 15 years, and that indictments had been brought in just three cases, leading to one conviction and no jail time — stunned the city and became an integral part of the larger debate over how these cases should be prosecuted.