Stories

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

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Search results for "regulators" ...

  • In the hot seat

    When reporters at NBC News began probing OSHA severe injury data in February 2019, an interesting takeaway emerged: UPS had a higher rate of heat injuries than any other company. At least 107 UPS workers in 23 states had been hospitalized for heat illnesses since 2015. In severe cases, heat can lead to organ failure and death. But regulators have little enforcement ability on this issue because there is no OSHA standard protecting workers from heat--even as climate change brings record-breaking temperatures. NBC News filed more than two dozen public records requests for state-level data -- to supplement the federal OSHA data -- and hundreds of pages of incident reports, and spoke with dozens of UPS employees, uncovering a corporate culture that exacerbated the problem. Long hours, heavy routes, fear of retaliation and sweltering trucks and warehouses pushed workers workers past their limits. Managers pushing workers to continue working when sick, and employees too intimidated to report their injuries. UPS claimed that their iconic brown trucks do not get dangerously hot, but NBC News sent five temperature loggers in packages across the country, during one of the hottest weeks of the summer. The results showed that each package exceeded 100 degrees while on a truck, with one hitting nearly 115 degrees. Drivers around the country also sent us images of temperature readings they took in their own trucks -- the hottest clocked in at 158 degrees. Between rising temperatures and the growing demands of the two-day delivery economy, dozens of UPS drivers said conditions are getting worse. Follow up stories uncovered additional injuries and more examples of UPS poorly protecting its workers from the heat. Following our story, OSHA fined UPS for a heat injury for the first time in nearly a decade.
  • Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom

    The widespread use of generic drugs has been hailed as one of the most important public health developments of the twenty-first century. Today, 90 percent of the U.S. pharmaceutical market is comprised of generic drugs, the majority of which are manufactured overseas. We have been reassured by our doctors, our pharmacists and our regulators that generic drugs are identical to their brand-name counterparts, just less expensive. But is this really true? Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom exposes for the first time the endemic fraud behind generic drug manufacturing –and the attendant risks for global public health.The narrative investigation interweaves the stories of a determined whistleblower, an intrepid FDA investigator and drug manufacturers determined to deceive regulators. Reported on four continents over a ten-year period, and drawing on 20,000 pages of confidential FDA documents, the book uncovers how one of the world’s greatest public health innovations also became one of its most astonishing swindles. Bottle of Lies uncovers a global industry where companies routinely falsify quality data, and executives circumvent almost every principle of safe manufacturing to minimize cost and maximize profit. Meanwhile, patients unwittingly consume medicine with unpredictable and dangerous effects.
  • The Implant Files

    For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical-device approval system has allowed defective implants to spill onto the market, like contaminated water from a broken pipe. Many of those products have remained on hospital shelves, and in patient bodies, long after problems were known. On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Associated Press, the NBC News investigative unit and partners around the world published a yearlong investigation that shows regulators bowing to industry pressure to rush approvals, lower safety standards and cloak critical information, and the consequences: a string of grisly accidents that have left hundreds of thousands disfigured, disabled or dead.
  • WSJ: Big Tech's Hidden Costs

    Congress and federal regulators do very little to police Amazon, Facebook and other big technology platforms that dominate the global economy and modern life. The companies say it's not their responsibility to protect consumers from online hazards, due to carve-outs in federal law for digital platforms. The Wall Street Journal investigated the many ways tech companies are passing on that responsibility—and the potential risks—to unwitting consumers. The Journal's reporting stopped Facebook from collecting sensitive personal data including users' menstrual cycles and heart rates; alerted parents to the lack of vetting for prospective nannies with police records including child abuse, sexual assault and murder; and forced Amazon to remove thousands of federally banned and unsafe products including toys with dangerous levels of lead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unlicensed, Unpunished

    A single tip led the investigative team at Denver7 to uncover unlicensed, untrained and often unpunished health care workers diagnosing and treating vulnerable, sick and disadvantaged Coloradans. The team’s work led to criminal investigations, forced Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to intervene in the matter directly, and prompted state regulators to rewrite and reprioritize their policies. It represents a textbook case of journalists holding the powerful accountable by identifying fundamental problems in the institutions designed to keep consumers safe. Hickenlooper credited Denver7 for "actually making the community safer."
  • The Center for Public Integrity: Wireless Wars: The Fight Over 5G

    One of the largest deployments of wireless technology in decades is occurring as telecommunications companies erect a new network of small cells to support the next generation of wireless communications called 5G. The problem, however, brings these small cells into neighborhoods and business districts, unlike the larger towers seen along highways and in fields far from centers of population. And with it, resistance from citizens. The clash pits telecoms, which want to ease regulations to reduce costs, against local governments and their residents, who want to control the look and placement of the cells and defend revenue and public property rights. The Center reports on how the telecoms are relying on money and tried-and-true relationships with politicians and regulators to get their way. And they are winning.
  • NYT: Privacy, Propaganda and Profit in Silicon Valley

    Internet titans, including Facebook, empowered hucksters and propagandists stoking fear and hate, and misled the public about their behavior.
  • ICIJ_NBC_AP_Partners: Implant Files

    Implant Files, the largest-ever collaborative health care investigation, sparked reforms by U.S. authorities by exposing the dark side of a global industry that pressures regulators to speed approvals, lower safety standards and cloak information, resulting in a string of grisly accidents that have left hundreds of thousands of patients disfigured, disabled or dead.