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 "sunshine law" ...

  • Open Records

    The Joplin Globe explores how the public is treated when making requests for public records. The two-article series reveals that some local government agencies in Missouri fail to comply with the state's Sunshine Law. For example, one sheriff's department refused to release any records, and one city suspected the researcher of being engaged in "improper criminal discovery." The city of Pineville, Missouri, failed to respond to a written open-records request for more than three months.The probe discovers that Joplin City Council has been improperly meeting in secret during dinner sessions.
  • What Lies Beneath

    Riverfront Times chronicles "the history of corrosion problems with copper-inside-steel natural gas service lines as well as corroding direct-buried soft copper gas lines." The story depicts how a gas explosion in an old family upended the lives of Tom and Mary Hessel who were permanently disfigured as a result of their critical injuries. Laclede Gas, the faulty public utility, and the Missouri Public Service Commission, have known for years that the copper lines pose safety problems, but have failed to address the issue, the story reveals.
  • Who's Next?

    Riverfront Times reports on "police patterns in enforcing drug laws, particularly in African-American neighborhoods." The story includes maps showing the ethnicity of the neighborhoods by using US Census data. The reporter discovers that "police in St. Louis County routinely serve high-risk drug raids in black neighborhoods, but rarely in white ones." Another finding is that very few of the targets end up with criminal charges against them, which challenges the efficacy of the raids. The Times also sheds light on three killings of unarmed people by police.
  • Seeking the Shade

    The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates violations of the Alabama sunshine law by public university boards in the state. The story details circumstances surrounding multiple closed meetings of officials at Auburn University, the University of Alabama and the University of West Alabama. The report also details lawsuits alleging violations of state freedom of information acts that are pending against public colleges or public college foundations in Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. In Arizona, Florida and New Jersey public college lobbyists have managed to curtail or limit the expansion of open-records or open-meeting laws.
  • Disregarding Your Right to Know

    "The Special Reports Unit used the entire news staff to review the closed-session minutes of area public agencies. Under New Jersey law, public officials, under certain circumstances, can meet privately but they must keep minutes of those meetings and release them once the issue they discuss is resolved. ... We found that one in three public entities provided either no minutes at all or minutes so lacking in detail, it was impossible to tell what was discussed."
  • Fighting Secrecy

    In the Bay Guardian's 14th annual FOI issue, the paper highlights how public officials, including Mayor Willie Brown, are getting around a new public records initiative only three months after it was passed. Accompanying articles examine issues such as current legislation to protect public access to information, the non-compliance of nonprofits with the Sunshine Law and where to find resources for obtaining public records.
  • Car Carrion

    "A Bay Guardian investigation of the City of San Francisco's contract with a towing company found that the city was losing money in the deal, that there was little to no oversight of the towing program and that the company was treating owners of the towed vehicles badly." As a result of the investigation, the newspaper sued the city government for noncompliance with public transparency laws.
  • Spotlight on Secrecy

    This installment of the Guardian's annual probe into the state of public transparency in San Francisco reveals trouble in compliance with the state's six-year-old Sunshine Law, and a disturbing shortage of documents in the "paperless offices" of city government.
  • Restricted Access: Whose Right to Know?

    "The Community Newspaper Company dispatched a team of more than 100 reporters across the state to test public officials' compliance with the state's law on open records and uncovered widespread violations... Under the direction of the newspaper's projects editor, Chris Szechenyi, each of the reporters asked for a uniform set of public records. The results were then compiled in a spreadsheet and analyzed. In addition, Szechenyi made a separate set of public information requests to ten state agencies and the governor's office."
  • Government in the Sunshine

    Local government agencies made a fairly strong showing in a public record survey, but most need to brush up on the finer points of the law.