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 "testing" ...

  • Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't

    The book revisits the murder conviction of Jo Ann Parks, sentenced to life in prison without parole for allegedly murdering her three young children in 1989by setting fire to her home and trapping them inside. In re-investigating the case, the author found flawed forensic science, false and contradictory testimony, and strong evidence of cognitive bias throughout the case, including use of an unreliable informant who later recanted, and sworn expert testimony that the fire began because Parks supposedly constructed a crude “incendiary device” by deliberately overloading a sabotaged electrical extension cord. Testing later proved the cord did not and could not start a fire. Information in the book has since been added to Parks’ existing habeas corpus petition filed by the California Innocence Project, now being considered by the state Supreme Court. Additional findings suggests the problems with flawed forensic science and cognitive bias in general, and in arson investigation in particular, is widespread and has led to other wrongful convictions. Correcting the use of flawed forensic and expert testimony is hindered by the legal system’s reliance on precedent, which slows and sometimes prevents the correction of scientifically dubious ideas used to win convictions. Nascent attempts to study and change this tendency to prolong the use of flawed forensic science initiated by the Obama Administration have been shut down by the Trump Administration.
  • Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

    In response to mass shootings, some schools and hospitals have been installing devices equipped with machine learning algorithms that purport to identify stressed and angry voices before violence erupts. Our analysis found this technology unreliable. Our goal was to reverse-engineer the algorithm, so we could see for ourselves if it actually worked as the company advertised. (One salesperson suggested to us that the device could prevent the next school shooting.) We purchased the device and rewired its programming so we could feed it any sound clip of our choosing. We then played gigabytes of sound files for the algorithm and measured its prediction for each. After this preliminary testing, we ran several real-world experiments to test where the algorithm could be flawed. We recorded the voices of high school students in real-world situations, collected the algorithm's predictions and analyzed them.
  • Kaiser Health News: Liquid Gold

    Doctors across the U.S. are becoming millionaires by setting up private, on-site labs and testing urine samples for legal and illegal drugs. The simple tests are costing the U.S. government and American insurers $8.5 billion a year -- more than the entire budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, a groundbreaking investigation by Kaiser Health News showed. Doctors are testing patients - even the elderly - for opioids as well as street drugs like PCP or cocaine that almost never turn up positive. And the payoff is stunning: Testing a tiny cup of urine can bring in thousands of dollars – up to $17,000 in some cases. Yet there are no national standards for who gets tested, for what, or how often.
  • WCPO: DNA Delay

    A tip from a rape victim leads WCPO Investigative Reporter Hillary Lake to uncover a DNA testing delay at the Kentucky State Crime Lab affecting thousands of new criminal cases, from assaults to rapes to murders, waiting on results to move forward in the justice system. The investigation leads to action from the Kentucky attorney general.
  • The Verge with The Investigative Fund: Palantir has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Predictive Policing Technology

    For the past 6 years, the data-mining firm Palantir — co-founded by Peter Thiel — has used New Orleans as a testing ground for predictive policing, Ali Winston reported for the Verge, in partnership with The Investigative Fund. Palantir has lucrative contracts with the Pentagon, U.S. intelligence and foreign security services. The partnership with the NOPD was similar to the "heat list" in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence. Yet, not only did the program not go through a public procurement process, key city council members in New Orleans didn't even know it existed.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water

    This yearlong investigation – more than two dozen stories that culminated in an hourlong, primetime special -- exposed students drinking lead-contaminated water inside Nashville schools, parents being kept in the dark about the test results, as well as officials secretly plotting to bypass lead filters to save money and using testing methods that disguised the real contamination. Through persistence and dogged reporting, we exposed a scandal that would make national news in 2018. As a result, the head of facilities for the school district was forced to resign. District officials were also pressured by Nashville’s mayor and health department to reform their testing practices. In addition, our intense focus on the issue in 2018 would be credited with reviving legislation that’s designed to help keep children across Tennessee safe.
  • Lead in the Water: A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report

    An investigation into deep-seated problems in the City of Milwaukee's program for testing children for lead poisoning that revealed dysfunction and neglect putting children at risk.
  • Investigating Gun Tracing

    Investigative Units from NBC Bay Area and NBC10 Philadelphia combined forces to uncover flaws in the way federal, state and local agents trace firearms through a technology meant to connect crimes through ballistics testing. While the technology is promising the team discovered, for the first time, that political infighting and sometimes simple bureaucratic inertia prevented the technology from even being consistently used, leaving some communities vulnerable to gun violence that could otherwise have been prevented.
  • CBS News: Healthcare Fraud in America

    For the past four years, CBS News has been committed to investigating healthcare fraud throughout the United States. Our reporting has uncovered schemes preying on veterans, cancer patients, rural communities, and opioid addicts. We’ve been the only network to expose con artists defrauding billions from private insurance companies, Medicare and even Tricare, a component of the military health system. In 2016 we produced an investigative series that found compounding pharmacies were collecting prescriptions for pain creams and billing insurance more than $1 million per week. Last year, our reporting revealed an insurance scheme involving genetic testing that cost the Pentagon trillions. This year’s entries continue our work to expose unscrupulous actors bilking insurance to cash in on the American healthcare system. Our stories go beyond examining the fiscal toll of insurance fraud, they illustrate the human impact these practices have on communities, families, and individuals.
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

    In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.