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 "washington" ...

  • A Dangerous Delay

    In November 2018, Olivia Paregol’s father frantically called the University of Maryland from the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 18-year-old freshman, who had lived in a mold-infested dorm, was fighting for her life and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Was there anything else on campus making students sick? The director of the student health center knew of severe cases of adenovirus on campus but the public had no clue. Less than a week later, Olivia was dead from the virus and the outbreak would sicken dozens of students. It was only after her death that school officials informed the campus about the virus. Ian Paregol had more questions than answers: How long had the university known? Why didn’t they tell Olivia or other students when they showed up sick at the student health center? Washington Post reporters Jenn Abelson, Amy Brittain and Sarah Larimer interviewed more than 100 people and obtained thousands of pages of medical records, hundreds of emails, text messages, voicemails and other documents to reconstruct the events that led to Olivia’s death and threatened the health and safety of thousands of students at the University of Maryland campus. College officials said it would cost $63,000 to disclose internal emails about the outbreak, so reporters obtained many of those records from state and county agencies. In May, the Washington Post published “A Dangerous Delay,” a detailed investigation examining the outbreak of mold and adenovirus at the University of Maryland. The reporters revealed that the school waited 18 days to inform students about the virus and officials discussed — but decided against — notifying students with compromised immune systems, like Olivia, and those living in mold-infested dorms.
  • Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

    Since 2008, at least 306 people across the Northwest have died after being taken to a county jail. Until now, that number was unknown, in part because Oregon and Washington have not comprehensively tracked those deaths in county jails. If they did, they would find a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe. Key findings: - Over the past 10 years, the rate of jail deaths has trended upward in Oregon and Washington. In 2008, county jails in Washington had a mortality rate of about 123 deaths for every 100,000 inmates. By 2017, that rate was 162. Jail population data for 2018 were not yet available at the time of publication, but reported deaths spiked that year. A conservative estimate puts the 2018 mortality rate closer to 200 deaths per 100,000 inmates. - In 2018, police shot and killed 39 people between Oregon and Washington, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. For that same year, our investigation found 39 deaths in Oregon and Washington county jails. - At least 70 percent of Northwest inmates who died in the past decade were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths, still considered innocent under the law. - More than 40 percent of deaths happened within an inmate’s first week in jail. A third of all inmates who died never made it past three days. - Suicide, by far the leading cause of jail deaths in the Pacific Northwest, accounted for nearly half of all cases with a known cause of death.
  • The Afghanistan Paper

    A confidential trove of government documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed that senior U.S. government officials systematically failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan for the duration of the 18-year conflict. The documents, obtained in response to two FOIA lawsuits, showed in raw, unfiltered detail that senior officials privately concluded the war had become unwinnable even as three U.S. presidents and other government leaders kept insisting publicly - year after year - they were making progress and would prevail.
  • The Opioid Files

    The Opioid Files for the first time identified not only the counties flooded with the highest amount of prescription opioid pills at the height of the prescription drug crisis, but the specific manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies that were responsible for bringing those pills into communities. The Post found that over a seven-year period from 2006-2012, over 76 billion pills of hydrocodone and oxycodone were shipped to pharmacies across the country, more than enough for one pill per person in some communities. The Post also found that opioid death rates tracked with the rates of pills being shipped into those counties. And The Post identified counties and pharmacies with suspicious patterns and large amounts of pain pills. In making the data available by county- and pharmacy-level, The Post gave reporters from across the country the opportunity to write stories about their own communities and the impact that pills had on them.
  • The Fight for Legislative Records

    The group of stories submitted start with the anti-transparency actions that Washington state lawmakers took after an AP-led coalition prevailed in superior court in January 2018, when a judge ruled that state lawmakers are subject to the same public disclosure law that other elected officials are. The final story and glance are on the state Supreme Court in December 2019 upholding that lower court ruling. The state high court ruling is the end of a nearly three- year effort by Rachel La Corte at The Associated Press to successfully challenge lawmakers’ assertion that they had a special exemption from the state’s Public Records Act.
  • WaPo: The Opioid Files

    The Opioid Files for the first time identified not only the counties flooded with the highest amount of prescription opioid pills at the height of the prescription drug crisis, but the pharmacies that were specifically responsible for bringing those pills in. The Post found that over a seven-year period from 2006-2012, over 76 billion pills of hydrocodone and oxycodone were shipped to pharmacies across the country, in some places more than enough for one pill per person per day in some communities. The Post also found that opioid death rates tracked quite well with the rates of pills being shipped into those counties. And The Post identified counties and pharmacies with suspicious patterns and amounts of pills. In making the data available in county- and pharmacy-level chunks, The Post allowed reporters from other organizations across the country to write stories about their own communities and the impact that pills had on them.
  • Gunshots and Lockdowns: When Nearby Gun Violence Interrupts The School Day

    The piece focuses on how daily gun violence affects schools in Washington, D.C. What happens when students go to school in areas with a high rate of gun crime? To avoid emotional harm, we took a secondary data analysis approach to answering that question — pulling gunshot data from D.C.'s Shotspotter database. We then calculated the number of gunshots within a 1,000-foot radius of schools, and used the geography of the city to begin to find our way to an answer.
  • WUSA 9 -- "DC Police: Stop and Frisk"

    Through analyzing more than 6 years of data WUSA 9's “DC Police: Stop and Frisk” series uncovered 8 out of 10 people stop and frisked by Washington, DC police are African-American, despite black people making up less than half the city's population. The year-long investigation, 20 part series and hour-long special that followed exposed shocking and systematic failures by the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department to follow its own laws. Laws designed to protect people from racial bias on the part of police officers.
  • Washington Post: Murder with Impunity

    The Washington Post’s examination of unsolved murder in America began with a simple question: Where does justice for victims go unserved? To answer that, The Post produced ‘Murder with Impunity’ an investigative video series, based on the reporting of a team of journalists that compiled case-level information for more than 50,000 homicides in 50 of the nation’s largest cities.
  • WAMU 88.5: "Collateral Damage"

    The WAMU 88.5 series “Collateral Damage” chronicled the impact in human terms of the Washington, D.C., police department’s aggressive focus on confiscating illegal guns. The investigation explored how tactics used by police to search for guns are angering and alienating the very residents they are sworn to protect, especially in D.C.’s predominantly black neighborhoods where police focus these efforts.