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 "watchdog" ...

  • How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog

    Born in the Watergate scandal’s ashes, Congress created the Federal Election Commission as a bulwark against political corruption and champion of transparency and disclosure. But a six-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, "How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog," showed the agency is so fractured by partisan politicking and bereft with staffing and funding woes that it is “rotting from the inside out.”
  • Prosecution Tactics Under Scrutiny: "Let's Make A Deal."

    It’s more the rule than the exception: Criminal cases – be they relatively minor or serious felony matters – most often come to a close before any trial takes place. The bargaining process offers benefits to prosecutors and defendants alike, and often satisfies society’s calls for justice. In Louisiana, records show the overall “plea” rate is in line with national figures. About 90 percent of all criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. But in one suburban New Orleans parish, the WDSU I-Team found some remarkable discrepancies. Among them: More than 99.9 percent of all matters were settled outside of the courtroom. That staggering figure is juxtaposed against rising concerns related to crime in the community. And as the I-Team investigated further, reporter Travers Mackel discovered something else – something that caught the attention of the largest government watchdog group in the state, the parish president and the voters and taxpayers who ultimately support the office of the prosecutor.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Spotlight on the Texas Legislature

    During the 2013 legislative session, The Texas Tribune rolled out two entirely innovative ways to watchdog the state’s elected officials – the first-ever gavel-to-gavel livestream of Texas House and Senate proceedings, and the Ethics Explorer, an interactive investigative app documenting the conflicts of interest and financial relationships of every member of the Legislature. Combined, these two tools gave the Texas public unfettered access to the political maneuvering and shenanigans under the Pink Dome, including an unprecedented abortion filibuster that thrust our scrappy news organization into the national spotlight. No other Texas news organization came close to providing this service; they and many national news sites all relied on the Tribune. Check out the Tribune's interactive, livestream and video links below: http://www.texastribune.org/bidness/explore/ http://www.texastribune.org/session/83R/live/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/06/25/watch-wendy-davis-filibuster-of-texas-abortion-law-video/
  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    On June 28, 2013, multiple lightning strikes triggered a series of small fires around the community of Yarnell, Arizona. The fires remained small in nature through Saturday night, but several were moving closer to homes. Thirty-seven fires were being managed by hot shot crews and local fire departments. On Sunday, a series of weather events, poor communication with crews in the field and the lack of aerial fire suppression support led to a series of events which culminated in the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot team. The Yarnell tragedy was covered exhaustively by local and national media through the July 9th memorial which was attended by Vice President Joe Biden. Within days of the tragedy, KPNX-TV, 12 News in Phoenix, assigned it's Watchdog team to find out what happened, follow the financial donations and benefits to hot shot families, make sure the money was going where it was intended and provide background on the person charged with finding out what went wrong at Yarnell. The stories included in this submission provide a comprehensive overview to our reporting. It should be noted these reports were exclusives at the time they aired.
  • Spotlight on the Texas Legislature

    During the 2013 legislative session, The Texas Tribune rolled out two entirely innovative ways to watchdog the state’s elected officials – the first-ever gavel-to-gavel livestream of Texas House and Senate proceedings, and the Ethics Explorer, an interactive investigative app documenting the conflicts of interest and financial relationships of every member of the Legislature. Combined, these two tools gave the Texas public unfettered access to the political maneuvering and shenanigans under the Pink Dome, including an unprecedented abortion filibuster that thrust our scrappy news organization into the national spotlight. No other Texas news organization came close to providing this service; they and many national news sites all relied on the Tribune.
  • A new model for enterprise journalism in the digital age

    This non-traditional entry does not single out one project. Rather it identifies a process for not just maintaining but increasing high-quality investigative and enterprise efforts in an environment where many news organizations are cutting back. The collaboration is guided by a new statewide projects coordinator working with community news directors at “hubs” in 10 cities to identify high-interest topics. The position is unique in the company: combining the traditional roles of project editor, investigative reporter and back-end production coordinator. It was developed as MLive merged separate newspapers into a single entity that emphasizes content across many digital platforms, at the same time it wanted to boost watchdog and investigative reporting
  • Peter Gray

    The Press-Citizen obtained confidential documents outlining how a University of Iowa Athletics Department official was found guilty of violating the university's sexual harassment policy, including that he made unwanted and inappropriate advances toward UI students and student athletes and offered to trade athletics tickets and money for sexual favors. After breaking the story on our website and morning edition the next day, the Press-Citizen embarked on nearly daily coverage of this story, which also included numerous FOIA requests. Because of the Press-Citizen's coverage, the university restructured the athletics department and implemented other policy changes. The state Board of Regents has called for a full report of the incident and has criticized the university of being lax in its handling of sexual harassment reports and sexual harassment training. Additional changes or fallout may be forthcoming. Especially illuminating were UI President Sally Mason's remarks in an interview with the Press-Citizen that this incident never would have been made public had the newspaper not obtained the confidential documents, which highlights the importance of watchdog work.
  • Des Moines Register Reader's Watchdog

    The Des Moines Register Reader's Watchdog column that takes on issues faced by individual Iowans who are at wits’ end and can't get answers from public officials, businesses and the justice system. Watchdog reporter Lee Rood's job is to give voice to readers who present important issues, to investigate all sides of those issues and to seek solutions that eluded others. This is a unique effort that both engages readers and values traditional watchdog reporting. At a time when journalists are seeking to remain relevant, build credibility and engage readers, she has launched this initiative that focuses not on the stories that she thinks are important, but on issues that are critical to our readers. In the past year, she wrote more than 60 columns, digging into watchdog issue brought to her by Iowans. Her work has put a new spotlight on wrongs that needed righting. Her work has led state lawmakers to propose legislation that requires Iowans to call 911 if they are present at the scene of an overdose. She has prodded the state attorney general's office to develop a plan to enforce laws that require companies to have worker's compensation insurance. She has fought through red tape for readers who didn't have someone in their corner to do so. Lee Rood's bold move to launch a new form of watchdog journalism for the Des Moines Register has made Iowans' lives better. Online, this body of work lives at DesMoinesRegister.com/ReadersWatchdog.
  • Dark Markets

    The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of financial markets in 2012 performed a rare and extraordinary service: It exposed evidence of hidden manipulation by corporate executives and professional traders that the markets’ official government watchdogs were utterly unaware of. Reflecting potential widespread harm to millions of ordinary investors, federal prosecutors and securities regulators raced to follow the Journal stories with major investigations. A team of reporters spent six months creating a database examining how more than 20,000 corporate executives traded their own companies’ stocks over the course of eight years. What the team found was disturbing: More than 1,000 executives had generated big profits, or avoided big losses, by trading their company stock in the days ahead of corporate news announcements that led to big moves in the shares. The Journal also exposed a regulatory loophole that had helped the executives take advantage of inside knowledge ahead of other investors. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office and the Securities and Exchange Commission all launched investigations the day the Journal article appeared.