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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "California" ...

  • California Prosecution Fees

    The Desert Sun uncovered how residents of three cities in the Coachella Valley were being billed massive fees that paid for private attorneys the city had contracted to go after the residents' for minor city code violations. Petty offenses, like having a messy yard or hanging a Halloween decoration on a street light, led to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars being demanded of the residents. If they couldn't pay, liens were assessed. Following the reporting, the cities stopped the practice, state lawmakers made it illegal in California and a class-action lawsuit led to at least one city refunding the residents.
  • Student threatened professor more than a year before killing him

    This USC Annenberg Media special investigation uncovered that despite receiving a written warning that a student intended to kill his professor, USC administrators allowed him back on campus to work with the man he threatened and would go on to stab to death on campus. This story revealed that USC did not have a system in place to adequately track threats to campus safety and make sure students with serious mental illness were well enough to be in school.
  • Heroin Hits Home: A Search for Answers

    Ohio is ground zero of the heroin/opiate epidemic. More people die from overdoses in our state than any other (including California, which has three times our population.). WJW-Cleveland has covered the rise of the epidemic for years, but pivot here to where they think, at times, investigative journalism should go: searching for answers to problems that they reveal. In this case, those problems include: 1) a government policy that encourages doctors to prescribe more opiates in the middle of a heroin crisis; 2) a system that, on the federal level, treats marijuana very differently from opiates - many patients and some lawmakers believe legalized medical marijuana may well reduce the opiate epidemic; 3) a prioritization of public health policy that seems upside down: why is more money given to diseases that kill few Americans compared to one that is on track to become a "Vietnam" every year:? The DEA estimated 47,000 Americans would die from an overdose in 2016. Given that incredible number, they think that just reporting on the crisis as reporters do car accident deaths is today insufficient journalism. So we set out in a prime-time program to search for answers.
  • San Diego's waterfront

    inewsource's investigation uncovered the back-room deals and power politics that shaped some of the most valuable — and public — waterfront land in southern California. With two long-form stories told through every medium possible — text, photo, video, audio, graphics, maps and social media — inewsource helped prevent the same deviant process from occurring again in a neighboring (and equally valuable) plot of land currently under development. The series also helped kickstart mitigation efforts to make part of the original land more publicly accessible. The first story was told using inewsource’s unique transparency technique of providing an interactive text version of the story, allowing readers to view the documentation behind nearly every sentence for themselves using DocumentCloud.
  • Hollow Columns

    At least 22 highway bridges in Washington state sit on hollow concrete columns that are at risk of instantaneous implosion in a major earthquake. The state doesn’t know how to fix them. In addition, the state knows of 474 bridges that are at risk of crumbling in a big quake. The state has insufficient funds to fix them. Highways that are part of the Puget Sound region’s “seismic lifeline” emergency aid routes were found by KUOW to contain dozens of seismically vulnerable bridges. The state does not publish the totality of its infrastructure needs, in contrast to its seismic cousin California. Until KUOW published a map showing the locations of the endangered bridges, no such public information was available.
  • In secretive marijuana industry, whispers of abuse and trafficking

    For decades, California’s Emerald Triangle has provided cover for the nation’s largest marijuana-growing industry. But its forests also hide secrets, among them young women with stories of sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • California National Guard Bonus Enlistment Scandal

    Stories by the Los Angeles Times that described how the California National Guard was trying to recover millions of dollars in enlistment bonuses from nearly 10,000 soldiers and veterans – including some who had been wounded in combat – spurred the secretary of Defense to suspend the program, Congress to agree to waive most of the debts and the president to sign the bill into law.
  • Juvenile Sexual Assaults Victims of Dr. William Ayres: The Forgotten Victims

    For forty years, hundreds of juveniles in San Mateo County, California were sexually assaulted in court-ordered sessions by prominent child psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres. But when the victims spoke out, they were either ignored or punished by authorities. It wasn’t until 2002, when journalist Victoria Balfour contacted police on behalf of one of Ayres’ victims, a private patient, that a criminal case against Ayres began to get traction. In 2013, Ayres, a former President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, pleaded no contest to molesting boys who had been his private patients. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. However, Balfour had a fierce belief that the voices of his juvenile victims urgently needed to be heard in this case as well. When agencies in San Mateo County whose job it was to protect juveniles rebuffed her request to find the juvenile victims, Balfour embarked on a 3 and-a-half year project to find them herself. Working on a detective's theory that most of Ayres' juvenile victims were now in prison, she wrote to more than 300 inmates from San Mateo County and asked if they had been evaluated by Ayres. Balfour’s article recounts the horrifying and heartbreaking responses she received from inmates about their abuse by Dr. Ayres, one of the most prolific child molesters in recent California history.
  • Invisible Disaster

    For 16 weeks, the potent climate gas methane poured from a broken natural gas well in Los Angeles County. It would become the largest such accident in U.S. history. It drove thousands of sickened people from their homes, spurred dozen of lawsuits, cost a Fortune 500 company hundreds of millions of dollars and set back California climate efforts.
  • How Fire Feeds

    Last summer, three sparks set off a series of violent firestorms in southern Lake County, California, destroying thousands of homes and killing four people. Reveal took a deeper look at the fires using satellite images and government data to explore how and why the blazes moved through the county and what it means for the future of firefighting in the West. Here is a link to the interactive Reveal created with satellite data to show how the fires spread: http://fire.revealnews.org/