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 "agencies" ...

  • Exhausted at School

    Gaze out the windows of John Marshall Junior High in Seattle and you will see cars and trucks whizzing by on the busiest freeway in the state, Interstate 5. John Marshall is one of 28 public schools and more than 125 day cares that InvestigateWest has found built within 500 feet of Washington’s highest-traffic roadways. That’s close enough to put children’s health at risk, say health researchers. For “Exhausted at School,” InvestigateWest combined data from multiple state agencies and pored over dozens of academic studies to understand the threat of toxic pollution and its effect on kids’ health at school. Our reporting immediately spurred Seattle Schools officials to action: they added a new policy to issue air quality alerts to principals, and announced plans to upgrade a decades-old ventilation system at John Marshall. Officials in Olympia and Washington, D.C., considered and then rejected the notion of banning or severely restricting construction of schools inside the pollution plume, according to interviews and records obtained by InvestigateWest. Meanwhile, state officials do not enforce rules requiring day cares to be built on environmentally safe sites. So schools and day cares continue to be built in the danger zone around freeways, and children pay the price – years after the dangers were conclusively proven. “Exhausted at School” is a collaboration between InvestigateWest and KING 5 Television.
  • Human Trafficking in Virginia

    We found a case of human trafficking that led to charges and changes after we exposed communication issues across local and national agencies and a lack of training and resources. In the first story, we talked to Roanoke County Police Officers who stopped a man driving a mini-van of 16 people, stacked on top of each other. Once stopped, police identified it as a human trafficking case but had to let them all get back in the van and drive away because U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) wasn’t available to assist them and they say since the words “human trafficking” are not in Virginia law there were not any laws to arrest the man driving and help the victims. We continued to follow this story for the next six months talking to lawmakers, state and federal agencies who told us our story revealed breakdowns and weaknesses that have since been fixed.
  • Human Trafficking in Virginia

    We found a case of human trafficking that led to charges and changes after we exposed communication issues across local and national agencies and a lack of training and resources. In the first story, we talked to Roanoke County Police Officers who stopped a man driving a mini-van of 16 people, stacked on top of each other.
  • Toxic Legacy

    Employees of Technicoat, a metal coating company based in Fort Worth in the ‘70s and 80s, hired teenagers to dispose of industrial waste and harmful chemicals. None of the employees went through any kind of safety training or were given protective gear. Now many of the company’s former employees have either died from illnesses linked to chemical exposure or are currently battling illnesses that are likely related to being exposed to chemicals during their tenure at Technicoat. The story found that the city of Fort Worth and the Tarrant Regional Water District are still dealing with the environmental impact of the company’s illegal chemical dumping – sometimes down storm drains, in holes dug in the ground, or straight into the Trinity River – as the area that housed the Technicoat plant is being redeveloped. It also discovered that the company blatantly disregarded federal safety standards and was fined multiple times by different federal, state, and local agencies for environmental and safety violations.
  • Jacuí - Crime and Agony

    Illegal Dredging practiced in Rio Jacuí between Porto Alegre and Rio Pardo proves the inefficiency of environmental agencies in protecting the natural resources of the State. During the journalistic investigation, 19 flagrant vessels not comply the terms of the Operating Licenses (LO), issued by the State Environmental Protection Foundation (Fepam) were performed. The main crime is the removal of sand on forbidden places in licensed areas, disobeying, for example, the minimum of 50 meters away from the shores and causing terrible environmental damage.
  • Public Salary project

    This entry consists of stories culled from a massive request for government compensation from hundreds of government agencies, cities, counties, school, college and special districts. This projects follows the money. The data is made public through data bases on our web sites and culled through by investigative reporter Thomas Peele, who roots out stories from deep in the data, including ones about secret pension boosting perks, officials paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for not working, government managers sitting on huge banks of unused vacation time to cash in at retirement, part-time elected officials who do little work while being paid hundreds of dollars and an hour, long forgotten politicians receiving free life-time government health insurance decades are leaving office. The project routinely ferrets out information about the spending of public money that not even those in charge of government agencies are aware of until Peele tells them: "Wow,” said James Fang, a member of the board of the BART transit district when informed data showed the agencies former general manager, who had resigned two years earlier in the midst if being fired, had remained in the agency's payroll for years, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jacking up her future pension. “She was still on the payroll? I did not know this. It’s startling.”
  • Conflicts of Interest at MD Anderson Cancer Center

    In a series of investigative stories that has been running for over two years, The Cancer Letter editor Paul Goldberg has been examining conflicts of interest at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the largest cancer hospital in the world. The Cancer Letter laid bare the controversy that would have ordinarily gone unnoticed, producing real-time coverage of that institution’s efforts to create a hybrid of an academic institution and a pharmaceutical company. The web-based weekly newsletter relied on thousands of pages of internal documents obtained under the Texas Public Information Act and a network of sources at MD Anderson and throughout academic oncology and regulatory agencies. The stories informed coverage by the Houston Chronicle, the journals Science and Nature, as well as other news outlets.
  • The abuse of Tasers in law enforcement

    A Necessary Shock? is a groundbreaking multi-media exposé of how 265 Iowa law enforcement agencies have quietly adopted the use of powerful electrical weapons commonly known as Tasers without establishment of required training or ethical standards to safeguard against abuse. The investigation told the stories of 11 different cases: One where a mentally disabled woman was tased four times in an effort to force her to change her clothing; two people who died in 2013 and eight who filed lawsuits alleging Iowa law enforcement officers used excessive force with the devices. Notable in this investigation is the collection and publication of videos in six of the cases. This evidence -- one showing an officer tasing a man who was already on his knees with his hands behind his head -- was made possible through relatively new lapel camera technology worn by some officers. Additionally, some Tasers themselves now have cameras, which were additionally collected through public record requests and published in this series.
  • Haves and Have-Nots: Uganda's drug-trial business is booming - but is it fair?

    Drug trials in developing nations around the world are growing exponentially. They are cheap. Rules are more lax. Uganda is one of the leading places in the world where this trend is taking place. In one of the world’s AIDS epicenters, in Gulu, northern Uganda, children are given a choice: be part of a drug trial involving risky treatment and at least get regular medications. Or rely on public health programs that often mean regularly missing required dosages of life-saving pharmaceuticals. The result is emblematic of a system where the ethics of drug trials face a grim reality. “The problem is that inadequate medical care creates a strong impetus for parents to agree to have their kids in research,” said Elizabeth Woeckner, president of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research, an organization that works to protect people who are the subjects of scientific research. “What should be voluntary is not quite so.” In the last five years, drug trials in Uganda have nearly doubled. There have been more than 100 trials in the last five years there. Drug companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Novartis, as well as American agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, work in places like Uganda because of the low cost and the number of patients who will sign up quickly for tests. At the same time, public funding for global health is diminishing. Despite safeguards, since the late 1990s a number of well-publicized cases have highlighted tests that appeared to violate ethical standards and regulations. While signing up for a trial is voluntary, that doesn’t make the decision easier – especially for parents who must decide what is best for their children, and knowing that the alternative means. This in-depth investigation goes beyond the surface to show the tough choices that arise from even the best intentioned drug trials, the vast sums of money at stake, and the seismic shift that has happened in the past decade for how the world tests drugs on humans.
  • Undisclosed Hazards

    While methamphetamine production has been on the rise in New York and Pennsylvania, there are no federal or state rules about what makes a former meth lab clean, and no law requiring landlords or property sellers to disclose to renters or buyers that a property was once a meth lab. Employees at state or local government agencies contacted for the report thought other state or local agencies are responsible for overseeing or mandating cleanup, but the task is mostly left to local code enforcement departments, who have no guidance from their states.