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 "disabilities" ...

  • Empty-desk epidemic

    A groundbreaking examination of internal Chicago Public Schools records exposed a grievous injustice and sparked two new state laws and a powerful push for reform. Nearly 32,000 of the city's K-8 grade students — or roughly 1 in 8 —miss a month or more of class per year, while some youngsters vanish from the attendance rolls for years at a stretch, the newspaper's investigation of protected student-level data found. Chicago officials were publishing upbeat statistics that masked the devastating pattern of absenteeism -- even as the missed days robbed youth of their futures and cost taxpayers millions in funding keyed to attendance. The flood of missed days disproportionately impact impoverished African-American youngsters as well as children with disabilities. The journalism drew heavily on social science research methods. In one of many examples, the lead reporter became a Nieman fellow, qualified as a Harvard University researcher on human subjects, then worked through Harvard's Institutional Review Board to obtain and analyze Chicago's attendance database under a contract he crafted between Harvard and the Chicago Public Schools. Based on that research, the reporters subsequently found a way to obtain crucial parts of the data through public records requests.
  • Deadly Force

    “Deadly Force: Police and the Mentally Ill,” a series that included 20 stories (including sidebars and case studies) published over four days, examine law enforcement's use of lethal force, particularly when confronting people suffering from mental disabilities.
  • Locked Away

    "Locked Away" exposed a troubling fact: Some Ohio children with disabilities are isolated from their peers inside the so-called seclusion rooms – small cells, closets or old offices – as punishment when they misbehave or don’t follow teachers’ directions. But the state has no idea how often vulnerable children are sent to the rooms, nor could state officials say which schools used seclusion for their disabled students. Until reporters began work on “Locked Away,” no one had ever asked. The project, a joint effort by The Columbus Dispatch and StateImpact Ohio, has led to a statewide policy and rules to keep schools from misusing seclusion rooms.
  • Critical Delays: Dallas County’s Response to the West Nile Epidemic

    In the summer of 2012, Dallas County became the epicenter of the worst West Nile virus outbreak in American history. This investigation revealed critical delays in Dallas County’s response contributed to the health epidemic, where 15 people died and more than 150 others were left with long-term disabilities including brain damage, and muscle paralysis in Dallas County alone.
  • Empty-desk epidemic

    For years, Chicago officials published upbeat statistics that masked a crisis in the city's schools: Nearly 32,000 of the city's K-8 grade students — or roughly 1 in 8 —miss a month or more of class per year, while others simply vanish from school without a trace. This devastating pattern of absenteeism, which disproportionately affects African-Americans and children with disabilities, came to light only after Chicago Tribune reporters dug it out during a years-long FOIA battle to obtain internal district data.
  • Help Wanted

    The series explored work opportunities for those in one of the state's most vulnerable populations. It explained a little-known federal law that allows workers with disabilities to earn than less than minimum wage and took readers inside sheltered workshops where more than 80 percent of workers earn less than half of the minimum wage.
  • Fishing For Business

    A look at Illinois' program to give state contract money to business owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities. The state claims to have one of the best records in the nation when it comes to doing business with diverse companies, but our investigation shows that large departments are failing to meet goals year after year and evidence shows that the state may be influencing how well it is doing by circumventing the system.
  • No Choice: Florida Charter Schools Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities

    While Florida law says schools aren't allowed to turn kids away because it's too expensive to educate them, there is a loophole. The law says students with severe disabilities can only go to schools that provide the services they need. However, the investigation finds that most Florida charter schools do not offer those services.
  • Forced to Fight

    The original story documents how a remote facility for foster children with developmental disabilities forced to fight each other for the staff's entertainment, then rewarded the winners with snacks. The subsequent stories exposed a history of abuse and neglect at the facility.
  • Deadly Neglect

    The Tribune investigates the Chicago care facility with the worst safety record in Illinois. There were 13 deaths due to neglect or unexplained causes and countless illnesses that went ignored.