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.

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  • Daily Herald: Illinois tollway series

    The Illinois tollway, governed by a nonelected board of political appointees, is the only option to get around the Chicago region for millions of drivers who spend $1.3 billion annually to use the system. While hardworking customers paid tolls, tollway executives and board directors were quietly hiring political insiders for high-paying jobs, handing lucrative contracts to firms where their relatives worked, and weakening bylaws to water down the tollway board’s conflict-of-interest rules. As the Daily Herald exposed nepotism, patronage and excessive spending at the tollway, the agency’s leaders fought back. Tactics included denying FOIAs, concealing information and accusing the newspaper of harassment. The Daily Herald’s investigation caught the attention of other media, two governors and state lawmakers who ultimately fired the tollway board of directors in early 2019. Legislators credited the Herald’s investigative series with alerting the public about what Gov. J.B. Pritzker referred to “unethical behavior.”
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Robots Are Now Hiring

    Hiring is undergoing a profound revolution. Since skills have a shorter and shorter shelf life, companies are moving away from assessing candidates based on their resumes and skills, towards making hiring decisions based on people’s personalities.
  • Decoding Discrimination

    Hiring workers based on race or sex is illegal, but Reveal found that some companies skirted the law by contracting out their discriminatory practices to temp agencies. https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/decoding-discrimination-in-americas-temp-industry/ https://www.revealnews.org/blog/decoding-the-language-of-discrimination/
  • The Making of Donald Trump

    An investigative biography of the successful candidate for President detailing his many criminal associations, cheating of workers, vendors and investors as well as other aspects of his life documented in the public record, but largely ignored in politics news reports. The author did the book for a modest advance (equal to a major magazine article) with no other support for the costs of travel, research, hiring a researcher and paying for copies of documents.
  • Bird-dogging the Buffalo Billion

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the "Buffalo Billion" program in 2012 with the intention of revitalizing the Western New York economy. Investigative Post's reporting documented the extraordinary lengths to which Cuomo administration has gone to withhold disclosure of how the $1 billion is being spent. Our reporting also revealed that lucrative development contracts were awarded to major donors to Cuomo's campaign committee and that SolarCity, the major beneficiary of the state's spending, is losing vast amounts of money and under federal investigation. Subsequent reporting detailed that minority hiring goals for the SolarCity project, involving the construction of a $750 million solar panel manufacturing plant, were lowered and that African Americans made up less than 6 percent of the workforce.
  • Birthstory

    You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby - three, in fact - by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth shaking revelation shifts our focus from them, to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world consider bans on surrogacy, this episode looks at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting, and deeply uncomfortable, all at the same time. http://www.radiolab.org/story/birthstory/
  • Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions

    In the era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns and political groups that can raise donations in unlimited amounts from almost any source, we are used to reading stories about the large amounts of money that special interests invest in politics. But what do they get out of the government they spend so much trying to influence by supporting political campaigns and parties or hiring well-connected lobbyists?
  • Down and Out at Inglewood Unified

    Inglewood Unified serves a low income, high minority community which sits in the shadow of Los Angeles. By just being born in this city kids are already at a disadvantage: high crime, high poverty, high teen pregnancy. So when the District received tens of millions of dollars in state aid as part of takeover, the hope was to clean up the schools. KPCC wanted to find out if that happened. We investigated Inglewood Unified schools and found conditions at an all time low: campuses dealing with rats, fire safety problems, exposed wiring and an increase in violence. We also found campus security was eliminated while the new superintendent of the district received a $150,000 a year personal security detail. There were results from their investigation, including a massive clean up and repair of schools, rehiring of campus security personnel and an end to the superintendent's security detail.
  • Fixed Fortunes

    In the era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns and political groups that can raise donations in unlimited amounts from almost any source, we are used to reading stories about the large amounts of money that special interests invest in politics. But what do they get out of the government they spend so much trying to influence by supporting political campaigns and parties or hiring well-connected lobbyists? Bill Allison and Sarah Harkins set out to answer that question, compiling huge amounts of data from multiple federal sources, identifying the biggest corporate political donors over a six year period, and then compiling numbers on the various federal support -- contracts, grants, loans, loan guarantees and various programs adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis -- to attempt to show what the biggest donors get from the federal government.
  • Relative Advantage at the Los Angeles County Fire Department

    A Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered a broad pattern of nepotism and cheating in the hiring of Los Angeles County firefighters, findings that prompted immediate reforms in the agency and an ongoing investigation into possible wrongdoing by employees. Although hiring for the highly coveted jobs is supposed to be based solely on merit – and 95% of applicants are rejected – The Times found that the Fire Department employed an improbably large number of sons and other relatives of current and former firefighters. It also found that relatives had ready access to confidential questions and answers for job interviews. In addition, the story disclosed that the son of a high-ranking department official was hired despite failing 13 of 14 exams on EMT work, a critical part of the job. The story included a digital presentation of the findings.