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 "public records" ...

  • The Darren Sharper serial rape case

    This set of stories explains how former NFL star Darren Sharper was able to drug and rape women in multiple states over a few years without being stopped sooner. The stories were made possible by the collection of numerous public records as well as numerous interviews with sources at every level of the case, from witnesses to law enforcement officials, both for the record and not for attribution.
  • Corruption at Houston Community College

    Higher Education Reporter Ben Wermund dug into a variety of public records from multiple agencies and from a legal battle to track how the leaders one of the nation’s largest community colleges had wasted millions of a nearly half-billion-dollar bond package. He fought hard for records that the college repeatedly attempted to hide and found ingenious ways to document misspending, secret meetings and illegal or unethical decisions that resulted in immediate response, reforms in open meeting procedures and ongoing investigations.
  • Most localities fail test on state records law

    In an unusual collaboration, the Boston Globe teamed up with WCVB-TV and a class at Northeastern University to conduct the largest test ever performed of how cities and towns in Massachusetts respond to public records requests. The audit found that most cities and towns failed to meet the basic requirements of the law, taking too long to respond or ignoring requests altogether, withholding documents that are clearly public, charging onerous fees, or erecting other hurdles to obtaining information.
  • Investigating Rape

    Much has been written on the topic of rape in America. This series differed in that it focused on law enforcement agencies. We wanted to hold police accountable for their investigations of sexual assault — a crime that annually afflicts hundreds of thousands of victims, mostly women, but has a far lower arrest rate than other violent crimes such as murder or aggravated assault. Through interviews, police reports, public records, database queries and case studies, we discovered simple, immediate techniques that police could use to improve rape investigations. We found that police routinely failed to talk with neighboring jurisdictions in solving rape crimes, even though studies have shown that rapists often have a history of sexual assault. We showed that a simple phone call to check with other police agencies where the suspect lived can turn up corroborating evidence — but that such calls are rarely made.
  • Perimeter breaches at US airports

    People get onto tarmacs and even planes at major airports far more often than the general public or elected officials realize; more than 250 times in recent years. Until AP’s story, the breaches had been largely secret. The public had no idea that, for example, one mentally ill man had hopped the fence at LAX eight times, twice reaching stairs that led to jets. Associated Press reporters painstakingly filed public records requests and legal actions to produce the most comprehensive public accounting of perimeter security breaches at top U.S. airports. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2YeqYfYB0s
  • The Brothel Next Door

    Merrill College student reporters did what state officials had promised but failed to do: a comprehensive assessment of human trafficking and law enforcement’s response to it. The result was “The Brothel Next Door,” the first in-depth, data-based analysis of the problem in Maryland. The report was published online by Capital News Service and by local news outlets, including in Spanish by The Washington Post’s El Tiempo Latino. Five classes collaborated on the project: Media law classes submitted public records requests to every county. Capstone classes searched court files for details about how victims become trapped, traffickers operate and authorities respond. They obtained chilling audio of victims’ testimony and a state database never before released. Their analysis found authorities had uncovered extensive evidence of trafficking but struggled to win convictions. They conducted scores of interviews to understand why.
  • Line of Fire: Bullets, badges and death on the street

    Even before riots swept Ferguson, Mo., WPTV NewsChannel 5 and The Palm Beach Post teamed up to take on an unprecedented assignment: Track every police-involved shooting since 2000. We spent more than one year gathering public records and creating a database to track every detail from 256 incidents. Our joint investigation found Palm Beach County’s largest law enforcement agency cleared deputies in nearly every shooting and showed a pattern of rushing to judgment and ignoring evidence to reach those conclusions.
  • Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers and Corruption in the Aloha State

    A memoir of James Dooley's 30-plus year career as an investigative reporter for print, television and online news outlets in Hawaii. The book focuses on local, national and international organized crime activities in Hawaii, with emphasis on the yakuza (Japanese gangsters) and Hawaii mobsters' ties to the Teamsters Union. Dooley also writes extensively on political cronyism and corruption in local, state and federal government and details the use of public records to pursue stories. The book explores the difficulties and rewards of reporting in an enclosed market like Hawaii and discusses the shrinkage of investigative journalism in the 50th state.
  • Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana

    "Problems and opportunities: Electronic access in Indiana" explored how Indiana's county-level government agencies complied with the Access to Public Records Act — the state's open records law. Reported and written by master's students at The Media School at Indiana University and published by the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, the project found nearly half of the 90 agencies sampled failed to respond to requests for public records. http://indianacog.org/icog-news/problems-and-opportunities-electronic-access-in-indiana/
  • Who's Behind Newsweek?

    Mother Jones published the findings of an investigation uncovering evidence of a close business relationship between the media company International Business Times (IBT)-the owners of Newsweek-and the Community, a Christian sect led by Korean pastor David Jang. Journalist Ben Dooley conducted dozens of interviews with former employees of IBT and other Community organizations and scoured thousands of pages of public records and internal documents, ranging from emails to budget and strategic plans.