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" ...

  • State offices ignore freedom of information laws

    Through a comprehensive survey involving more than 80 state open records requests, the Press & Sun-Bulletin conducted a first-of-its-kind examination of compliance by New York's state agencies with part of the state Freedom of Information Law that is intended to let the public know what records are kept by various agencies. The newspaper documented 79 of 86 agencies, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, were not complying with the law. The story led to immediate and ongoing corrective action.
  • Throwaway Kids

    Teenagers at a mental health facility tied face-down to a bed and injected with powerful sedatives as punishment for small infractions. And yet, as my investigation showed, this was common at the state-funded Citrus Health facility in Pembroke Pines, Florida, a 56-bed facility for teens dealing with mental disease, sexual abuse, and addiction. The systemic abuse didn't stop there. Public records and interviews outlined a pattern of violence and sloppy policy.
  • 911 Dispatch Delays

    This investigation started with a tip that the local fire chief and EMS director were concerned about how long it was taking 911 dispatchers to dispatch emergency calls. WJHL's investigation, which was the result of multiple public records requests, uncovered one fatal fire call that took more than three-and-a-half minutes to dispatch despite callers providing fairly specific information. They also found out the dispatch center started improving its times following that fire. The director also made a public commitment for the first time to continue improving those times. After that investigation, they began requesting public records for other dispatch centers and discovered what appeared to be an even bigger problem in the neighboring county.
  • Reinvestigating Rape

    The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com have been reporting on rape kit testing for five years. They put their first public records request in to the Cleveland police department in 2009 and have followed up every step of the way as kits in thousands of rape cases have been counted, submitted for testing and as rape cases have been re-investigated leading to more than 240 indictments, at least a third of them in serial rape cases.
  • Going Platinum: Gaming the System

    NBC Bay Area exposed an ongoing scheme by the head of Santa Clara County’s Department of Child Support Services in which he used a personal credit card for over a hundred thousand dollars of reimbursable department charges in order to rack up travel rewards points on the public’s dime. Through several public records requests and meticulous data entry and analysis, the team exposed the Director's passion for points drove him to exploit his position for financial gain and violate county purchasing policy. Our investigation shed light on a county department tainted by abuse of power, longstanding violations and questionable ethics The team’s reporting sparked investigations by state agencies, a change in leadership and his ultimate firing.
  • The Fight of His Life

    "The Fight of his Life”: Coachella boxer Angel Osuna struggles to rebound from a severe brain injury from his final bout as he deals with $1M in medical bills. “Audit: Athletic commission failed its athletes”: Public records show the California State Athletic Commission, entrusted with the safety of amateur and professional boxers, has mismanaged two key funds for several years.
  • Rialto Unified Holocaust essay assignment

    The 26,000-student Rialto Unified School District in Southern California asked its 2,000 eighth graders this spring to write an in-class essay assignment on whether or not the Holocaust occurred, and gave students print-outs from a Holocaust denial site as one of three "credible sources" they were required to base their work on. The district initially claimed that no students had denied the Holocaust occurred, but after the students' essays were obtained through a California Public Records Act request, it turned out that dozens of students had done so, some of them earning high marks along the way. The revelation led to international condemnation, the establishment of a new lesson plan for the rising ninth graders, the departure of high-ranking officials within the district and may have contributed to the school board president choosing to not run for reelection.
  • Sexual Assault Data

    Sexual assault on campuses has been a hot-button issue for more than a year, and The Daily Tar Heel is constantly looking for ways to uncover new information. For months, editors at the newspaper pushed for data regarding the adjudication of sexual assault. This request was finally granted in fall 2014, and my story is the result of these public records. They felt this story was important to tell because many people wonder why colleges handle the punishment of this violent crime. But the story used data and experts from both the university and criminal justice system to show how both sides struggle to adjudicate sexual assault. In addition, the story explored how sexual assault survivors rely on having a multitude of options to keep them safe on campus. However, that system only works if student rapists are actually punished for their crimes.
  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.
  • NBC5 Investigates: Bitter Pills

    NBC5 Investigates examined public records and found hundreds of simple and possibly overlooked nursing home medication errors in Illinois that in some cases are leading to hospitalizations for dangerously low blood sugar, visual hallucinations, amputations and death.