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" ...

  • A Season Of Drama At The San Diego Opera

    When the board of the San Diego Opera, one of the region’s most prominent arts institutions, abruptly announced it would close after nearly 50 years, the shock reverberated nationally. San Diego’s opera had been held up as a well-run organization with a balanced budget. But suddenly, it was shutting down and essentially blaming the audience. But a KPBS/inewsource investigation found there was plenty of blame to go around, enough to eventually prompt the state Attorney General to open an inquiry. Public records, leaked documents and sound sourcing revealed questionable financial practices at the opera and a 58-member board of directors more interested in socializing than running an arts organization with a multi-million dollar budget. It also exposed a highly compensated, intransigent leadership whose arrogant insistence on expensive, grand opera over consumer-friendly innovations nearly doomed the institution.
  • The Clerk’s Files

    When Watchdog City began these stories as an outgrowth of beat reporting on county government, they had no idea it would lead to filing a lawsuit that successfully challenged high public records fees and produced a favorable ruling after a hard-fought trial in June 2014. With unlimited taxpayer funds at his disposal to spend on legal fees, the county’s elected auditor and accountant — the Clerk of Courts — has since appealed the circuit judge’s ruling in my favor. The case is now on its way to Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal.
  • DC Council Contracts

    Lawmakers in the District of Columbia routinely approved lucrative city contracts for businesses that made hefty campaign contributions at the time of the contract vote. That was one of the most eye-opening findings of a months-long investigation by WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. It’s a power unique among state legislatures in the country; every contract worth a million dollars or more must be approved by the 13-member council. There was little oversight of this process until reporter Patrick Madden and students from the Workshop started delving into these contracts. The team analyzed nearly a decade worth of public records — and over 100,000 campaign contributions — to find out which companies were winning contracts and how much campaign cash they gave to the council members approving their contracts.
  • KRIS-TV: The Trouble with TEA

    Series focused on the lengths educators will go to cover up teacher misconduct by focusing on one teacher, in particular, who bounced from school district to another, always leaving amid accusations of misconduct with female students. Our reporting uncovered the uncomfortable fact that: *All too often, a teacher can break local and state rules on professional conduct but, because the misconduct never leads to formal criminal charges, the teacher is protected. *School districts will deliberately alter public records to protect a teacher from unflattering publicity. *The investigative arm of the state education agency is woefully understaffed and overwhelmed. *School districts cannot always afford to pursue termination proceedings due to the threat of a costly lawsuit from the teacher. Instead, they'll let the teacher resign. *Even state lawmakers now admit the investigative arm of the state education is in dire need of changes.
  • How to Call 911 at the USPS

    Call 911 in the event of a medical emergency. It’s what we have been taught and it’s what we teach our kids. But producer Liz Wagner, reporter Vicky Nguyen and photographer Felipe Escamilla uncovered that at the United States Postal Service, the rules governing what to do in an emergency are very different. And those rules may have caused critical delays in life and death situations. Through interviews with sources, internal postal service documents and public records, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit exposed that USPS policy instructs employees to call their supervisors and then security in the event of a medical emergency—not 911.
  • Campus Insecurity

    An investigation by the Columbus Dispatch and Student Press Law Center exposed that many universities across the nation are under-reporting violent crimes that occur on campus, using secret judicial review boards to often hand out soft punishments for serious crimes and are violating the rights of both the victims and accused in a system that ignores due process. The deception begins with the name: Campus Security. Most campuses are anything but secure. And worse, administrators have cloaked their campus crime rates and poor response to them in secrecy — failing to take some complaints seriously, shunting what should be criminal cases into closed-door campus judicial hearings handled by untrained faculty and students, and refusing public records about the cases or stalling when asked for them.
  • Oheka Castle Shooting

    When Gary Melius was shot in the head in a botched assassination attempt on the grounds of the massive castle he calls home, the mysterious event led to a Newsday examination of the politically-connected real estate developer’s many business dealings. Using public records and on- and off-the-record sources, reporters in the weeks to come uncovered a labyrinth of intrigue surrounding one company in particular: Interceptor Ignition Interlocks, which produced devices designed to curtail drunk driving and had won lucrative government contracts. The series of stories immediately following the assassination attempt captured the attention of all of Long Island by revealing complex, meaningful and news-breaking exposés concerning Long Island’s power brokers and public officials.
  • Fatal Encounters

    Fatal Encounters is a six-part series regarding issues surrounding officer-involved homicides in the United States that was published in the Reno News & Review. It was begun more than a year before the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and other similar incidents, but started publishing in February 2014. There were also integrated social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. Major findings are that government does not accurately collect statistics regarding officer-involved homicides, law enforcement agencies are often resistant to following public records laws regarding issues of officer-involved homicides, officers involved are almost invariably damaged psychologically, mental illness is a very large factor in who gets killed by police, and collecting substantial data is no longer solely the province of big media or the government.
  • Tennessee's Secret Deals

    This exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation exposed some of Tennessee’s most closely guarded secrets – secrets about how more than $1 billion in incentives had been offered to just two major corporations and how that money had been used by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration as leverage to accomplish a political goal of defeating one of the nation’s biggest unions. It’s an investigation that made national news, including stories in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The investigation also highlighted how much the public is kept in the dark as a result of exemptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act.
  • Rikers Island

    The series of stories produced by AP over the course of 2014, based largely on documents obtained via public records requests and information gleaned from city sources, provides a rare and detailed examination inside the nation's largest city's deeply troubled and neglected jail system – where violence reigns and sick and mentally ill inmates suffer the most.