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 "water" ...

  • The Journal by KLC: Ogallala Aquifer

    This 7,000-word story by investigative reporter Karen Dillon outlines why it's so difficult for farmers, state officials and local governments to slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital economic resource for western Kansas. It is based on water-use data acquired through a state open records request. The information helps illustrate the scale of aquifer's depletion and who is most responsible. The Journal is the first publication to our knowledge that has used public records to detail the 150 largest users of the aquifer's groundwater over the past 13 years. This list serves an important public interest since groundwater belongs to the people of Kansas under state law.
  • Tapped Out

    Through a combination of explanatory journalism, interactive graphics and video, the author shows why Pennsylvanians should care about their drinking water and what they can do to protect themselves.
  • NYT: Using FOIA To Open Access to the Government in the Trump Era

    The regulatory and legal system that for the last 50 years has protected the environment in the United States--the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the toxic chemicals we encounter--is facing an assault unlike anything since the modern environmental movement began in the 1960s. The New York Times in the past year has committed an extraordinary amount of resources not just to investigate the controversies inside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have fanned out across the United States to document the real impact this radical shift in regulatory policy is having, via an ambitious investigative project that demanded all of the skills journalism can deliver from FOIAs, to databases, to litigation, to government sources, narrative storytelling and innovative online and print presentations. It is one of the biggest stories of our times. And no one has covered it as aggressively as The New York Times. FOIA, for almost every piece we have published, has been a critical part of our reporting.
  • NYT: Trump's Assault on the Environment

    The regulatory and legal system that for the last 50 years has protected the environment in the United States--the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the toxic chemicals we encounter--is facing an assault unlike anything since the modern environmental movement began in the 1960s. The New York Times in the past year has committed an extraordinary amount of resources not just to investigate the controversies inside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have fanned out across the United States to document the real impact this radical shift in regulatory policy is having, via an ambitious investigative project that demanded all of the skills journalism can deliver from FOIAs, to databases, to litigation, to government sources, narrative storytelling and innovative online and print presentations. It is one of the biggest stories of our times. And no one has covered it as aggressively as The New York Times.
  • NYT: This Is Our Reality Now

    The regulatory and legal system that for the last 50 years has protected the environment in the United States--the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the toxic chemicals we encounter--is facing an assault unlike anything since the modern environmental movement began in the 1960s. The New York Times in the past year has committed an extraordinary amount of resources not just to investigate the controversies inside the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have fanned out across the United States to document the real impact this radical shift in regulatory policy is having, via an ambitious investigative project that demanded all of the skills journalism can deliver from FOIAs, to databases, to litigation, to government sources, narrative storytelling and innovative online and print presentations. It is one of the biggest stories of our times. And no one has covered it as aggressively as The New York Times.
  • NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Toxic School Water

    This yearlong investigation – more than two dozen stories that culminated in an hourlong, primetime special -- exposed students drinking lead-contaminated water inside Nashville schools, parents being kept in the dark about the test results, as well as officials secretly plotting to bypass lead filters to save money and using testing methods that disguised the real contamination. Through persistence and dogged reporting, we exposed a scandal that would make national news in 2018. As a result, the head of facilities for the school district was forced to resign. District officials were also pressured by Nashville’s mayor and health department to reform their testing practices. In addition, our intense focus on the issue in 2018 would be credited with reviving legislation that’s designed to help keep children across Tennessee safe.
  • Lead in the Water: A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report

    An investigation into deep-seated problems in the City of Milwaukee's program for testing children for lead poisoning that revealed dysfunction and neglect putting children at risk.
  • Freelance: Abandoning American coal mines

    Since reaching a historical high in 2008, U.S. coal production plummeted by a third in the ensuing decade. Companies accounting for nearly half the coal dug across the country declared for bankruptcy in 2015 and 2016, and President Donald Trump’s rhetorical ending of the “war on coal” has shown no meaningful signs of reviving the industry. With the writing on the wall for U.S. coal, I investigated the system meant to guarantee that funds are available to pay for environmental cleanup. I built first-of-their-kind databases to determine how much money was in this system, where it was held and other trends in the industry such as levels of oversight and types of post-mining land uses. A combination of data analysis and ground-level reporting from around the country resulted in stories that showed myriad issues in protecting cleanup funds, which result in scarred land and polluted air and water.
  • Flood of Distrust: A Story on San Diego’s Mismanaged Water Department

    “Flood of Distrust” is the culmination of our year-long investigation into the San Diego water department. We found the department was unable to perform basic functions for citizens of the country’s eighth largest city. Our work prompted the city to refund tens of thousands of dollars to customers and caused significant changes in the department’s management, including the abrupt exit of the department’s director. “Flood of Distrust” exposes a mismanaged and unsupervised public utility department, a department that cost San Diegans thousands of dollars and is in desperate need of repair.
  • 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.”