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.

  • Two-Hour Diploma

    “Two-Hour Diploma” started with a late-night hotline tip in February of 2018. Ten months later, at the time of this entry, the shock waves it produced continue to reverberate throughout the state of Maryland. Using deep dive, old-fashioned investigative journalism, this series produced results. A Baltimore high school was shut down after Fox45 enrolled an undercover student who received a diploma in two hours. Multiple state investigations were launched leading to other schools being shut down. Lawmakers, including the Governor, promised legislative action in Annapolis when session opens in January. And Fox45 jumped right through the massive loopholes this investigation exposed by opening our own church and school – right under the state’s nose. Two weeks after filing the paperwork, Good News Academy was certified and approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. As all this was unfolding, investigative reporter Chris Papst was sued by a school operator and physical threats were made against Papst and Fox45 for which the police were called. In an effort to stop the investigation, Fox45’s sources were threatened with violence and had their property vandalized. “Two-Hour Diploma” was produced by Project Baltimore, a team of Fox45 journalists committed to a long-term investigation of education in the Baltimore area.
  • Benghazi: US Consulate Attack

    On September 11, when a militant group overran the US consulate in Benghazi resulting in the death of the ambassador, the initial information was contradictory. Much of it got mixed up with other reports out of the Middle East about anti-American demonstrations over an inflammatory film on the Internet that was said to insult Islam. Damon arrived quickly in Benghazi to sort out the conflicting information and went to the burnt consulate ruins, which, though looted, held valuable clues to the truth. Her reporting revealed that there was not a demonstration and that it appeared to have been a planned attack that unfolded simultaneously from three sides. She discovered that U.S. diplomats had been warned by Libyan officials three days before the attack that the security situation in the city was out of their control. Though her reporting received harsh public criticism from the State Department at the time, the U.S. government’s own investigation later proved her reporting to be accurate in an episode that continues to reverberate politically. Damon also spoke to Libyans that tried to save the ambassador that night, shedding light on what happened to him during his final hours. While she was in Benghazi, demonstrations erupted against the militia believed to be responsible for the attack, and Damon further reported on the rise in extremism in the newly-liberated country. Her reporting provided additional valuable context about the milieu in which the consulate attack occurred.
  • The NSA Files

    In a series of investigative stories based on top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, the Guardian US revealed the vast scale and scope of domestic and international surveillance programs, the close relationship between technology companies and intelligence agencies, and how technology is leading to widespread, indiscriminate and routine mass collection of telephone and internet data of millions of Americans. Guardian US reporting has shed unprecedented light on inadequate oversight over surveillance activities and how secretive and outdated laws have failed to keep up with changing technology. On June 5, 2013, the Guardian US was the first to reveal a FISA court order showing how “under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk.” On June 9, in an exclusive video interview and Q&A published at theguardian.com, the source of the leaks revealed himself as Edward Snowden. The Verizon story would be the first of a series of extensive revelations (enclosed for consideration with this entry) that exposed the scale and sophistication of surveillance programs and the secret laws that govern them. The Guardian’s reporting prompted vigorous debate in the US and around the world. The stories have dominated headlines and driven news agendas worldwide. The disclosures exposed misleading statements by senior US administration officials and elicited responses from the highest levels of government -- including The White House, the Office of Director of National Intelligence, Congress and the courts. They prompted numerous legal challenges, Congressional hearings and legislation calling for reform, increased oversight and transparency for NSA programs.
  • Cosecha de Miseria (Harvest of Misery)

    A yearlong investigation by Telemundo and The Weather Channel gathered evidence that child labor is commonplace during the coffee harvest in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico -- illustrating in stark, human terms the failures and limitations of an elaborate global system of third-party monitoring established by the coffee industry to assure its sourcing is ethical, and a violation of international agreements and laws meant to prohibit child labor. By following the supply chain to the source, the investigation also revealed how global agreements and the laws of nations prohibit such labors by children, who were found filling and lugging heavy bags of coffee while living in harsh conditions. Result: A documentary in which reporters take viewers on a gritty, real-world tour to the bottom of the murky coffee supply chain, where feel-good marketing clashes with harsh realities socially conscious consumers may find surprising if not shocking.
  • Pain & Profit

    Healthcare companies made billions of dollars while systematically denying life-sustaining drugs and treatments to thousands of sick kids and elderly and disabled Texans. The companies profited by stalling or denying nursing services, medical equipment and therapy. And for lying about how many doctors they had available to treat patients. State officials knew about horrific failures but covered it all up.
  • Dangerous Drugs

    A CBS News investigation into the FDA reveals that the organization has approved a number of drugs despite objections from its own scientists. Among the questionably approved drugs was Rezulin, a diabetes drug, and Relenza, a flu drug. "The series exposed a serious rift between FDA rank-and-file scientists who felt their concerns were being ignored, and FDA executives who repeatedly sided with pharmaceutical companies over issues of safety regarding controversial drugs."
  • First Lady Inc.

    “First Lady, Inc.” examined the dual roles of Cylvia Hayes, the fiancée of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, as she parlayed her proximity to the governor into private consulting deals for herself.
  • "Grading the Teachers"

    The LA Times studied schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. Using gain-score analysis, data linking standardized test scores and various evaluation techniques, the Times identified the "most and least effective" teachers and schools in the district. Reporters examined schools ranked high by the API standard, only to find inconsistencies in student performance.
  • What Went Wrong

    Miami Herald looks at housing construction and how well houses met building codes in the wake of Hurricane Andrew; it is clear that shoddy construction led to the most costly disaster in U.S. history.
  • Murder Mysteries

    Scripps Howard developed a computer algorithim that can identify suspicious clusters of homicides of women that have a significant chance of containing serial murders.