Articles about "Investigative journalism"


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Small paper’s ongoing investigation into local police leads to suspensions, resignations

The Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger has delivered almost daily installments this summer of a story of law enforcement dysfunction that seems more like a script for Reno 911 than a scandal plaguing a modern-day police department.

Five officers have resigned or been fired, others have been reassigned or suspended pending further investigation, and up to 20 people, current officers, former officers and city employees have been implicated. Five prominent citizens resigned from an advisory council before the first meeting.

City commissioners are struggling to isolate themselves from political fallout. And investigators have exposed a culture of sexual harassment and permissiveness, which includes documentation of police officers and staff members having sex in city offices, police cars, city parks and abandoned property.

About 200 people packed a town hall meeting this week, where most participants voiced support for the embattled police chief.… Read more

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How to overcome your fear of FOIAs

For many journalists, FOIA is a scary four-letter acronym, sometimes stifling investigations before they even begin. This guide aims to demystify Freedom of Information Act processes, giving you the tools and confidence to ask for the information you need to write your next investigative story.

Why FOIA requests are so helpful

FOIA is both a federal and state-based law granting individuals and organizations the right to access most governmental agency records. As such, it’s a critical tool that helps journalists in their reporting and writing. Public-records requests are essential to supporting the journalistic values of holding the government accountable and ensuring openness.

Via FOIA, the government provides the information you need; however, the research and analysis associated with the information obtained is left up to you.… Read more

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Wisconsin’s government has other ties to journalism orgs

The Cap Times | Wisconsin Reporter

The state budget bill that would kick the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism off the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is on Gov. Scott Walker’s desk. Legislators objected to a journalism nonprofit receiving office space in a state building.

Jack Craver asks: So how’s that different from news organizations getting office space at the state Capitol?… Read more

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Seattle Times asks readers to help with a mystery

The Seattle Times

Seattle-based Social Security Administration investigator Joe Velling is trying to untangle the case of Lori Ruff, who killed herself in Texas in late 2010. She left behind a box that showed she’d stolen the identity of a child who died in a fire in Fife, Wash., then changed her name legally.

The paper has put photos of clues to Ruff’s identity online and asked readers for clues. “So far, we’ve gotten a lot of response, but they haven’t cracked the case yet,” reporter Maureen O’Hagan wrote in an email to Poynter.… Read more

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Portland Press Herald investigation leads governor to issue gag order

Colin Woodard received several tips last year about “a reign of terror” on the staff of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.

As he looked into the tips, Woodard began unraveling a twisted truth: Patricia Aho, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection commissioner and a former corporate and industrial lobbyist, has been fighting against laws and programs that her former clients in the real estate development, drug, chemical and oil companies opposed.

His reporting led to a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram investigation, “The Lobbyist in the Henhouse,” which was published this week.

The three-part series offers a detailed look at programs that have reportedly suffered as a result of Aho’s leadership — including the Kid Safe Products Act, a law that protects children, babies and fetuses from harmful chemicals.… Read more

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Talk-show host: Wisconsin Watch move should ‘appall those of us in the conservative media’

WTMJ | Associated Press | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | CJR |
A Wisconsin legislative committee’s motion to kick the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism off the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison “combines some of the worst aspects of the IRS and DOJ scandals,” Milwaukee radio talk-show host Charlie Sykes writes, “using government to punish those perceived as political enemies combined with a clear assault on the free press. … The move should especially appall those of us in the conservative media.”

Republican state senator Dale Schultz called the action “petty,” the Associated Press reports.

The committee’s vote was “12-4 along party lines, with Republicans in the majority,” Karen Herzog reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.… Read more

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New Yorker introduces Aaron Swartz-developed privacy tool Strongbox

The New Yorker | The Washington Post | The New York Times | Wired | Guardian | All Things D

The New Yorker on Tuesday introduced its new, anonymous electronic tip tool Strongbox, coincidentally on the heels of renewed concerns over privacy for journalists’ sources following revelations of Department of Justice surveillance of AP staffers (which The Washington Post’s Timothy B. Lee notes is “likely perfectly legal”)

The Strongbox site ostensibly allows people to submit letters, documents, emails or any other files to the New Yorker anonymously. It was developed in conjunction with Wired investigations editor Kevin Poulsen and the late Web activist and developer Aaron Swartz, who hanged himself in January after facing charges of wire fraud and computer fraud. Poulsen, whose publication also is owned by New Yorker parent Conde Nast, wrote about Swartz’s involvement, and why Strongbox was a necessity.… Read more

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Cleveland Bodies Found

Tips for investigating a story like Cleveland’s missing women

How do you dig up information in a story like the one unfolding in Cleveland when all you know is three women missing for nearly a decade suddenly escaped their captors? When the story broke, government offices were closed, the usual sources were hard to find and neighbors knew next to nothing of substance about the main suspect.

I asked Investigative Reporters and Editors Executive Director Mark Horvit and some of the country’s best investigative reporters to help me compile a checklist of public records that would be useful in reporting a story like this. Horvit and the IRE folks have compiled a first-rate collection of “essential tipsheets” to help journalists with stories like this one that require you to be find reliable information quickly. I also emailed with a reporter who used such tools in her own work on the Cleveland story.… Read more

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Subscription-based journalism site forces French politician to resign

Le Temps via WorldCrunch | Time

The resignation last week of French President Francois Hollande’s budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac over allegations of tax fraud has been shining a spotlight on one model of online investigative journalism. Mediapart, a French website founded  five years ago by a pair of veteran journalists from newspaper Le Monde, now has another feather in its cap for breaking (and sticking with) the Cahuzac scandal, and has a subscriber base that proves online journalism can work.

Co-founders Laurent Mauduit and Edwy Plenel are celebrating the latest victory for Mediapart, which first gained fame for exposing Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign finance scandal in 2010. Both during that investigation and the Cahuzac story, politicians, readers and other members of the media questioned the site’s allegations.… Read more

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Washington Post hires fourth Ford-funded investigative reporter

The Washington Post

John Sullivan, who helped lead a Philadelphia Inquirer team to a Pulitzer Prize with an examination of violence in Philadelphia schools, will join both The Washington Post and American University in May.

Sullivan’s position at the Post will be underwritten by a half-million-dollar grant the Ford Foundation announced last summer it would give the Post for government-accountability reporting. The Post hired Mike Sallah from the Miami Herald, Kimbriell Kelly from the Chicago Reporter and Amy Brittain from the Newark Star Ledger with some of that cash last year.

Sullivan, who left the Inquirer in 2011 to become a faculty member at Medill, will also teach investigative reporting at American University.… Read more

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