The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast. These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or email@example.com) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need. Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.
These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.
Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
Search results for "Verizon communications" ...
"Some big companies show up in government small-business databases, inflating the apparent contract totals." Larry Margasak of the Associated Press discovered that some of America's largest companies -- including Verizon Communications, AT&T Wireless, Barnes & Noble and Dole Food -- were mistakenly designated "small business" in the government's contractor database. This means "the government has overstated the contract dollars going to small business at a time when the administration of President George W. Bush has been pressing to give smaller firms as much federal work as possible." Moreover, the problem might not be easy to fix, as "once a company's status is mischaracterized, it stays that way through the life of a contract, which can be 20 years." Therefore, "smaller firms the administration intended to help might be frozen out from fresh business by bigger companies."
Tags: small business; contracts; database; data error; data; administration; general services administration; general accounting office; numbers; national federation of independent businesses; independent
Forbes looks at the "crummy call quality" provided by the cell-phone industry. The two-story package finds that this results from too much competition in the sector, which has made cell-phone calls in America the cheapest in the world, but has also clogged the U.S. network and ruined the business of the largest carriers. The analysis reveals that "new cell towers are only being added fast enough to handle one-third" of the growth in customer rolls. Tables with data on poorly served cities and areas, as well as a ranking of the top carriers, are also included in the package.
The Wall Street Journal investigates the reasons for the rising prices of telephone and cable services. The story packet finds that five years after the Telecommunications Reform Act was passed in 1996, "business customers have been the only beneficiaries." Among the main findings is that "the Baby bells and the cable-TV operators have the country pretty much to themselves, enjoying lucrative monopolies in most areas."
Tags: technology; Federal Communication Commission; SBC Communications; AT&T Corp.; AOL Time Warner; Verizon communications; Winstar Communications; competition; wireless; long-distance; Internet access
Padding Profits With Pensions: How companies inflate earnings with market gains from retirement funds
In practice, companies cannot use the money from their employee pension funds; it's intended for employees after they retire. However, as Steffy reports, employee pension funds "have become a significant -- though misleading -- source of reported corporate earnings." Forty-two of the companies on the S&P 500 reported that pension income "boosted pretax earnings by more than 5 percent." Many companies simply list these earnings in their footnotes.
"Descended from GTE and a couple of Baby Bells, Verizon now strives to go national." Reporter Stephanie Mehta reports on the local telephone company that has made its mark across the United States. "With wireless networks in 96 of the top 100 markets, a stake in a nationwide Internet backbone, and 63 million phone lines in 31 states." The article discusses Verizon's growth over the last couple years and reports on where the company sees room for increase.