Tags : investigative

International collaboration enhances investigation into Canadians' role in Cuba's child sex market

The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister publication of the Miami Herald, recently collaborated on an investigation that found Canadians are travelling to Cuba in surprising numbers to sexually exploit young people trapped in the socialist country’s underground sex tourism industry.

Havana’s conspicuous scenes of street-level prostitution are the public face of a hidden, sordid trade in children as young as four. Many prostituted children in Cuba are second- or third-generation, following in the footsteps of sex-worker mothers to earn money for families complicit in their exploitation. Cuban authorities deny the problem. And Canada’s ...

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Remembering journalist Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer, a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 as a foreign correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, died this week from complications of lung cancer. Cramer's writing career spanned politics and sports, and in addition to the Inquirer his work appeared in magazines such as Esquire and Rolling Stone. Cramer authored several books, including What It Takes: The Way to the White House, an in-depth look at the 1988 presidential election.

This week, IRE pulled a 1991 Esquire story by Richard Ben Cramer from its archives:

George Bush: How He Got Here
"A life of ease ...

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Behind the Story: The big business of 'green' buildings and LEED certification

Can a 50-story Las Vegas hotel be environmentally-friendly?  This is the question USA Today reporter Tom Frank sought to answer when he began reporting on the increase in construction of so-called environmentally friendly buildings.  Through his investigation, Frank found that green commercial construction has increased.  Non-profits are behind the movement, but few have assessed the real impact of their programs.  Often, green building improvements are simply cheap routes to large tax breaks.  Frank’s ongoing Green Inc. series explores the challenges non-profit groups face in helping for-profit businesses “go green.”

His investigation began with an online search of the U ...

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Behind The Story: Comparing databases on bullying

Students head to lunch at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs. The school district reported 58 alleged incidents to the state in five years, arguably a low rate for an urban district of 9,000 students. David Purdy/The Register

In reporting, timing is everything.  For Des Moines Register reporter Kyle Munson, the topic of bullying in Iowa schools was reaching a climax as his work was being finalized.  During the release of his series “Bullying in Iowa,” Iowa had faced two deaths related to bullying incidents, the most recent involving a northwest Iowa teen who committed suicide after ...

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Document Cloud, Overview help AP investigate vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's record

Jack Gillum of The Associated Press recently published a story showing that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has relied on many of the programs he's criticized and suggested cutting. The report wouldn't have been possible without tools like DocumentCloud and Overview, Gillum said in a post on the Overview project's website. DocumentCloud enabled Gillum to analyze, annotate and publish large volumes of documents. Overview allowed him to sort the documents into topics and visualize their contents.

In all, there more were that 9,000 pages of material to review.  Using Document Cloud in concert with Overview helped Gillum ...

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Investigating charities calling for disaster relief money

In the wake of Sandy's destruction, countless efforts will be made to help victims. Already, ABC/Disney has designated a "Day of giving," the National Football League and it's players association has pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and iTunes is directly accepting donations.

Countless calls will be made for the public to donate to charities large and small. Reporters can investigate charities to analyze their past performance. They can also arm the public with knowledge by instructing them in ways they can check out who they are donating money to before it leaves their pockets.

These ...

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Seeking communications between the White House and Department of Labor

Transparency Watch is an occasional series from IRE tracking the fight for open records. If you have a story about a quest for public records you'd like to share, email us at web@ire.org.

This past summer, I reported for The Oregonian on the issue of child labor on farms, specifically the health and safety risks of such work and the existing protections.

A big part of the story was the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor killed its own proposed regulations that sought for the first time in 40 years to offer tighter restrictions for ...

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State of New Jersey sues itself over release of records

Mark Lagerkvist of New Jersey Watchdog reports that the State of New Jersey is suing itself over a possible release of records to the website.

Lagerkvist reports that on Oct. 15, the state attorney general filed a motion seeking to stop the state Government Records Council from reviewing files, which on Aug. 31 had ordered state pension officials to turn over 26 records for inspection, to determine if any of those records should be released to New Jersey Watchdog.

The records relate to an alleged $245,000 pension scheme involving Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, which New Jersey watchdog first reported ...

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Behind the Story: The San Diego port, altered public records and interactive presentation

San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is home to a rare deep water port that’s valuable to the maritime industry, but for the last ten years, developers have argued that the area should be transformed into an entertainment district.  When two businessmen responsible for running the U-T San Diego began promoting the stadium, Brooke Williams of iNewSource.org along with reporters from KPBS San Diego decided to investigate.  Their series “Port Authority:  What’s a Port Worth, Anyway?” compiles reporting, documents, interactive pieces, and video to show the plans and potential effects the changes would have on San ...

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Spreading computer-assisted reporting techniques in Latin America

By Mc Nelly Torres

Víctor Hugo Michel is excited and overwhelmed.

He hasn’t stopped thinking about all the stories he will be able to report and write using the data analysis and investigative tools he learned this past weekend at the IberoAmericana University in México City.

“I never thought I could organize data, rank it and compare it electronically to find new trends and information which is not easy to see with the naked eye,” said Michel, a reporter for the newspaper Grupo Milenio in México City. “These tools are like using a new set of ...

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