As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?
Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
In 2010, Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell wrote about thousands of neglected rape kits at the Cleveland Police Department. Working with fellow reporter Leila Atassi, their continued, tenacious coverage led to the creation of a 'rape kit task force' to cover a massive backlog, and eventually, a law mandating timely testing. Since 2011, when the city began sending rape kits to the state’s crime lab, almost all of its 4,000 kits have been tested; of these, over 1,600 contained usable DNA. 350 cases have led to grand jury indictments, and as of this month, over 100 rapists have been convicted, some of multiple rapes. [more inside]
Located in the heart of the Bible Belt, South Carolina is a deeply conservative state where men have ruled for centuries. The state elected its first female governor four years ago, but men continue to dominate elected offices, judicial appointments and other seats of government and corporate power. In many respects, the state's power structure is a fraternity reluctant to challenge the belief that a man's home is his castle and what goes on there, stays there.The 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service has been awarded to Charleston, South Carolina's Post and Courier newspaper for their seven-part special investigation on domestic violence and femicide in a state that consistently places in the top ten nationally in the rate of women killled by men: Till Death Do Us Part. [more inside]
"If his name was John Brown, he would have been in jail," one criminal justice official with knowledge of the case said. "If a woman says, 'He's the guy that raped me,' and you have corroborating evidence to show they were together and she went to the hospital and she can identify him, that guy goes to jail."Last week, ProPublica and the New Orleans Advocate published the results of their months-long joint investigation outlining how law enforcement officers in five states repeatedly (and sometimes deliberately) failed to apprehend former NFL star Darren Sharper as he traveled cross-country drugging and raping women: Upon Further Review.
[cw: rape, sexual assault, violent misogyny, law enforcement collusion to cover up same] [more inside]
Arms Identification With Wikipedia, Holiday Photographs, and Shoe Size Conversion Charts - from the recently launched bellin¿cat 'by and for citizen investigative journalist'. [previously] [more previously]
The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward.
"The business of recycling dead humans into medical implants is a little-known yet lucrative trade. But its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and the risks." After an eight month international investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published an extensive four-part exposé into the black market for cadavers and human tissue: Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts (Via) [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward: 40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought. [more inside]
Interactive map of international adoptions, from the superlative Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The site contains an amazing amount of information about corruption in international adoption in countries like Nepal and Vietnam.
Anthrax Redux. Wired's gripping account of the FBI's investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks.
A series of powerful, prescient and englightening essays from the author of 'The Great War for Civilisation' and award winning journalist Robert Fisk on so called 'Honour' killings from this weeks Indy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Concluding Part 5.
Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
Is there something you wish would be reported comprehensively by mainstream news media, even though they won't likely touch the topic? Try open-source reporting. From the 2006 experiment NewAssignment, professional journalists, non-profits seeking crowdfunding, and the Internet public have collaborated to do in-depth investigation and reportage of whatever people were interested in. Jay Rosen, founder of ExplainThis, the newest site in crowdsourced journalism, wants a way to answer questions that are too complicated for a Google search. Will these things deliver well-researched thoughtful analysis, or will they be no match for the Green?
The Medill School of Journalism's Washington Program revealed its Pentagon Travel project last week (multimedia). Most privately paid for travel was found to be within the bounds of federal law, but some still show a clear conflict of interest. Key findings: From 1998 through 2007, sources outside the federal government paid for more than 22,000 trips worth at least $26 million. The medical industry paid for more travel than any other outside interest — more than $10 million for some 8,700 trips, or about 40 percent of all outside sponsored travel. Among the targets: military pharmacists, doctors, and others who administer the Pentagon’s $6 billion-plus annual budget for prescription drugs. Medill acquired 10 years worth of trip data and partnered with the Center for Public Integrity to form a searchable database which includes destination, date, sponsor, sponsor nationality, cost of trip or agency.
New friendly fire coverup: Army shreds files on dead soldiers. "Hours after Salon revealed evidence that two Americans were killed by a U.S. tank, not enemy fire, military officials destroyed papers on the men."
Vanity Fair sits down with Larry Flynt --his history and hits and misses, how much he pays for scandals involving hypocritical public figures, and a new (and limp) Nixon anecdote -- and tons of other juicy tidbits, of course).
FBI questions man for reading a critique of Fox News. Marc Shultz, a freelance Atlanta writer was reading a print out of this article in a coffee shop when another patron reading over his shoulder apparently found the content seditious enough to deserve a quick call to the Feds, who sent out two agents to check it out.