Workshop Investigations

Hate in America

Aug. 16, 2018

More than 2.4 million crimes, whose victims suspect were motivated by hate, were committed across the United States between 2012 and 2016, according to a News21 analysis of the federal National Crime Victimization Survey. But those numbers are not reflected in the FBI’s national hate crime data, which counts only 30,000 hate crimes reported by local police.  


May 3, 2018

The number of deadly police shootings of unarmed people has generally declined since 2015 even as the tally of fatal shootings by law enforcement is on pace to hit nearly 1,000 for the fourth year in a row, according to data gathered by The Washington Post. Fatal shootings of unarmed black men — such as the high-profile case in March of Stephon Clark in Sacramento — are among the kinds of killings that have fallen. Criminologists said the downturn in the number of cases and their own analysis of the data indicate that evidence of racial bias by police who shoot and kill unarmed blacks has also declined but not disappeared.

Blackout in Puerto Rico

May 1, 2018

FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the humanitarian and economic crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, examining how the federal response, Wall Street and years of neglect have left the island struggling to survive. The latest program in partnership with the Investigative Reporting Workshop will be broadcast on Tuesday, May 1, with additional stories online.

Trump merchandise

April 12, 2018

The decline of the Trump merchandise empire is another sign of how politics has changed the president’s business. Some of his licensing agreements were dissolved before he ran for president, but what about the rest? The Washington Post and the Investigative Reporting Workshop tried to contact all of the remaining companies that Trump had listed as licensing partners on his 2015 financial disclosure forms and found only two companies are still paying to put Trump’s name on their products.

Sex Registries

April 4, 2018

Stewart David Smith has been on sex offender registries in Florida and Minnesota as well as the National Sex Offender Registry. After he is released from prison in Iowa, he will have to register within five days on the state’s registry. But following him through the courts shows how difficult it can be to put convicted child molesters on these lists.

Stockman and the donors

April 2, 2018

Behind the ongoing federal lawsuit against former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman is a tale of failed business schemes and gun-lobby connections that have not been reported by media covering the breaking news of the trial. Larry Pratt, the gun lobby’s "secret weapon," urged businessman Dick Uihlein to spend big against then-Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, deemed too soft on guns. So the top GOP contributor gave $450K to the candidate.

Shot and killed by police

Jan. 6, 2018

For the third year in a row, police nationwide shot and killed nearly 1,000 people, a grim annual tally that has persisted despite widespread public scrutiny of officers’ use of fatal force. And for a third consecutive year, The Post documented more than twice the number of deadly shootings by police that were recorded on average annually by the FBI.

In response to the shooting data compiled by The Post and others, the FBI in 2015 promised to start better information gathering about all police encounters that lead to deaths. This month, the agency said it will launch the new nationwide data collection system.

Still on the force

Dec. 22, 2017

Dozens of officers forced out of the New Orleans department over the past decade for misconduct who were given badges and guns by other departments, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and city employment records, police personnel files and court documents. At a time of increased scrutiny of police nationwide, the ease with which fired or forced out New Orleans officers found work at new departments underscores the broader challenge that law enforcement faces to rid itself of “bad apples.”

Fired Officers

Nov. 24, 2017

In another in an occasional series, The Washington Post and IRW explore how police chiefs are often forced to put hundreds of officers fired for misconduct back on the streets. This story looks at Gene Gibbons, who represents officers in job appeals on behalf of police unions across Florida, and who has, over the past eight years, won reinstatement for more than 22 fired officers, often returning them to work over the objections of police chiefs who say they are unfit for duty.

The Kangaroo Hunt

Nov. 21, 2017

Does hunting kangaroos for commercial use make sense? Australia’s kangaroo hunt supports a small but controversial industry of meat and leather products. The Investigative Reporting Workshop and National Geographic's Wildlife Watch co-reported and co-produced this special report.

The drug industry's triumph over the DEA

Oct. 19, 2017

Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise, a Washington Post and "60 Minutes" investigation finds.

The New Americans

Aug. 28, 2017

Though the future of the federal refugee program has been put into question under Trump, last year’s influx of new arrivals to San Diego County — the third-highest on record since 1983 — could have a lasting impact on the region’s public schools. In this special report, we look at how San Diego is educating its refugee students, including what challenges remain and what it could mean for the future of the county.

Water: how clean, how safe, how much?

Aug. 16, 2017

As many as 63 million people — nearly a fifth of the country — from rural central California to the boroughs of New York City, were exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once during the past decade, according to a News21 investigation of 680,000 water quality and monitoring violations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fired Cops

Aug. 3, 2017

Since 2006, the nation's largest police departments have fired at least 1,881 officers for misconduct that betrayed the public's trust, from cheating on overtime to unjustified shootings. But The Washington Post has found that departments have been forced to reinstate more than 450 officers after appeals required by union contracts.

Police shootings

July 1, 2017

Police nationwide shot and killed 492 people in the first six months of this year, a number nearly identical to the count for the same period in each of the prior two years.

Fatal shootings by police in 2017 have so closely tracked last year’s numbers that on June 16, the tally was the same. Although the number of unarmed people killed by police dropped slightly, the overall pace for 2017 through Friday was on track to approach 1,000 killed for a third year in row.

Charter schools

May 18, 2017

Two rural Louisiana charter schools  — one predominantly white, the other predominantly black — are under legal scrutiny for their role in promoting resegregation in school districts still under decades-old desegregation orders. Critics say the charter schools are draining district funds and making it impossible to achieve integration, while charter advocates argue that families have been failed by the status quo and deserve access to new opportunities.  As the Trump administration considers how to make good on a campaign promise to invest $2 billion in school choice, these two schools offer a glimpse at the complexity of the debate ahead.

The Housing Crisis

May 3, 2017

More working Americans are struggling to make rent than at any time since the Great Depression. In "Poverty, Politics and Profit: The Housing Crisis," a new program airing Tuesday, May 9, nationwide on PBS stations, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the crisis in affordable housing and why so few are getting the help they need.

Truth In Testimony

Jan. 30, 2017

The lack of transparency and full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest among witnesses testifying before Congress can lead to biased agendas and violations of the Truth in Testimony rule. Some nongovernment witnesses received payments for their research or are affiliated with special-interest groups — which they did not disclose — and some outside observers and lawmakers question whether foreign governments are influencing think tanks and research organizations.

School vouchers

Dec. 27, 2016

Five years after the program was established, more than half of Indiana's voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill. Many vouchers also are going to wealthier families, those earning up to $90,000 for a household of four.

The voucher program, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing, serves more than 32,000 children and provides an early glimpse of what education policy could look like in Donald Trump’s presidency.

Toy Guns

Dec. 19, 2016

Police across the country say that they are increasingly facing off against people with ultra-real-looking pellet guns, toy weapons and non-functioning replicas. Such encounters have led police to shoot and kill at least 86 people over the past two years, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings nationwide. So far this year police have fatally shot 43 people wielding the guns. In 2015, police also killed 43.


Oct. 18, 2016

When the Republican-controlled Congress approved a landmark program in 2003 to help seniors buy prescription drugs, it slapped on an unusual restriction: The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. Instead, the job of holding down costs was outsourced to the insurance companies delivering the subsidized new coverage, known as Medicare Part D

The ban on government price bargaining, justified by supporters on free market grounds, has been derided by critics as a giant gift to the drug industry. Democratic lawmakers began introducing bills to free the government to use its vast purchasing power to negotiate better deals, but all of those measures over the last 13 years have failed.


Aug. 26, 2016

D.C. tenants face eviction as "drug nuisances" even when no one is charged with a crime. During the past three years, city officials sent out about 450 nuisance-abatement letters to landlords and property owners, the vast majority aimed at ousting tenants accused of felony gun or drug crimes, including many bona fide drug dealers. But in doing so the District has also ensnared about three dozen people who were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession or faced no charges at all, a Washington Post review of the letters has found.

Voting Wars

Aug. 20, 2016

With the presidential election less than three months away, millions of Americans will be navigating new requirements for voting — if they can vote at all — as state leaders implement dozens of new restrictions that could make it more difficult to cast a ballot. Since the last presidential election in 2012, politicians in 20 states passed 37 different new voting requirements that they said were needed to prevent voter fraud, a News21 analysis found. More than a third of those changes require voters to show specified government-issued photo IDs at the polls or reduce the number of acceptable IDs required by pre-existing laws. A News21 project.

Making a Case

Aug. 11, 2016

Tennessee Watson takes us on her journey from victim to survivor to reporter, investigating her own story of sexual abuse as a young girl. She documents her decision to report her coach years after the abuse and shows us what happened when a police detective and a prosecutor took on her case.  

It’s an intensely personal story, but also one that looks at how the system handles cases like hers, and the consequences for victims of sexual abuse everywhere.  

Cuba's Media Evolution

Aug. 9, 2016

While it’s too soon to tell if a true sea change is in the works, here are seven relatively recent shifts in the Cuban mediasphere. Many of them would have seemed inconceivable just a few years ago and bear watching in the future.

Fatal Force_WP

July 8, 2016

Two years after a white police officer fatally shot a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, the pace of fatal shootings has risen slightly, while the grim encounters are increasingly being captured on video and stoking outrage. The toll for the first half of the year was nearly 500. The Washington Post has expanded the effort to track every case, and in 2016, culled media reports and filed hundreds of public-records requests to obtain the names and work histories of officers involved in fatal shootings — information that is not tracked by any federal agency.

The New Newsrooms

June 14, 2016

Nonprofit centers for investigative reporting have continued to grow outside of the United States over the past 10 years. The reporters who founded these centers followed the example of their colleagues in the U.S., where this model has thrived for the past two decades.

BankTracker: Analysis

June 9, 2016

The country lost 2,350 banks in the last eight years, but big banks grew bigger and richer, especially those in the top tier. Banks now have more assets, capital, deposits, profits, reserves and fewer losses and troubled assets than they did in 2007. But the Investigative Reporting Workshop's in-depth analysis shows every state was hit hard and lost at least one bank because of the Great Recession, with six states losing more than 100 financial institutions. The impact is still being felt, and some experts remain wary of improving financial data.

The Merger

June 1, 2016

The Pepco-Exelon merger was hotly debated because of concerns over competition, potential rate hikes and questions over commitments to green energy goals from opponents. Advocates for the deal argued Pepco needed a parent company with significant resources to improve the District's aging power grid. Pepco spent large amounts on lobbying and ads in an effort to shape public opinion, outflank opponents and give their shareholders big returns.

Business of Disaster

May 25, 2016

More than three years after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Northeast, thousands of homeowners are still struggling to return home, shortchanged by insurance companies and frustrated by bureaucratic recovery programs. The FRONTLINE-NPR joint investigation into the Sandy recovery reveals an unsustainable disaster response system that's costing taxpayers billions and failing to prepare increasingly vulnerable communities for the storms that lie ahead. 

Fatal Force

April 1, 2016

Of the 990 people shot and killed by police last year, the names of officers in 210 of those cases were not released, according to a Washington Post investigation. Experts say there is little consensus among departments on whether officers' names should be made public.

Probable Cause

March 5, 2016

The language of warrants gives police officers broad leeway to search for drugs and guns in areas saturated by them and to seize phones, computers and personal records. But what happens when they search the wrong house? A Washington Post analysis found officers sometimes acted on incorrect or outdated address information, subjecting people to the fright of their lives.

Uneven Justice

Oct. 27, 2015

Society is loath to convict cops who kill, so civil court is often the best place for victims' families to get results. But there, some get millions, and some get nothing.

Living Loud

Oct. 13, 2015

The murder of Farkhunda Malikzada, a religious scholar, in March was another example of how dangerous it is to be an Afghan woman who participates in political and social arenas. But despite the risks, including constant threats and violence, many women are living untraditional lives openly.

Coal Trial

Sept. 30, 2015

The long-awaited prosecution of Massey's former CEO, Don Blankenship, begins Oct. 1 with jury selection. He is charged with conspiracy to violate mine safety standards and mislead government inspectors before the explosion, and with lying to securities regulators about Massey's safety practices and policies after the disaster.

“We’ve never seen anybody charged of any consequence,” said former federal mine safety chief Davitt McAteer, who led an independent investigation of Upper Big Branch mine. “That alone is just a very dramatic shift.”

Lily Pads

Aug. 25, 2015

Even though the U.S. military has fewer bases than it did at the end of the Cold War, it has increasingly inserted itself into new corners of the globe with the help of small, often secretive “lily pad” bases; today, there are bases in around 80 countries and U.S. territories — roughly twice as many as in 1989. 

The Trouble With Chicken

May 12, 2015

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our poultry — and why the food-safety system isn't stopping the threat.

Assault on Justice

May 9, 2015

People can be arrested, charged and convicted for assaulting a police officer in the District of Columbia even when no physical violence occurs. We analyzed almost 2,000 court cases from 2012-2014 and found about 90 percent of those charged with assaulting a police officer were black and nearly two-thirds of people arrested for assaulting an officer weren’t charged with any other crimes. Some defense attorneys see troubling indicators in these numbers, alleging that the law is being used as a tactic to cover up police abuse and civil-rights violations.

Shaken Science

March 21, 2015

In a year-long study, The Washington Post used court records and news media accounts to track the dispositions of about 1,800 cases nationwide since 2001 that reportedly involved shaking, finding some of the heaviest concentrations in counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The study for the first time identified about 200 cases in 47 states that ended when charges were dropped or dismissed, defendants were found not guilty or convictions were overturned.

Dashed Dreams

Jan. 25, 2015

This three-part series looks at the plight of the black middle class, particularly in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county. 

Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?

USAID's Watchdog

Oct. 23, 2014

The inspector general’s office removed many critical findings and had increasingly become a defender of the agency under the acting inspector general, employees said. The USAID inspector general is responsible for ensuring that the billions of dollars the agency devotes to foreign assistance programs each year are spent wisely. The agency hires nongovernmental organizations and private contractors to carry out its projects, which include improving medical facilities, stabilizing economies and rebuilding war-wrecked nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dollars and Deals

Oct. 14, 2014

WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University examined more than a thousand contracts — worth an estimated $10 billion — that went to the D.C. Council for approval from January 2007 to January 2014.

From simple grass-cutting jobs to complicated D.C. Lottery services worth tens of millions of dollars, Council members have the final say over lucrative contracts. WAMU and the Workshop identified more than $5 million in political contributions from more than 300 firms with Council-approved contracts from 2005 to 2014. Roughly half of the contractors’ campaign cash was donated to lawmakers within a year of their contracts getting approved. The money was a crucial source of fundraising as well: Roughly one-fifth of Council members’ campaign contributions analyzed by WAMU came from firms seeking their approval for city contracts.

Contributions were often made months and weeks ahead of when the contracts were voted on; in some cases, the campaign checks were dated the same day a firm’s lucrative contract was sent to the Council for approval.

The Trouble with Antibiotics

Oct. 8, 2014

FRONTLINE investigates whether the widespread use of antibiotics in food animals is fueling the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in people. Also in this new one-hour program airing next week: An exclusive interview with the family of a young man who died in a nightmare bacteria outbreak at the National Institutes of Health. 

Stop and Seize

Sept. 8, 2014

The federal government and private police trainers have been encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11.  To examine the scope of asset forfeiture since the terror attacks, The Washington Post analyzed a database of hundreds of thousands of seizure records at the Justice Department, reviewed hundreds of federal court cases, obtained internal records from training firms and interviewed scores of police officers, prosecutors and motorists. The Posts found tens of thousands of cash seizures totaling more than $2.5 billion from people who were not charged with a crime. 

Gun Wars

Aug. 17, 2014

The federal government's National Instant Criminal Background Check System fails to keep guns from the mentally ill. The White House describes the background check system, also known as NICS, as its “most important tool” to stopping gun crime. But more than a decade of data from the FBI and public health research reveals broad failings of the system, which has cost at least $650 million to maintain, a News21 investigation found.


June 30, 2014

Non-disclosure agreements at some nonprofits and defense contractors contain restrictions that prevent employees from reporting fraud, even to the government, which appears to violate the federal whistleblower law.

If Truth Be Told

May 30, 2014

The proliferation of new technologies may compromise the integrity of the newsgathering business, as web-crawling machines analyze large numbers of vast datasets and human decision-making gives way to automated algorithms that spit out “investigative” reports; at the same time, however, such technological developments offer journalists the sort of possibilities that may dramatically enhance their storytelling capabilities.

District's bus drivers rack up violations

May 25, 2014

Traffic cameras in the District have caught city school bus drivers speeding and running red lights hundreds of times in recent years, and — unlike most drivers in Washington — they haven’t had to pay the tickets, according to city records. Officials haven't had policies in place to discipline offenders, who are transporting children with disabilities throughout the city and, in some cases, as far away as Annapolis. There were 830 school bus crashes between May 2010 and May 2013, with about one in every nine leading to injuries, crash reports show. Most accidents were minor, but at least 40 children were hospitalized.  

Humanitarian Aid

May 4, 2014

The story of International Relief and Development reflects the course of America’s ambitions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which started with great enthusiasm and consumed tremendous resources, only to see many hopes go awry. Nation-building projects aimed at supplanting insurgents and securing the peace that looked promising on paper in Washington proved to be difficult to execute in dangerous and unpredictable war zones.

In Baghdad and Kabul, companies such as IRD were left to manage hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-funded programs with little meaningful oversight from USAID, according to interviews with government auditors and former IRD employees familiar with the projects.

Years of Living Dangerously

April 14, 2014

"Years of Living Dangerously," a new documentary series that explores how climate change is altering people's lives across the globe, has begun airing on Showtime. Each story features a Hollywood star or respected journalist as a correspondent. Workshop Senior Producer Margaret Ebrahim spent 15 months crisscrossing the country to report the impact of climate change, focusing on stories about the production of natural gas and also on renewable energy. The Workshop's site features additional stories, videos and an interactive drought graphic as well as program information.  

Bank Tracker: 2013 profits hit new level

March 7, 2014

The nation’s banks have recovered strongly from the financial crisis, and the results for 2013 provide even more evidence: Profits for the year hit $154.7 billion, according to reports filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That's the highest level ever. And only 24 banks failed last year, the fewest since 2007.

Revolving doors

Dec. 11, 2013

In the “reverse revolving door,” key players outside of government, often in heavily regulated industries, leave their high-paying corporate lobbying jobs for the public sector, where they take staff jobs on Senate and House committees. But can someone shift his or her outlook from protecting business interests to protecting the nation’s interest? 

Bank Tracker

Dec. 10, 2013

Solid loan growth and continued low interest rates have helped the nation’s 6,600 credit unions rebuild from the 2008-09 financial crisis, according to new data from the National Credit Union Administration.

But there might be storm clouds on the horizon. NCUA Chair Debbie Matz warned recently that the prospect of higher interest rates could cut into credit union profits. 

Economic impact ripples

Dec. 4, 2013

Lawyers often see the criminal and civil courts as two separate entities, but for people caught up in the legal system, the problems often bleed from one arena into the other. Having a bad lawyer, or an overwhelmed one, can result in a felony conviction rather than a misdemeanor, or a plea deal rather than a trial. Those missed opportunities can have economic and social ripple effects that last beyond any prison sentence.

Bank Tracker: Five-Year Review

Oct. 29, 2013

By most accounts TARP achieved its primary purpose: To help bring about stability in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But the program has been called is "one of the most hated, misunderstood and effective policies in modern economic history."

Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria

Oct. 21, 2013

"Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria," a FRONTLINE program co-produced with the Investigative Reporting Workshop, looks at whether the age of antibiotics is coming to an end. From a young girl thrust onto life support in Arizona to an uncontrollable outbreak at one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals, FRONTLINE investigates the alarming rise of a deadly type of bacteria that our modern antibiotics can’t stop. You can watch the full video, learn more about the global spread of superbugs and read about the making of the film. 

What Went Wrong: The Betrayal of the American Dream

Oct. 17, 2013

Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele's 2012 book, "The Betrayal of the American Dream," chronicles how four decades of public policy shaped America's ongoing economic crisis. The New York Times bestseller, researched in part by Workshop staffers, will be released in paperback Oct. 22. The paperback edition includes the authors' new afterword, which takes a critical look at economic recovery in the United States and its impact on the middle class.

BankTracker: Smaller banks rebound more slowly

Sept. 13, 2013

The latest data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows that the nation’s banks continue to recover from the financial crisis, reporting stronger earnings and increasing loan volume.

But an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop shows that for the vast majority of banks — those with less than $1 billion in assets — profits are harder to come by as they continue to try to work their way through a disproportionate amount of troubled loans and foreclosed property.

Obama's Drones

Aug. 2, 2013

Within the world of money and politics, Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon stands out. Not only is he the top recipient of contributions from manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, but he is also Capitol Hill’s most vocal supporter of the industry and has close ties with lobbyists and contractors. And if McKeon has his way, drones will soon populate the skies over this country.

Courts redefining crime and punishment

July 30, 2013

There is growing recognition that the current system of impossible caseloads, over-criminalized rule books and overflowing prisons is incredibly expensive, unsustainable — and avoidable. Legislatures and advocates are exploring how to shift some acts from criminal offenses to ticket-able ones. Organizers are teaming up with public defenders, bringing people power where money is short. And lawyers are trying to address the issues that led people into the justice system in the first place.

Nanotechnology: Harmful or Benign?

July 24, 2013

Although questions abound about the impact of nanoparticles on the environment and the human body, such particles have ushered in breakthroughs in medicine, agriculture and electronics, fueling a huge industry. Nanomaterials are now either produced or used by many of the nation’s largest businesses in toys, textiles, sunscreens, computer screens and tennis rackets. The industries say don't regulate us, but the EPA continues to study the issue.

The Koch Club

July 1, 2013

Koch foundations gave more than $41 million to 89 nonprofits from 2007-2011, part of a wide effort at funding organizations with public policy, education and political interests that align with those of Koch Industries, run by Charles and David Koch. The Investigative Reporting Workshop examined Internal Revenue Service documents for a closer look at Koch giving, which also includes millions to the arts, medicine and colleges across the country, as well as continued support of a "No Climate Tax Pledge."

The Hole

March 24, 2013

On any given day, there are about 300 immigrants in solitary confinement in some of the most populous detention centers overseen by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Conditions vary, but according to interviews with detainees and lawyers, segregated detainees are routinely kept alone for 22 to 23 hours a day in windowless, 6-by-13 cells. These immigrants are civil, not criminal, detainees, but new data obtained by the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Investigative Reporting Workshop show how punitive immigration enforcement has become. Trauma experts say the psychological impact may be more acute for detainees as many of them are victims of human trafficking or domestic violence or have survived persecution in their countries of origin.


BankTracker: Reshaped banking industry emerges from crisis

March 18, 2013

The banking industry has emerged shaken but in some senses thriving. Last year was the second most profitable ever for the nation’s banks, according to reports filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., but it is unmistakably true that the industry is fundamentally different today than it was five years ago.


Dec. 26, 2012

Workers at Momentive Performance Materials have what thousands of unemployed Americans want most: jobs that pay a decent wage. And not just any jobs, union jobs, in manufacturing. But in the years since a private equity firm took over the chemical company, workers have seen contract fights, safety problems and slashed wages. This is the new face of stability in the American workplace. 


Toxic Influence

Dec. 21, 2012

A landmark Environmental Protection Agency report concluding that children exposed to toxic substances can develop learning disabilities, asthma and other health problems has been sidetracked indefinitely amid fierce opposition from the chemical industry. Public health officials view it as a source of one-stop shopping for the best information on what children and women of childbearing age are exposed to, how much of it remains in their bodies and what the health effects might be. 

BankTracker: More money, fewer banks

Dec. 20, 2012

The nation’s banks turned in another strong performance in the third quarter, continuing the steady recovery from the financial crisis that gripped the nation four years ago, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Big Sky, Big Money

Oct. 29, 2012

"Big Sky, Big Money," which airs Oct. 30 on PBS FRONTLINE, chronicles how boxes of records turned over to Montana authorities show that a top person from Western Tradition Partnership interacted with candidates and helped shape their election efforts, possibly violating laws that bar coordination between campaigns and outside groups. The documentary and a series of stories on campaign finance examine how things have changed in Montana — and across the country — since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United two years ago.

The Digital Campaign

Oct. 26, 2012

If candidates can make political messages feel like personal conversations, then they may win more votes. So they are turning more and more to Big Data to find out about individual voters before they go knocking on doors. Here's a look at how both Republicans and the Democrats are analyzing voters — and then tailoring their pitches.


Oct. 24, 2012

If the Congress and the White House can't find a way to avoid tax increases and large budget cuts -- the so-called "fiscal cliff" -- state budgets also could take a big hit.

Wasted Places: America's Brownfields

Sept. 19, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of former industrial and commercial sites around the nation can't be redeveloped without extensive environmental cleanup. But the Investigative News Network finds that a federal program designed to help get rid of toxic chemicals and other pollutants is plagued by a shortage of funds and bureaucratic problems.

BankTracker: Lending, profits growing

Sept. 11, 2012

The nation’s banks continued to recover in the second quarter, as the volume of troubled assets on their books dropped to the lowest level in three years, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Banks earned $34.5 billion, below the $35.3 billion reported for the first quarter of this year but above the $28.8 billion recorded in the second quarter of 2011.

See how your bank is doing by searching for a bank or a credit union.

Passing Thoreau

Sept. 4, 2012

After a string of suicides two years ago, money and additional resources poured into tiny Thoreau, N.M., where economies, cultures and destinies bump into each other, where a Navajo teen can lose hope and a sense of identity. The crisis is no more, but the town still sits on a ragged edge.

Who can vote?

Aug. 30, 2012

News21 students from around the nation investigate claims of voter fraud and attempts to require voters to identify themselves at polling places.

Restoring the American Dream

Aug. 19, 2012

What will it take to fix the nation's economic problems? Co-authors Barlett and Steele offer solutions, including limiting subsidized imports and insisting that foreign nations lower their barriers to U.S. goods.

End of Retirement

Aug. 12, 2012

Pensions were once an integral part of the American dream, a pledge by corporations to their employees: For your decades of work, you can count on retirement benefits. Not everyone had a pension, but from the 1950s to the 1980s, the number of workers who did rose steadily — until 1985. Since then, more and more companies have walked away from pensions. Before today's workers reach retirement age, decisions by Congress favoring moneyed interests will drive millions of older Americans — most of them women — into poverty and push millions more to the brink. 

Toxic Taps

Aug. 8, 2012

Millions of Americans may be drinking water that is contaminated with dangerous doses of lead. The Environmental Protection Agency knows it; state governments know it; local utilities know it. The only people who usually don’t know it are those who are actually drinking the toxic water.

The problem stems from a common practice in which water utilities replace sections of deteriorating lead service lines rather than the entire lines, commonly known as partial pipe replacements. It is a course of action that can do more harm than good.


Phantom Jobs

Aug. 4, 2012

America essentially invented outsourcing, but few outside the corporate world realized how rapidly it would devastate employment across the middle class, as imports quickly overwhelmed exports, and workers in industry after industry were sacrificed on the altar of unrestricted free trade.

Assault on the Middle Class

July 29, 2012

"The Betrayal of the American Dream" is the story of how people in power have put in place policies that have enriched themselves while cutting the ground out from underneath America’s greatest asset — its middle class. In this, the first of three excerpts from their new book, Don Barlett and Jim Steele show how 40 years of public policy and Wall Street practices have hurt working Americans.

Economic Indicators

June 19, 2012

The economic story of the past 40 years — wage stagnation, increased poverty rates, rising consumer debt — stands in sharp contrast to earlier periods in American history, when an expanding economy brought broader prosperity and created a large and dynamic middle class. The charts show the complexity of the economic picture. 

Re-manufacturing America

June 14, 2012

A new study of manufacturing employment by the Investigative Reporting Workshop shows that factory jobs declined by nearly half since the peak in 1979, when there were 21 million manufacturing workers. But we also found that manufacturing employment grew in some states west of the Mississippi. And communities such as York, Pa., still see manufacturing as integral.

Investigating Power

April 25, 2012

Since 1950, independent journalists have fearlessly reported abuses of power, such as the anti-Communist demagoguery of Sen. Joseph McCarthy; the institutionalized racism and injustice in the South; and the gross misrepresentations and civilian atrocities committed by the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. Our new website,, highlights historical moments in the reporting of those landmark stories through video interviews, timelines and biographies of key journalists. 

Connected: Rural, poor areas lag in broadband

March 23, 2012

The digital divide is more about economics than access, with people in poor states, particularly in the South, lagging behind the rest of the nation when it comes to broadband subscribership, according to an Investigative Reporting Workshop analysis of federal data. See where your state and city rank using our interactive maps and tables, and read about programs that offer potential solutions set to take effect later this year.

BankTracker: 2011 best in 5 years

March 8, 2012

The nation’s banks and credit unions had their best year since 2006, as a slowly recovering economy led to modest loan growth and lower levels of nonperforming loans.

Commercial banks made $119.5 billion in net income in 2011, the most since 2006, when they earned $145.2 billion. Credit unions earned $6.4 billion, the most ever.

Uneven dream

March 6, 2012

The economic crisis has shifted the nation’s focus to job creation but within the African-American community, a 40-year crisis of economic insecurity and dreams deferred exists with solutions that are just as unclear.

Lost in Detention

Feb. 2, 2012

The government has agreed to launch an investigation into sexual abuse at immigration detention centers. At the same time, the adminstration is weighing whether it will include immigrant detainees in regulations on prison-rape prevention, which are set to go into effect early this year. 

American Dream

Jan. 26, 2012

Many still hope to attain the American Dream, whether the term means economic success, opportunity or freedom. But a group of Baltimore-area residents said some of their dreams have had to change or even be put on hold in these uncertain times.

Elder care: Labor fights heat up

Jan. 25, 2012

Elder care and home health care are rare bright spots in the American economy, adding jobs at a steady clip. But as the workforce grows, so, too, fights focus on unionization, wages and benefits. 

Memories of another era

Dec. 24, 2011

Some call this moment the Great Recession. As the hardship has lingered, others have begun calling it the Little Depression. But equating the hard times of the 1930s with the hard times of today is mostly overblown rhetoric. Or is it?

BankTracker: Loans to small businesses down

Dec. 16, 2011

Loans to businesses of $1 million or less have been shrinking consistently since June 2008 and are now at their lowest point in 10 years. Read this story and more in our ongoing series. And see how your bank is doing by searching for a bank or a credit union.

A second look: The new Journalism Ecosystem

Nov. 30, 2011

The recent momentum of the new nonprofit journalism phenomenon is continuing despite the difficult U.S. economy, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop iLab. Most of the funding for these new journalistic nonprofits comes from philanthropic foundations and individuals. A year after publishing our initial “new journalism ecosystem” story, searchable database and national map, we have revisited each of the original 60 nonprofit news publishers profiled, and we have included 15 additional journalistic nonprofits, most of them recently created organizations.

As Apple grew, American workers left behind

Nov. 19, 2011

Apple is one of America's greatest success stories, built on innovative products and the marketing acumen of a legendary founder. But it also is emblematic of another, darker reality: Almost all its manufacturing is done overseas, and left in the wake of Apple's shifting of work to China are thousands of American workers.

Lost in Detention

Nov. 18, 2011

Today there are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  How we deal with this situation as a nation, founded by undocumented immigrants, is complex. The Investigative Reporting Workshop thought this territory was perfect for our brand of in-depth reporting and storytelling. We teamed with FRONTLINE to produce a new documentary, and have continued to update our coverage. 

Redefining poverty

Nov. 7, 2011

Taking into account numerous supplemental measures, new poverty data paint a more complex and nuanced picture of who is struggling. The upshot: More seniors and fewer children are considered poor than in the "official" measure.

American Steal

Oct. 15, 2011

With millions of Americans unemployed, the reconstruction of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is well-timed to create much-needed jobs. And it has. Only the jobs are in China. Will the outsourcing of this $12 billion project deliver a death blow to the American steel industry?

Promise of green jobs falls short for many

Oct. 11, 2011

Training for green industries doesn't necessarily result in job offers, particularly for those hoping to break into entry-level positions such as wind techs, despite the administration's push. Casey McDonald and his fiancee, Jade Mooneyhan, don't need to see statistics to know that the political promises do not always equal economic reality.

Unemployment by the numbers

Oct. 10, 2011

New numbers give a fuller picture of the unemployed, and how particularly difficult it has been for young people, people of color and women to find work.

Voices of the unemployed

Sept. 19, 2011

Those looking for work and those who counsel them talk about their stress and frustration with the employment picture in this economy. In this package, you'll see video interviews from a recent job fair and learn more about programs that are trying to help those who have been looking for jobs for months.

Jobs don't mean end of struggle for working poor

Sept. 14, 2011

From the president to Congress to nearly every neighborhood in America, the focus today is on job creation. But for millions of Americans, just having a job doesn’t mean prosperity or anything like it.

Foreclosures: Housing counselors under siege

Aug. 5, 2011

Funding for housing counselors has been cut and more cuts to assistance programs for those who need help with foreclosures or even first-time home purchases take effect in October.

Crisis in the courts: Legal aid reeling from proposed budget cuts

July 12, 2011

Legal assistance for the poor will take a huge hit under a proposal just released by the House Appropriations Committee, which aims to slash funding for Legal Services Corporation by $104 million, rewinding the program’s budget back to 1999 levels.

Culture, income, location affect broadband adoption in Washington region

July 7, 2011

Our study of the Washington metro area shows that the “digital divide” is less about access to broadband and more about affordability. The analysis shows that broadband adoption is greater in the close-in suburbs than in areas farthest from the belway, though there are some exceptions.


Lost Jobs: Why fixing the trade deficit matters most

June 18, 2011

Congress is wrought up over the wrong deficit. The real deficit issue that has been out of control for 35 years is the trade deficit, which has blocked the creation of new jobs, triggered pay cuts for those who still have jobs and generally lowered the standard of living for many.

What Went Wrong: Taxes

April 20, 2011

One of the more egregious falsehoods being peddled by the corporate tax cutters is that companies doing business in the United States are taxed at an exorbitant rate. Not so. While the United States has one of the highest statutory rates on the books at 35 percent, the only fair way to measure what companies actually pay is their effective rate after deductions, credits and assorted writeoffs. By that yardstick, companies in the United States consistently pay taxes at rates lower than corporations in Japan and many nations in Europe.

Flying Cheaper

April 19, 2011

Sixteen US Airways pilots and flight attendants have filed a lawsuit against ST Aerospace Mobile, alleging the contract maintenance company conducted improper maintenance that led to employee illnesses. ST Mobile was one of the focuses of Flying Cheaper, a PBS FRONTLINE and Investigative Reporting Workshop co-production that looked at airline maintenance issues. The program was re-broadcast on April 19 and can be seen here.

Crisis in civil courts

Feb. 14, 2011

Poor people have fewer legal resources than ever despite battling foreclosures and seeking bankruptcy protection in tight economic times. Traditionally, people with little money could turn to the Legal Services Corporation, the federally mandated nonprofit that supports free legal-aid programs. But over the past few years, a perfect storm of conservative pushback, stagnant budgets and recessionary demand for legal services has left those who can least afford it fending for themselves.


Feb. 3, 2011

The movement of guns from the United States into Mexico actually begins in Europe, with a gun supplier in Romania that sells to a company in Vermont. We examine how AK47s are remade and resold and can now be traced to crime in Mexico. This is an ongoing report in a new partnership between the Investigative Reporting Workshop, PBS FRONTLINE, the Center for Public Integrity, the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism and InSight, a website co-sponsored by American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies.

The Comcast-NBC merger: What it means for Internet TV

Jan. 4, 2011

Those in the know say you don’t need a television to watch TV anymore. All you need is an Internet connection and a screen.

Missed last night’s episode of 30 Rock? No worries. Log on to Hulu and watch it on your laptop. Once you’ve done that, it’s just a small step to drop your cable or satellite subscription and save a bunch of money, right?

Not so fast. Watching your fill of free TV online isn’t so easy, especially if you want to see this week’s episode of Glee at the same time as your cable-connected friends or view special events like the Super Bowl.

Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy

Dec. 9, 2010

Top Democratic fundraisers and lobbyists with links to the White House are behind a proposed wind farm in Texas that stands to get $450 million in stimulus money, even though a Chinese company would operate the farm and its turbines would be built in China.

The Coal Truth

Nov. 23, 2010

No U.S. coal company had a worse safety violation and fatality record than Massey Energy Co., even before an explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 on April 5, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The X-ray factor

Sept. 29, 2010

At a time when Americans are exposed to more medical radiation than ever, the patchwork regulation of technicians who perform imaging exams may be putting patients at risk. There is no national minimum standard for technicians’ training or competency or for the inspection of the medical X-ray machines they operate.


May 21, 2010

The Workshop and the D.C. Open Government Coalition analyze the District's shortcomings in complying with FOIA. See the audits by agency or by category.

Flying Cheap

Feb. 9, 2010

The crash of Continental 3407 a year ago just outside Buffalo has cast new light on the increasing importance of regional airlines and their relationships with their bigger and better-known major partners.  FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop explore those relationships in "Flying Cheap." See major crashes, or air traffic and crashes by airport or by airline.

Nuclear Energy’s Lobbying Push

Jan. 24, 2010

With the help of some new-found friends and a $600 million lobbying effort, the nuclear energy industry is on the brink of getting federal financial support to build reactors to generate elecricity. Already, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is swamped by a tsunami of applications, even though old issues such as safety and waste disposal still haven't been solved.

Electronic Medical Records Market Fueled by Stimulus

Nov. 5, 2009

The government’s $45 billion plan to jump-start a national shift to electronic medical records has touched off a gold rush among scores of technology firms – even as many experts question whether the benefits of the products are being oversold.

The DeParle Portfolio

July 2, 2009

Nancy Ann DeParle, who heads the White House Office on Health Reform, served as a director of corporations that faced scores of federal investigations, whistleblower lawsuits and other regulatory actions, according to government records reviewed by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

DeParle, who ran the Medicare program in the last years of the Clinton administration made more than $6.6 million in directors' fees and stock transactions between 2001 and March of this year, Securities and Exchange Commission filings revealed.

Thyroid cancer report

May 4, 2009

Thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing type of cancer in the nation, and medical researchers don't know why. The increase comes as the rates for most cancers have been declining.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Opposition continues to challenge the election in Cambodia

Cambodian news organizations began to feel the pressure last fall as Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power for more than 30 years, began to dismantle, restrict or outlaw freedom of expression on air, in print and online in what has been described as the death-knell for democracy in Cambodia. In late July, Hun Sen won re-election by a landslide. But Monovithya Kem, daughter of the imprisoned opposition leader, says she is not giving up her opposition to Hun Sen. 

Cambodian government continues to clamp down on press freedoms

Cambodian voters head to their local polling places to cast votes for prime minister on July 29. There are a dizzying number of parties to choose from; one report counted 20 so far — all part of a façade of a free and fair election. 


Most Recent Posts

Many Facebook users unaware of how to control their newsfeeds, adjust privacy settings

A new Pew Research Center survey finds younger adults more privacy-conscious, and older ones less aware of the control they have of their newsfeeds on Facebook. Many were aware of the Cambridge Analytica data breach.

30,000 across from White House demand 'families belong together'

The Trump administration missed the first of two deadlines to reunite children separated from their parents. The action came after public backlash mounted, and a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border within 30 days. More than 30,000 people rallied in Washington on June 30 to demand the Trump administration reunite families immediately.

Newspaper circulation plummets — again

Newspaper circulation plummeted again last year, following the trend of decreased distribution since the early 2000s, according to a new Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.

What we're reading: recent investigations from across the country

Latest investigations tackle immigration, crime and American's youth

Banks post record profits, but new bill may threaten community lenders

The U.S. banking industry reported record profits of $56 billion in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of more than 27 percent over the same time last year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


Workshop Partners

We publish online and in print, teaming up with other news organizations. We recently aired "Blackout in Puerto Rico," a co-production of FRONTLINE, NPR and the Workshop. We also recently produced an IRW Interactive, "Nightmare Bacteria: Life Without Antibiotics," a compilation of several programs on antibiotic-resistance done with the FRONTLINE team based at the Workshop and the School of Communication.

Our graduate students are working as researchers and reporters with The Washington Post's investigative team. We recently published stories with the Post on Trump merchandise, police shootings and fired officers.

Over the years, we have teamed with msnbc and later NBC News online to produce our BankTracker series and stories on the economy. We also co-produced the first season of "Years of Living Dangerously," a documentary series and Emmy Award-winning program that aired on Showtime. Learn more on our partners page.


Investigating Power update

Investigating Power update

Profiles of notable journalists and their stories of key moments in U.S. history in the last 50 years can be found on the Investigating Power site. See Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis' latest video interviews as well as historic footage and timelines. You can also read more about the project and why we documented these groundbreaking examples of original, investigative journalism that helped shape or change public perceptions on key issues of our time, from civil rights to Iraq, here.