New stories, podcast range from health to AI

In this March 18, 2019, file photo, firefighters battle a petrochemical fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, Texas. A fire at a Houston-area petrochemical storage facility that burned for days in March was accidental and caused by equipment failure at a storage tank, according to a report released by local and federal investigators on Dec. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Journalism News Research
Share this story

Latest stories

Two-part deep-dive into a toxic cloud in Texas 
A 10-month investigation by Public Health Watch and The Texas Tribune found that many state and federal scientists documented problems at an ITC chemical-storage facility long before catastrophe struck in 2019.

The story, published April 26, details how this accident unfolded in Deer Park, a tight-knit city of 30,000. It is based on thousands of pages of state and federal documents, on investigative reports and pollution data from the EPA and on eyewitness accounts from residents. It also draws on extensive interviews with a handful of retired government regulators who tried to sound the alarm about ITC years ago and are speaking out now in the hope of preventing future disasters. IRW contributed editing and graphics support, and Grist co-published the story as well.

Part 2, which focuses on an invisible plume of benzene that settled over Deer Park and nearby towns for weeks, was published April 27.

EducationEven the ‘best’ schools have work to do 
Massachusetts is often touted as the best state for education in the country — and it has the test scores to back it up. But IRW’s Emily Seymour takes a closer look following the COVID-19 pandemic and finds that Massachusetts is no different from the many states still grappling with how to bring about more equity post-pandemic. 

Testing the pros and cons of artificial intelligence 
Ten Washington Post writers checked the reliability of Microsoft’s Bing AI by asking it 47 questions and then evaluating the chatbot’s sources. IRW’s Hayden Godfrey contributed to this report. And our own team took a deep dive into how universities are wrestling with ChatGPT, finding most are leaving its use up to individual professors.

Third of three-part podcast on COVID tracking
The third and final episode of “The COVID Tracking Project” podcast airs nationwide on April 29. This is the story of how a group of journalists, doctors, high school students, retired teachers and many others ended up providing the country with the most-trusted pandemic data. IRW’s Aarushi Sahejpal’s was one of those people.