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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.

Drug-lobby

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.

Evictions

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.

Recent News

Open data benefits many, but cost breakdown unclear

As Washington works this summer to implement its newly formed data policy and decide what’s releasable, experts say when more data sets are made available online, the result will be better access to information, better journalism and more government transparency. But the new citywide data policy shows there is no simple way for cities to budget for such initiatives. 

Reporters say Putin looking at his legacy

Two PBS NewsHour journalists with extensive experience reporting in Russia told a group on Monday that President Vladimir Putin is looking toward his legacy and how his relationship with the United States can validate it. 

Nick Schifrin and Zach Fannin visited the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting to promote July’s airing of Inside Putin’s Russia, a six-part series the pair reported.

Breaking the back of Hazelwood: a press lawyer's decade-long campaign

Frank LoMonte has become something of a guru for student press protections, having spoken on the issue in 41 states during his nine-year tenure at the Student Press Law Center. From consulting with students and coordinating legal support to traveling around the country to give workshops, the job has been a far cry from the corporate law he practiced. 

Hard to determine if vouchers work in DC

Congress dedicates $15 million a year to a program that helps low-income D.C. students pay tuition at private schools, but it’s impossible for taxpayers to find out where their money goes: The administrator of the D.C. voucher program refuses to say how many students attend each school or how many public dollars they receive. It’s also not clear how students are performing in each school. When Congress created the program in 2004, it did not require individual private schools to disclose anything about student performance. And private schools can continue receiving voucher dollars no matter how poorly their students fare.


Feds reject insurance hike for big-rigs, pleasing independent truckers, rankling safety advocate

Each year, close to 4,000 people are killed in the U.S. in crashes involving large trucks and tens of thousands more are hurt, some suffering catastrophic injuries that leave them disabled and in need of expensive lifetime care.

Yet for more than three decades, the federal minimum for truck liability insurance has remained stuck at $750,000. That amount, which must cover all victims of a crash, may be a fraction of the expenses for a single badly injured survivor. 

From Plato to Trump: Why we have ethics laws

More than 200 years ago, James Madison posed a powerful and prescient rhetorical question: “What is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?”

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Inspiring international students

IRW Executive Editor Charles Lewis urged young journalists to get excited about the profession and to hold those in power accountable this month at a two-day, international conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Future News Worldwide conference was created by the British Council— the United Kingdom’s international organization for culture and education — and held earlier this month at the Scottish Parliament.

From the Pentagon Papers to Trump: How the government gained the upper hand against leakers

The Pentagon Papers helped shape legal and ethical standards for journalistic truth-telling on matters of top secret government affairs. Openness, in the eyes of the public and the courts, would usually prevail over government secrecy, shifting power from politicians back to citizens and news organizations. That balance of power is taking on a renewed significance today in the wake of Reality Winner’s alleged recent national security leak, prosecution of members of the press and anti-press and anti-leak rhetoric by the Trump administration.

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

Sinclair exemplifies consolidation concerns in TV news

Nearly 15 years ago, the five largest television companies owned about 180 of the country’s local news channels. Now, after years of dizzying buying sprees, mergers and billions of dollars spent, those companies own more than twice that — a pattern of consolidation that worries many, both within the industry and outside of it. 

More Republicans think negatively about higher ed

For the first time since Pew began tracking it, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say colleges “have a negative effect on the country.” That’s compared to 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners who say colleges and universities have a positive impact. Whatever the cause, colleges and universities now share in a dubious distinction: as some of the most divisive national institutions. The only other institution that, according to Pew, divides Americans more? The national news media. 


What We're Reading: Inspiring investigations

Recent investigative and longform work that has inspired our IRW summer interns.

TV news audience stabilizes

In its latest set of reports on “The State of News Media,” the Pew Research Center again delivered a dose of good news to the world of televised journalism.

In 2016, “Network TV news — appointment-viewing for more than 20 million Americans — has experienced relative stability in the size of its audience over the past decade,” the nonpartisan “fact tank” reported.

‘Dropped and Dismissed’ wins Murrow Award

“Dropped and Dismissed,” an investigation into child sexual abuse co-produced by the Workshop, just won an Edward R. Murrow award for News Documentary.

Partners

Workshop Partners

We publish online and in print, often teaming up with other news organizations. We're working now on a new program with FRONTLINE producers, to air later in the year, and on the "Years of Living Dangerously," a series on climate change that has begun airing on Showtime. A story last year on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention centers was co-published with The New York Times. Our updates to our long-running BankTracker project, in which you can view the financial health of every bank and credit union in the country, have been published with msnbc.com, now nbcnews.com, and we co-published stories in our What Went Wrong series on the economy with The Philadelphia Inquirer and New America Media. Our graduate students are working as researchers with Washington Post reporters, and our new senior editor is a member of the Post's investigative team. Learn more on our partners page.

Projects

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.