Oil refinery on fire

The Refinery Disaster

PHILADELPHIA — Last May, an air monitor on the border of the East Coast’s largest oil refinery recorded a level of cancer-causing gas more than 21 times the federal limit. In June, an explosive early-morning fire rocked the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, terrifying nearby residents. Weeks after the disaster, as PES filed for bankruptcy and …

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

‘We were right’

They experienced the war in Afghanistan on the ground. Here’s what they had to say.

Dollar Tree storefront

Boxed in: Dollar Tree cited for job safety violations at dozens of stores

This story was produced by FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization based in Southern California that focuses on public health, consumer and environmental issues.  There are so many boxes at Dollar Tree stores that workers are always running out of room. The boxes form unstable piles that block aisles, reach precarious heights and, most seriously, block …

opioid pills piled up

‘Sell Baby Sell!’

A dozen years ago, the federal government came down hard on Purdue Pharma, fining the drugmaker and three of its executives a record $634 million for misbranding its blockbuster OxyContin pill as safer and less addictive than other painkillers. In the decade leading up to the 2007 fine, Purdue helped change the culture of prescribing …

MaryBeth Moore Zocco and son Ryan

Her son died of an overdose. Now she sends hundreds of cards to parents like her, hoping to ease the stigma.

MaryBeth Moore Zocco used to send her son, Ryan Moore, care packages. Last December, days before Moore, 25, died from an overdose, his mom mailed him a box with fun winter-themed items: hot chocolate ingredients, an ornament and a red plush blanket. Moore, who struggled with addiction on and off for at least seven years, …

story reporters

Conflict or not? A deep dive into the world of forms and data leads to collaboration

Do members of Congress know whether an expert testifying before them has any monetary connections to the outcome of their committee hearings? Do those testifying before them have an affiliation with a group or groups that might want to weaken oversight by an agency or strengthen ties with particular foreign governments? These were some of …

Foreign influence?

Scholars and experts are frequently called before Congress to testify, and sometimes do so without disclosing potential financial conflicts. A lack of accountability helps witnesses not disclose foreign funding as required, whether intentionally or not.

Foreign influence? How we built the database of expert testimony

Our story on truth in testimony forms used a combination of data collection, manual data-entry and and field reporting. To build our Truth in Testimony database, we wrote a computer program to automatically capture the publicly available data about who has testified before House committees, including their Truth in Testimony disclosure forms, from the U.S. …