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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.

Recent News

IRW launches interactive on antibiotic resistance

The Investigative Reporting Workshop's new multimedia project features videos from previous FRONTLINE programs that uncover the stories of dangerous superbugs and failed antibiotics. "Nightmare Bacteria: Life Without Antibiotics" is an interactive feature that allows viewers to learn about the consequences of the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and food-animal farming.  

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Coverage of arming teachers

Over that last eight years, interest in arming teachers with guns is the result of school shootings. News coverage and Google searches reflect these trends. 

'Sunshine Week' comes to DC

The Society of Professional Journalists is hosting "Sunshine Week" from March 11-17 in the District. The initiative promotes open government and the importance of journalists' access to information. You'll find highlights of the schedule here.


Most Recent Posts

Questions of environmental justice take center stage

The intersection of the First Amendment, environmental justice and racism was the focus at a recent National Geographic event, “Environmental Justice: What’s Next?” 

A NICAR newbie goes to Chicago

Data journalism is still new to me. Despite that, I decided to dive in head first and attend the recent NICAR conference in Chicago. It was one of my best experiences as a journalist so far. The conference led me to think about alternative sources for data — even for hidden communities. 

Apprehensions at U.S.-Mexico border down from 2017

The number of people apprehended or denied entry into the U.S. dropped from 2017.

Donations to nonprofit newsrooms continue to grow after 'Trump bump'

Despite his persistent claims of fake news and shoddy reporting, President Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the media has actually provided a much-needed financial boost for many nonprofit,  investigative journalism organizations across the country.

Students join WAMU reporter in long-form storytelling

WAMU reporter Patrick Madden teams up with graduate students from American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop to create long-form pieces online and on-air for WAMU FM 88.5, and other publishing and audio partners, including Reveal News and NPR.

Students help Madden research, fact-check and gather information for stories, such as the  “Assault on Justice” project in 2015, which ooked at whether police were overusing the charge of assaulting a police officer. 



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.


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.