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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.

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.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

How to cover hate

Even as hate crimes occur with more frequency, newsrooms for the most part tend to treat them as individual problems, not as systemic problems that require better follow-through and focus. 

Truth and lies in the Trump era

Trump’s presidency, and the way it is being reported in the media and perceived by the public, has led me to ask some basic questions — about my profession of journalism; the relative power of truth and lies; and the future of democratic self-government in these United States. Does truth even matter in covering this president? Are he and his proclivity for telling falsehoods the problem, or is he a symptom of a deeper affliction in our political-economic system?

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

A shortlist of fall media

The autumn news cycle boiled over like some Northwestern river amid a peak salmon run. Here are exceptional examples of storytelling I’ve spent time with in the last few weeks. They pinball and rebound between the most salient topics in media of the moment: extreme wealth, the White House and race.

FRONTLINE, IRW launch new fellowship

The PBS series FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at American University’s School of Communication announce a new journalism fellowship.

Barriers still keep disabled voters from polls

Nearly 28 years since the passing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, some polling places and voting systems still are not accessible.

New site keeps journalists' stories alive

On March 2, 2017, Cecilio Pineda, a Mexican investigative reporter, posted a video about the close tie between a drug cartel leader and a local politician on his Facebook account. Two hours later, he was murdered. Pineda’s investigation, along with ones of two other fallen journalists on drug cartels in Mexico, has been translated into nine languages by Forbidden Stories, a newly launched website, so their work can reach as many people as possible. 

Artists from oppressive regimes caution Western political complacency

Most of the West enjoys freedom of expression and media, but artists from oppressive countries warned an American audience not to take their freedom for granted at an event at the National Press Club recently. Dissidents from Russia, Syria, Iran and other countries said their fight for freedom of expression is inextricably linked to the freedom of others around the world.

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.