A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases

Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia, and Tim Evans, A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases. IndyStar, 4 August 2016. “USA Gymnastics has failed to report to police many allegations of sexual misconduct by coaches. That allowed predatory coaches to continue working with children for years after the organization was warned.”

[Read more…]

Private schools, painful secrets

Jenn Abelson, Bella English, Jonathan Saltzman, and Todd Wallack, with editors Scott Allen and Amanda Katz, Private schools, painful secrets. The Boston Globe, 6 May 2016. “More than 200 victims. At least 90 legal claims. At least 67 private schools in New England. This is the story of hundreds of students sexually abused by staffers, and emerging from decades of silence today.”

[Read more…]

The List: Juveniles and the Sex Offender Registry

Sarah Stillman, The List. The New Yorker, 14 March 2016. “When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence.” When juveniles are charged with and found guilty of sexual misconduct, should they be on the registry of sex-offenders for decades?

[Read more…]

Missing and Murdered: The Trafficked (in Canada)

Tavia Grant, Missing and Murdered: The Trafficked. The Globe and Mail, 10 February 2016. “Indigenous women and girls are being exploited by gangs and other predators with little being done to stop it. Missing and Murdered: The Trafficked: The story behind our investigation into the exploitation of indigenous women and girls, by Tavia Grant, 10 February 2016: “The Trafficked project sprang from an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation into missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. In the course of that reporting, the issue of human trafficking surfaced as a factor that puts some aboriginal women at even greater risk of disappearing or being killed. The Globe and Mail spent three months investigating the subject, dedicating one reporter full-time to delve into who the victims are, how the crime is committed, what the long-term impact is and how the federal government has responded.”

[Read more…]

Baby Doe: Why Can’t We Stop Child Abuse?

Jill Lepore, Baby Doe: Why Can’t We Stop Child Abuse? The New Yorker, 1 February 2016. “Last June [2015], a woman walking her dog on Deer Island, in Boston Harbor, came across a black plastic garbage bag on the beach. Inside was a very little girl, dead. The woman called for help and collapsed in tears. Police searched the island; divers searched the water; a medical examiner collected the body. The little girl had dark eyes and pale skin and long brown hair. She weighed thirty pounds. She was wearing white-and-black polka-dot pants. She was wrapped in a zebra-striped fleece blanket. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that no child matching her description had been reported missing. “Someone has to know who this child is,” an official there said. But for a very long time no one did.”

[Read more…]

How Did the Flint Water Crisis Happen?

Cynthia Gordy, How Did the Flint Water Crisis Happen? ProPublica, 25 January 2016. “The water crisis in Flint, Michigan – in which the city’s drinking water became contaminated with lead, bacteria and other pollutants – has come to national attention in recent weeks. President Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, freeing up $5 million in federal aid, but Flint’s water problems have been unfolding for almost two years. Ron Fonger, reporter for The Flint Journal and MLive, has been writing about the water contamination since 2014, when the city began using the Flint River as its water source. From covering city council meetings and town hall forums, where almost immediately residents complained about discolored, tainted water, he has had a front-row seat to the crisis. On this week’s podcast, Fonger speaks with ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg about what caused the problem, who dropped the ball, and what happens next.”

Other resources:

Anna Clark, How an investigative journalist helped prove a city was being poisoned with its own water. Columbia Journalism Review, 3 November 2015. “It was not a typical evening of reporting. In early September [2015], Curt Guyette was knocking on unfamiliar doors in Flint, Michigan—not to ask for interviews, but to ask residents to test their water for lead. Local activists were doing the same thing on sidewalks nearby, and in other parts of town. The task: Muster tests from as many ZIP Codes as possible to give a complete picture of what, exactly, was flowing out of the taps in Flint.”

[Read more…]

Failure Factories: Five elementary schools in Pinellas County, Florida

Cara Fitzpatrick, Lisa Gartner and Michael LaForgia, Failure Factories. Tampa Bay Times, 14 August 2015. Five-part series. “How the Pinellas County School Board neglected five schools until they became the worst in Florida. First they abandoned integration. Then they failed to send help. Now, five once-decent schools in St. Petersburg are among the very worst in the state.”

Winner of the 2015 IRE [Investigative Reporters & Editors] Medal for Investigative Journalism. “Judges’ comments: With its deep reporting, clear writing and detailed data analysis, the Tampa Bay Times shamed and embarrassed Pinellas County school leaders for completely failing black children in the district. This story is the epitome of why desegregation was ordered in 1954 – to level the educational playing field for black children. In a few short years after the Pinellas district abandoned integration, its schools again became havens for the haves and have nots. One expert said what school leaders did was nothing short of ‘educational malpractice.’ Unqualified teachers churned through the schools, leaving in their wake students who couldn’t read or write. The schools became dangerous battlegrounds for bullies and sexually-aggressive children. One young girl, so traumatized by daily life at a place that is supposed to be safe, lay down in the road, hoping to be run over by a car. Reforms are now underway because of the impressive commitment by the newspaper to right an alarming wrong.”

Winner of the 2015 George Polk Award for Education Reporting. “… a deeply researched series that traced the decline of black student achievement in Pinellas County to a 2007 school board rezoning decision that effectively re-segregated five schools. After spending 18 months analyzing data on black student performance and behavior, interviewing hundreds of students and teachers from the affected schools and gathering documents from the 20 largest school systems in Florida, Times reporters demonstrated that black students had the least qualified teachers, attended school on the most violent campuses and were far more likely to be suspended for minor infractions. After the series ran U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan flew to St. Petersburg to meet with black families, accusing the district of ‘education malpractice.’ ”

Winner of the 2015 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism.

[Read more…]

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Honoring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future

Honoring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 31 May 2015. “For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as ‘cultural genocide.'”

[Read more…]

Where Are the Children? For extortionists, undocumented migrants have become big business

Sarah Stillman, Where Are the Children? For extortionists, undocumented migrants have become big business. The New Yorker, 27 April 2015. “Tougher border security has made migrants [from Central America] more vulnerable. Routes are more perilous, and organized crime controls many smuggling operations. One activist says, ‘The harder you make it to cross, the more people can charge, the more dangerous the trip becomes.'”

[Read more…]

Innocents Lost: Preserving Families But Losing Children in Florida

Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch, Preserving Families But Losing Children. Miami Herald, 16 March 2014. 12-part series. “After Florida cut down on protections for children in troubled homes, deaths soared. The children died in ways cruel, outlandish, predictable and preventable…. A year-long Miami Herald investigation found that, in the last six years [2008-2013], 477 Florida children have died of abuse or neglect after their families had come to the attention of the Department of Children & Families…. To understand the magnitude of the problem — and possible solutions — the Herald studied every death over a six-year period involving families with child welfare histories. This series is the result of a year’s worth of reporting by the Herald’s Investigation Team, and multiple lawsuits to obtain state death records.” In February 2015 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism announced that this series won the 2014 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, and in April 2015 the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University announced that this series won the 2014 Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism.

[Read more…]