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Investigative Reporting Program


The Investigative Reporting Program is a professional newsroom and teaching institute at the University of California, Berkeley. We are committed to reporting stories that expose injustice and abuse of power while training the next generation of journalists in the highest standards of our craft.

Health Care/Medical | Investigative journalism

Rapid vaccine rollout at California nursing homes raises concern

With COVID-19 concerns, anxious families eye in-home senior care

As part of our in-depth coverage of aging in America, Brett Simpson ('21) reports for The California Report Magazine on how some families are turning to in-home care as care homes become Covid hot spots. 


IRP leads election coverage for Berkeley Journalism

The IRP assembled a team of several dozen student reporters and professional editors to cover the 2020 Election. Student work is being published in CalMatters and other outlets.

In Oakland, breaking down barriers with cookies

In this story for The New York Times, Shuang Li ('20) reports on efforts to break down barriers that have long divided Black and Asian-American residents in Oakland, California.

Strange bacteria are attacking California’s trout supply

In this story for The New York Times, Will McCarthy ('21) traveled to the Eastern Sierra to report on a bacterial outbreak in California that's killing tens of thousands of trout and may be spreading silently.  

An update on Project Roomkey in Tuolumne County

Tessa Paoli ('20) and Nina Sparling ('20) report for The New York Times on how California's plans to combat coronavirus and reduce homelessness has unraveled in one county.

An interview with the health officer for Santa Cruz

In this piece for The New York Times, Robin Estrin ('21) talks to Santa Cruz's health officer about fending off criticism as the county went from being one of the safest in the state to the site of a recent surge.  

An in-depth look at Covid’s impact on child abuse investigations

The IRP examines how scores of child abuse investigations have been delayed or sharply curtailed during the pandemic. This page one story in The New York Times was reported by the IRP's Garrett Therolf and Daniel Lempres ('21), Aksaule Alzhan ('20), Laurence Du Sault ('20), Ricky Rodas ('20) and Alyson Stamos ('20).     

In Stockton, a powerful program to prevent violence

H.I.V. survivors confront painful memories in pandemic

In this story for The New York Times, Nick Roberts ('20) writes about how the coronavirus pandemic is resurfacing painful memories for H.I.V. survivors.

An Asian-American author talks about racism in the pandemic

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Thess Mostoles talks to young-adult author Kelly Yang about the surging xenophobia against Asian-Americans during Covid.

How Paradise High’s class of 2020 got its graduation

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Anne Daugherty reports on how students and parents got an exception to California Gov. Newsom's shelter-in-place order.

Why researchers hope to test high-risk groups in California

In this story for The New York Times, journalism students Max Brimelow, Julie Chang, Pedro Cota, Alex Matthews and

How do you enforce a law that tramples the land of the free?

In this story for The New York Times, journalism students Katey Rusch and Casey Smith report on the challenges faced by prosecutors tasked with enforcing the stay-at-home order.

Another Covid-19 loss? The Jumping Frog Jubilee

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Will McCarthy reports on a 92-year-old frog-jumping contest that was upended by Covid.

Will smoke from controlled burns hurt Covid-19 patients?

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Will McCarthy reports on how smoke generated by setting fires this spring could harm Covid-19 victims.

Why the people harvesting Californians’ food can’t afford it

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Lulu Orozco reports on workers in the Salinas Valley who find it difficult to afford the very food they harvest.

Inside the Bay Area’s geriatric homeless shelter

Journalism students Jesse Bedayn and Brett Simpson report on the fate of San Francisco Bay Area's only homeless shelter dedicated to serving seniors, in this piece for The New York Times.

How San Francisco’s Chinatown got ahead of the coronavirus

In this story for The New York Times, journalism students Alyson Stamos and Meiying Wu report on how San Francisco's Chinatown -- one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the United States -- fended off a nightmare.

Why California’s community health clinics are vital, but hurting

In this story for The New York Times, journalism students Miki Katoni and Nina Sparling report on how the pandemic is devastating clinics that care for California's most vulnerable patients.  

For students at a lone school in California, class is still on

In this front page story for The New York Times, journalism students Brian Wollitz and Ali DeFazio report on the only public school to remain open in California during the shutdown. The story is part of the IRP/Berkeley Journalism's California Covid reporting partnership with the Times

Why Mammoth Lakes is turning away visitors

In this story for The New York Times, journalism student Annie Berman reports on how a tiny ski town in California is worried about its role as an escape during the coronavirus pandemic. This was the first piece published under a new California Covid-19 reporting partnership between the IRP/Berkeley Journalism and the Times.

Hamid Hayat walks free

TERRORISM CASE REPEATEDLY SCRUTINIZED BY IRP REPORTERS A high-profile federal terrorism case ended Friday when prosecutors announced they would not retry a Central Valley man whose conviction was overturned in August after he had served 14 years in prison.

‘Like trying to kill a fly with a bazooka’: Police shooting investigation takes nearly three years

Through months of public records requests, document analyses, interviews and courthouse expeditions, J-School/IRP students Casey Smith and Brian Perlman reported out the 2017 officer-involved shooting in Orland, California for The Chico Enterprise-Record.

Magazine profiles IRP student reporters investigating California cops

California Magazine published a story about two IRP student reporters, Laurence Du Sault and Katey Rusch, and their contribution to a major investigation of California police officers convicted of crimes.

County correctional sergeant demoted after tasing handcuffed inmate

Records released under California's new law-enforcement transparency law show that a Mendocino County correctional officer was demoted after tasing a handcuffed inmate. J-School/IRP students Katey Rusch and Edward Booth covered the story for The Ukiah Daily Journal.

How did this California police department hire so many officers with troubling pasts?

The McFarland Police Department knew that many of its officers had dubious backgrounds. But as J-School/IRP students Katey Rusch and Laurence Du Sault report, the department hired them anyway.

IRP-led investigation found more than 80 law enforcement officers with rap sheets still employed today

A six-month investigation involving more than 30 newsrooms across California, led by the IRP, has found hundreds of criminal convictions against current and former police officers, dozens of them still on the job.

The horrific death of Anthony Avalos and the many missed chances to save him

IRP reporter Garrett Therolf reports on the tragic death of a 10 year-old boy and how child welfare workers missed warnings and opportunities to intervene.

How not to grow old in America

In this opinion piece for The New York Times, IRP's interim director, Geeta Anand, writes about the irony of assisted living: it's great if you don't need much assistance.

For years, reporters questioned the terror prosecution of Hamid Hayat. Now he’s been freed.

This article by The Intercept outlines how IRP founder Lowell Bergman was an early skeptic of the case against Hamid Hayat and how he documented problems with the FBI's counterterrorism program back in 2006.

The worst thing that could happen to local news—and the best

The potential merger between GateHouse Media and Gannett would create a newspaper behemoth. As IRP Director John Temple writes for this piece in The Atlantic, it reminds him of two drowning giants grabbing onto each other to try to save themselves.

Haven’t we seen enough mass shootings?

Twenty years ago, IRP Director John Temple was convinced the shootings he covered at Columbine High School would change everything. As he writes in The Atlantic, that’s not what happened. He also discusses this topic in a CJR podcast.

Judge vacates conviction in 13-year-old Lodi terror case

In a stunning move, the federal judge in Sacramento who oversaw the trial and conviction of accused Lodi terror suspect Hamid Hayat 13 years ago has ordered the conviction and sentence vacated. The IRP began reporting on Hayat in 2006 for PBS Frontline. Former IRP reporter Abbie VanSickle continued coverage in her 2016 series with the IRP for The Intercept.

Social workers didn’t remove boy from his home despite court order. He later died

In this piece for the Los Angeles Times, IRP reporter Garrett Therolf and J-School student reporter Alyson Stamos cover the suspicious death of a young boy who was allowed to remain with his parents despite a court order.

The Navy didn’t take my reporting seriously

The IRP's Zachary Stauffer, producer of Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn?, writes for The Atlantic about how the U.S. Navy consistently refused to participate in or cooperate with his reporting and research. To learn more about why, he and reporter Jason Paladino obtained emails using a Freedom of Information Act request that reveal how naval officers are discounting critical reporting. The messages show that the Navy's public affairs staff are more concerned with damage control than confronting the issues revealed.

We Planned a Life Together, but Then He Died. It Took Mother’s Day to Help Me Move Forward.

Nicole Van Dorn, whose husband, Navy pilot J Wesley Van Dorn, was killed in the helicopter crash featured in the IRP's documentary Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn?, writes for The New York Times about her experience following his death. You can learn more about the film at

The Chief: The Remarkable—Sometimes Shocking—Career of Fresno’s Top Cop

Fresno Chief of Police Jerry Dyer is one of the longest-serving leaders of a big-city police department in modern California history. But his tenure has been marred by scandal and corruption among the officers who serve under him. In a story for KQED he researched and wrote at the IRP, reporter Andrew Beale investigates both Dyer and his department.

Featured on KQED Newsroom: IRP’s reporting on California’s secret list of criminal cops

IRP reporter Robert Lewis and School of Journalism lecturer Thomas Peele were interviewed on KQED Newsroom about investigating police misconduct. They also discussed an IRP-reported story about receiving records of criminally convicted California police officers.

Counselor testified she didn’t report suspected abuse to authorities before Gabriel Fernandez was killed

IRP reporter Garrett Therolf reports in the Los Angeles Times that an employee of a contractor paid millions by the county's Department of Children and Family Services failed to pass on information about eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez's abuse before his death. As someone working with children, she was required by law to share this information with authorities.

Behind the scenes of the Goldsmith Prize-nominated documentary “Trafficked in America”

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy's Journalist's Resource interviewed Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel about Trafficked in America, a  documentary about an Ohio egg farm's exploitation of trafficked Guatemalan workers produced by the IRP and PBS Frontline. The Shorenstein Center awards the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, for which Altan and Cediel's film is a finalist. The prize winner will be announced on March 12.

CJR writes about IRP’s reporting on police corruption

The Columbia Journalism Review has published an article about California Attorney General Xaiver Beccerra threatening legal action if IRP reporters Robert Lewis and Jason Paladino do not return data on criminally convicted police officers. The journalists received documents through public records requests. Lewis and Paladino have refused to turn over the data and have been carefully vetting the names listed in the documents.

Attorney General doesn’t rule out legal action against journalists over police conviction data

In statements on Friday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra refused to rule out legal action against journalists at the Investigative Reporting Program and Investigative Studios. Through public records requests, the reporters obtained documents listing state police officers who have been convicted of crimes. Three weeks after receiving the lists, Becerra's office sent a letter demanding that the reporters destroy the lists and threatening legal action if any of the contents are published.

Xavier Becerra is wrong to fight release of police officers’ crimes

IRP Director John Temple's CALmatters piece challenges  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's efforts to suppress a statewide report on police criminal convictions. The IRP received this report in response to a Public Records Act request it filed.

My Newspaper Died 10 Years Ago. I’m Worried the Worst Is Yet to Come.

IRP Director John Temple writes for The Atlantic about the current environment of the newspaper industry. As the former editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, which was shut down in 2009, he's seen first-hand the  damage losing a newspaper can do both to the journalists and the community. Now he sees other newspapers in trouble and believes journalists need to innovate to make local news an ongoing resource.

California keeps a secret list of criminal cops, but says you can’t have it

The IRP's Jason Paladino and Investigative Studio's Robert Lewis report for The Mercury News and KQED News that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has warned the reporters that a list of cop criminal convictions they obtained through a Public Records Act request must be destroyed. The IRP and Studios are contesting the demands, as the obtained documents provide a rare glimpse at the volume of officer misconduct at a time of heightened interest in police accountability.

Nastya Rybka and Alex Leslie on the Oleg Deripaska affair

The Bell, published by IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya, spoke with escort Nastya Rybka and her sex coach Alex Leslie after their return from Thailand and their release in Russia. Rybka has previously claimed she holds evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign, allegedly obtained through her acquaintance with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire.

A Private Army for the President: The Tale of Evgeny Prigozhin’s Most Delicate Mission

A story in The Bell, published by IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya, details how Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin — whose ties with the Russian president have earned him the nickname “Putin’s Chef" — played a leading role in the rise of the private military company (PMC) Wagner. The report brings together the two decades-long history of Prigozhin's involvement.

Update: Lodi man convicted of terrorism in 2006 should go free, judge says

A judge has recommended charges against Hamid Hayat, the infamous figure in the "sleeper cell" case, be dropped on grounds that Hayat's lawyer failed to represent him fairly. The IRP began reporting on Hayat in 2006 for PBS Frontline. Former IRP reporter Abbie VanSickle continued coverage in her 2016 series with the IRP for The Intercept.

Probe Into Corrupt Cops in Kern County Deepens

In partnership with KQED, journalist Robert Lewis, who works with the IRP as part of its California Corruption Project, reports on corruption among Bakersfield-area law enforcement. Narcotics squad officers have pleaded guilty to stealing about 30 pounds of marijuana. A grand jury is continuing to investigate and the corruption scandal is still growing.

Cracking Down on Political Corruption in Merced County Doesn’t Come Easy

Former IRP student Brian Krans's report on local political corruption in Fresno County ran on KQED's The California Report. He explored how a district attorney charged two important local officials with bribery. However, the breadth of this issue is much wider than just a few indictments. Click the "more" link below to hear the story in full:

The Navy’s Terrible Accident Record Is Now Hidden From Public View

The IRP's Jason Paladino writes for The Atlantic about the secret removal of safety data on Navy accidents. Although there have been previous reports of high-ranking officials hindering the disclosure of Navy documents, a representative from the agency insists that the removal decision was part of a website redesign.

Why Did No One Save Gabriel?

The Atlantic has published an investigation that exposes the failure of Los Angeles County child-protective caseworkers to protect Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old under their watch who was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend in 2013 after suffering months of torture and abuse. Garrett Therolf, who reported on Gabriel’s death for The Los Angeles Times, spent the past year retracing the details of this case.

Former Fugitive Pablo Duran Sr. Pleads Guilty in Trafficking Case

Pablo Duran Sr., a central figure in the IRP's and Investigative Studio's Frontline documentary Trafficked in America, has pleaded guilty to encouraging illegal entry of Guatemalan nationals, some of them minors, for financial gain. The IRP's Daffodil Altan and reporter Catherine Trautwein report on the case for Frontline.

Forbes Russia is Losing its Independence. Should the World Care?

Elizaveta Osetinskaya, IRP Fellow and former editor in chief of Forbes Russia, writes an Op Ed on the current state of the magazine and the crucial role it plays in the relationship between the United States and Russia.

Russia calls the Putin-Trump summit the event of the year, but doesn’t expect real results

IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya's weekly newsletter, The Bell, covers Russian expectations for the upcoming summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Although the Russian media and government officials are publicly hyping the event, unofficially most are pessimistic that anything substantive will be decided. 

Anthony Avalos was extensively tortured over days before dying, prosecutors allege

In the third story of his series about the death of 10-year-old Anthony Alvalos, IRP and Common Sense News reporter Garrett Therolf covers the charges against the boy's mother and her boyfriend for the Los Angeles Times.

For the Love of the Local Newspaper

In the wake of a shooting that left five staffers dead at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, IRP Director John Temple writes for The Atlantic about the important role local newspapers play in reporting on their communities.

Before his death, 10-year-old Anthony Avalos came out as gay, official says

In the second story in a three-part series about the death of Anthony Avalos, IRP and Common Sense News reporter Garrett Therolf examines the case of a 10-year-old who suffered extensive abuse before his death on June 20.

Years of abuse allegations reported at Lancaster home before boy died

IRP and Common Sense News reporter Garrett Therolf's story in the Los Angeles Times explores the death of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos from head injuries. The boy was never removed from his home despite years of severe abuse allegations against family members by teachers, a counselor, school administrators and relatives.

“Putin’s Cook” set out to mine gold in Africa

A story in "The Bell," published by IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya, details how a November 2017 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir paved the way for gold mining in the Sudan by Russian companies. Evgeny Prigozhin, a businessman connected with Putin whose companies include private security firm the Wagner Group, is a prime beneficiary of these concessions.

Inside the Tax Bill’s $25 Billion Oil Company Bonanza

A Pacific Standard analysis by former IRP fellow Antonia Juhasz, finds the oil and gas industry to be among the tax bill's greatest financial beneficiaries. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is reported to provide a total of $25 billion in direct one-time benefits to 17 oil and gas companies.

Telegram ban flop calls into question Russia’s internet might

After interference in the U.S. elections, the West considers Russia to be a serious cyberforce. But can Russia really ban major foreign internet services, à la China? A failed attempt to shut down instant-messenger service Telegram suggests the answer may be "no," reports The Bell, founded by IRP Fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya.

An exclusive interview with the scientist who developed “Novichok”

The Bell, founded by IRP Fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya, was the first to interview Vladimir Uglev, one of the developers of the nerve agent, "Novichok", which was used to poison former Rusian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the United Kingdom.

Shared Silence: What should be done with the symbols of white supremacy?

Former IRP Fellow Antonia Juhasz explores how her father's native Hungary dealt with mementos and statues from the Soviet era after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the early 1990s. She discusses what lessons may be learned as Americans begin removing Confederate monuments from public spaces.

In 2018, Russian Media Outlets Face These 4 Challenges (Op-ed)

In this op-ed piece in The Moscow Times, IRP Fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya explores the trends that are shaping the Russian media landscape in 2018.

Russian media report confirms cyber attack on US election

The Bell's story linking a Russian treason case against top cyber-crime fighters to American election hacking has been picked up by MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. The Bell was founded and is edited by IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya.

What the Arrest of the Russian Intel Top Cyber-Crime Expert Has to Do With American Elections

IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya's independent Russian media outlet, The Bell, reports that Russian interference in the U.S. presidential elections is at the heart of a secretive treason case against a former FSB official and three of his alleged accomplices arrested last year.

Why Russian Oligarchs Will Be First to Leave Their Offshore Paradise (Op-ed)

The release of the Paradise Papers may help Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to return capital from offshore tax havens, paradoxically thanks to U.S. efforts to sanction his inner circle. IRP fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya explains how the leak may lead to Russian oligarchs being expelled from the offshore tax paradises.

Investigative journalist discusses career covering Philippine government and presidents

IRP Director John Temple's interview with Filipina investigative journalist Raissa Robles was covered by Jon Cana on ABS-CBN News's Balitang America, a daily news program. The event, which took place October 10 at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, looked at Robles' career as an investigative journalist and the current situation in the Philippines.

Russia’s Central Bank takes control of Otkritie

Central Bank chief, Elvira Nabiullina, has spent the past three years working to reform Russia's banking system. Last month, the Central Bank took over 75 percent of the country’s largest private lender, Otkritie. IRP Fellow Elizaveta Osetinskaya explores the story for The Moscow Times.

Truck drivers forced into debt by trucking companies

Trucking companies have shorted drivers out of fair pay, forcing them into debt and threatening them into working longer hours, according to a USA TODAY Network investigation by UC Berkeley journalism alumni Brett Murphy, who began his reporting on the story as a student at the IRP.

Update on infamous “sleeper cell” case

A judge has agreed to hear new evidence in a California terrorism case, which was the subject of a series in The Intercept by IRP reporter Abbie VanSickle.

Timeline of Trump’s relationship to Russia

IRP's Abbie VanSickle presents a comprehensive timeline of Trump's relationship to Russia from 1986 to today for Medium.

Here are the four basic questions about Trump and Russia we still need answered

As the House Intelligence Committee begins hearings on Russia and the 2016 election, here's what we do and do not know, by IRP's Abbie VanSickle for Huffington Post Politics.

Inside a mom’s months-long fight to get back her children

In this collaboration with Common Sense Media and the Los Angeles Times, IRP's Garrett Therolf was granted a special court order that allowed him to be present for one mother's interactions with child protective services and the courts.

Coming home to a Trump town

IRP's Abbie VanSickle returns to her hometown of Delphi, Indiana to understand Trump's appeal in this piece for the Huffington Post.

Small town terrorists

In this two-part investigation for The Intercept, the IRP's Abbie VanSickle reports on the infamous post-9/11 “sleeper cell” case in California and its star witness.

A deadly question

In this story for The Atlantic, the IRP's Abbie VanSickle reports on juries asked to decide the future danger of a person to sentence them to death.

Lack of training blamed for deadly Marine helicopter crash

In this exclusive story published in Civil Beat and HuffPost Hawaii, the IRP's Jason Paladino and Zachary Stauffer report on how pilot error, lack of training and command problems are to blame for the deadly helicopter crash off Oahu in January.

East Bay community college district may have skirted conflict-of-interest rules

Former journalism student Theodore Andersen ('16) reports on how the East Bay community college district may have skirted conflict-of-interest rules. The story was reported with help from the IRP.

A hidden danger

In this two-part multimedia piece for The Virginian Pilot (Italics), the IRP's Mike Hixenbaugh, Jason Paladino and Zachary Stauffer continue their investigation into the state of our military's equipment. They travel to Bahrain to look at our aging minesweeping fleet and ask why the Marines' workhorse helicopter was allowed to slowly fall into disrepair. Part 1 Part 2

Getting immigrants out of detention is very profitable

2015-16 IRP fellow Steve Fisher reports on the expensive way to get out of immigration detention in this story for Mother Jones.

Deported Central American teens face harrowing choice

In this piece for Newsweek, 2015-16 IRP fellow Steve Fisher reports on the plight of young adults from Central America, who fled to the U.S. as children and now face deportation and gang violence back home.

Champagne in the cellar

IRP's new managing editor, John Temple, writes in The Atlantic about how he used the Internet to track down the man who saved his parents in Budapest during World War II.

Why the undercover Planned Parenthood videos aren’t journalism

Los Angeles Times reporter Paige St. John and students in the Investigative Reporting Program produced a three-part series about the Planned Parenthood videos, First Amendment issues, Daleiden’s legal troubles, and the videos’ effects on the fetal tissue market. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student Ted Andersen reports for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Mexican Attorney General’s office accused of torture, bribes to manipulate Ayotzinapa investigation

In this article for Univision Noticias, IRP Fellow Anabel Hernandez reports on how legal documents and witnesses accuse a former Attorney General and two top prosecutors of committing irregularities to prop up the “historic truth” about the disappearance of 43 students.

How anti-abortion activists used undercover Planned Parenthood videos to further political cause

In this article for the Los Angeles Times, investigative reporting students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Times reporter Paige St. John report on unpublicized video footage taken by anti-abortion activist David Daleiden.  The story is a collaboration between the IRP and the Times.

UC harassment inquiry shows system’s shortcomings, faculty say

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that UC Berkeley faculty members have stepped forward to condemn the university’s handling of yet another campus sexual harassment case. This article was prepared in conjunction with the IRP.

Super Stallion helicopters worn out after years of war, internal report concludes

In an exclusive report in The Virginian-Pilot, IRP Fellows Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino reveal through a classified document that the Super Stallion helicopter, the workhorse of the Marine Corps, is in alarmingly poor condition. This report comes soon after two Super Stallions collided off the coast of Oahu, killing 12 marines.

U.S. refugee agency put Central American kids at risk, GAO report says

In this story for The Washington Post, the IRP's Abbie VanSickle writes about a new GAO report critical of the U.S. government agency tasked with placing thousands of Central American children into communities as they await immigration court decisions.

IRP fellow interviews wife of El Chapo

In an interview broadcast on Telemundo and in an article for the Los Angeles Times, the wife of Mexican cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman talks to IRP Fellow Anabel Hernandez about how she's afraid for his life and how her husband is a loving family man.

University admits liability in Cal football player’s death

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the University of California has acknowledged its negligence was a substantial factor in the 2014 death of Cal football player Ted Agu. This story was reported in collaboration with the IRP's Abbie VanSickle and Tim McGirk.

Obama Administration Placed Children with Human Traffickers, Report Says

In this follow-up to an IRP investigation published in the Washington Post, the IRP's Abbie VanSickle reports on a Senate investigation that found the Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children fleeing to the U.S.

Failure to Track Unaccompanied Migrant Minors May Have Led to Trafficking

In this article for the Washington Post, IRP Reporter Abbie VanSickle examines the danger facing tens of thousands of the Central American children who crossed the border into the U.S., left vulnerable to human traffickers.

Anabel Hernandez Discusses El Chapo’s Recapture on CNN

IRP Fellow Anabel Hernandez, who has investigated Mexican drug kingpin "El Chapo" Guzman for 15 years, discusses his recent recapture in this CNN interview.

Sailors’ Widows Sue Manufacturer of Navy Chopper

In this piece for The Virginian-Pilot, IRP Fellow Mike Hixenbaugh continues his investigation of the Sea Dragon helicopter, which has one of the highest rates of deadly crashes in the armed services. He reports on a lawsuit alleging the maker, Sikorsky, and other defendants designed and manufactured an unsafe chopper.

Are Secret Planned Parenthood Videos Protected Under 1st Amendment?

In this article for the Los Angeles Times, investigative reporting students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism report on whether footage collected by an anti-abortion activist represent undercover journalism protected by the First Amendment. The story is the first in a series on the ongoing national debate on abortion and is a collaboration between the IRP and the Times.

IRP Fellow Describes New Threat Against Her

In an open letter published in the Huffington Post and an interview on Univision, IRP Fellow Anabel Hernández vows to continue her work as an investigative reporter, despite a break-in and threat she received at her Mexico City home.

Is the FBI Manufacturing Terror?

In this piece for The Intercept, 2010-11 IRP Fellows Trevor Aaronson and Katie Galloway report on an FBI informant and the environmental activist she helped entrap.

Filmmaker in Residence Urges More Sustained Coverage of Mexico

In an interview with HuffPost Live, IRP Filmmaker in Residence Bernardo Ruiz talks about the United States' "willful blindness" of Mexico and the missed opportunities in print and broadcast journalism.

Super Stallion Chopper Crash Blamed on Engine With Troubled History

In a piece for, IRP Fellows Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino investigate the catastrophic failure of a Marine chopper's engine.

South China Morning Post Reports on Documents Released by IRP

The South China Morning Post reports on documents recently released by the IRP that detail the background and connections of detained Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng. The documents -- part of the IRP's continuing coverage of Macau -- were obtained at a Las Vegas Courthouse and have since been sealed.

Navy Revives Squadron of Crash-Prone Choppers

In a piece for NBC News, IRP Fellows Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino report on how the Navy is resurrecting the training unit for the Sea Dragon, its oldest and most maintenance-intensive helicopter in service.

IRP Fellows Mark 1st Anniversary of Students’ Disappearance in Iguala

IRP Fellows Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher appear on Democracy Now! to discuss their year-long investigation of the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico.

IRP Releases Documents from Macau Investigation

As part of its continuing coverage of Macau, the IRP is releasing documents pertaining to Las Vegas Sands and its business practices in the former Portuguese colony. The documents, which include internal e-mails and reports and are part of ongoing litigation, reveal the details of relationships with an organized crime figure and a Macau businessman who was recently arrested as part of a federal bribery probe. These documents and others obtained at a Las Vegas Courthouse have since been sealed.

Mark Felt Scholar Reports on Shadowy U.S. Energy Firm Accused of Bribery in Guatemala

2015-16 Mark Felt Scholarship winner Jimmy Tobias reports on what an Enron spinoff is doing in the middle of Guatemala's corruption scandal in this article for The Nation. The IRP provided reporting assistance.

The Guardian Cites IRP Fellows’ Reporting in Iguala Investigation

An article in The Guardian credits the work of IRP fellows Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher as the "first evidential challenge to the (Mexican) government’s account" of the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico one year ago.

Mexico Tortured Alleged Killers of 43 Missing Students

In an article published in the Mexican magazine Proceso, IRP Fellows Anabel Hernandez and Steve Fisher report that the alleged killers of the 43 missing students in Iguala, Mexico gave their depositions after being tortured. The story is part of their ongoing investigation of what happened to the students and was summarized in a piece by Huffington Post. The reporting of Hernandez and Fisher is based on depositions they obtained through sources.

A 21st-Century Migrant’s Essentials: Food, Shelter, Smartphone

Former IRP Fellow Matthew Brunwasser reports for The New York Times on the tens of thousands of migrants flooding into Europe.

IRP Reporter Disputes Government’s Account Of ‘El Chapo’ Escape

Acclaimed Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez says she has obtained internal documents that dispute the Mexican government's official account surrounding the notorious escape of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, including whether he really left through the tunnel found under his cell.

Prison Sex-Abuse Cases Grow, But Prosecutions Are Rare

Former IRP Mark Felt Scholarship recipient Andy Mannix reports on prison sex-abuse in Washington prisons for the Seattle Times.

China Feared CIA Worked with Sheldon Adelson’s Macau Casinos to Snare Officials

A report commissioned by Adelson’s company, uncovered from among documents filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit, shows Beijing was concerned officials were gambling with public money, leaving them vulnerable to blackmail.

Syrians Race to Save Ancient City’s Treasures from ISIS

The IRP's Tim McGirk reports on Syria's efforts to save its treasures before the ancient city of Palmyra was overrun by ISIS.

New Witness Account Undermines Mexican Government Version of Events in Iguala

In an article for the Huffington Post, IRP Fellows Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher report that a new witness is calling into question the government's narrative of what happened to 43 students last September.

IRP Documentary “Rape on the Night Shift” Airs June 23 on PBS

Our newest documentary “Rape on the Night Shift” airs on Univision on Saturday, June 20 and on PBS Frontline on Tuesday, June 23.  The IRP teams up again with Frontline, Univision, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and KQED – this time to examine rampant sexual abuse of immigrant women in the janitorial industry.

IRP Fellow Reports on One of Mexico’s Most Contaminated Rivers

In this story for Fusion, IRP Fellow Steve Fisher investigates how companies are illegally dumping toxic chemicals into a river in Mexico.

IRP Collaborates with NBC’s Meet the Press on Adelson Story

The IRP contributes reporting to a story on billionaire gaming magnate and influential Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, which aired on “Meet the Press” in May.

Sheldon Adelson Calls Allegations Over Casino Dealings ‘Delusional’

The IRP contributed to reporting in this Guardian story about billionaire gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who testified in Las Vegas in a case brought by a former casino executive.

IRP/Guardian Investigation Reveals How Gambling Giants Made Billions in Macau

The IRP's Lowell Bergman, Matt Isaacs and Simon Marks, in collaboration with The Guaridan's James Ball and Harry Davies, report on how U.S. casino groups made their billions against Macau’s seamy backdrop of triads, vice and corruption.

J-School Students Report on Vaccine Backlash in Pakistan

Under the direction of the IRP, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student Alexander Mullaney (IRP Mark Felt Scholarship recipient) and Syeda Amna Hassan (J-School alum 2013) report on how a Pakistani doctor unwittingly fueled suspicions about efforts to fight polio, in this article for National Geographic. This is the second installment in a four-part series on polio.

The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill

In an article for Mother Jones magazine, 2013-14 IRP Fellow Brian Joseph investigates how the financial incentives of private foster care agencies tasked with screening and monitoring foster parents contribute to the abuse and neglect of vulnerable children nationwide.

Vaccinators Under the Gun in Pakistan

IRP Managing Editor Tim McGirk, with help from students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, investigates how volunteers fighting polio became the hunted in Pakistan in this piece for National Geographic. This is the first installment in a four-part series on polio.

Internal Navy Email: Safety of Helicopters in Question

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student Jason Paladino continues reporting on a crash-prone helicopter in an ongoing collaboration between the IRP, The Virginian-Pilot and NBC News.

Data on Killings by Law Enforcement Incomplete

IRP/CIR Reporter Abbie VanSickle reports on the lack of good statistics on how many people law enforcement officers kill each year.

The $1.3 Billion Highway in Kosovo

In an article for Foreign Policy magazine, 2013-14 IRP Fellow Matthew Brunwasser reports on how mega-contractor Bechtel sold one of Europe's poorest countries a $1.3 billion highway that is barely being used.

Rise in Police Deaths in 2014 Is Not What It Seems

As part of her ongoing look at gun violence, IRP/CIR reporter Abbie VanSickle finds that 2014 was not an unusually deadly year for law enforcement officers.

Deadly Helicopter Crashes

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism student Jason Paladino contributed to a Virginian-Pilot investigation of a helicopter with one of the highest rates of deadly crashes in the armed services. The story is a collaboration with the IRP and NBC News.

Startling Gun Violence Fact: Suicide More Likely Than Homicide

IRP/CIR Reporter Abbie VanSickle writes about a new study that finds suicides account for nearly two-thirds of deaths from firearms. VanSickle is part of a team of reporters at the Center for Investigative Reporting who are examining the role of guns and gun violence in America.

Stickup Kid

What happens when we lock up juvenile offenders in adult prisons? "Stickup Kid," a PBS Frontline digital exclusive by 2013-2014 IRP fellow Caitlin McNally tells the story of Alonza Thomas, who was sent to adult prison in California at age 16.

Iguala: Unofficial History

In this investigative report for Mexico's leading news magazine Proceso, IRP fellows Anabel Hernandez and Steve Fisher  uncover official documents, videos and testimonials that tell a different story of the attack on those students in Iguala.

Death and Corruption in Mexico

The fate of 43 missing students and a property scandal reveal the emptiness of the Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto's rhetoric on reform, writes IRP fellow Anabel Hernández in this piece for The Guardian.

Firestone and the Warlord

What are the costs of doing business in a war zone? On Nov. 18, 2014, PBS Frontline and ProPublica investigate the relationship between Firestone and the infamous Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. The story originated at the IRP as part of a 2008-09 fellowship awarded to Jonathan Jones, an alum of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Light Penalties the Norm for State Utilities Following Fatal Accidents

2008-09 IRP fellow Sam Kennedy reports on how the Pennsylvania utility commission disposes of safety violations through negotiated settlements, in this story for The Morning Call (Allentown, PA).

The Contestant

In a story for The California Sunday Magazine, 2012-13 IRP fellow Daniel Alarcón writes about a teen from the outskirts of Lima, Peru, who became an overnight sensation on a hit TV game show, then disappeared.

Rare Illness in California Afflicts Children With Polio-Like Symptoms

Jake Nicol and Sally Schilling, students at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, shot a news video on a polio-like illness in California for National Geographic. Nicol, who is a Mark Felt scholarship recipient, also wrote the accompanying story. This is the first in a series of articles and videos on the global battle against polio for National Geographic that received guidance from the IRP.

Expensive Renovations at Mexico’s Presidential Home

2014-15 IRP fellow Anabel Hernández reports on the high cost of remodeling the Mexican presidential residence "Los Pinos" in this story that appeared in the September 14, 2014 issue of Mexico's leading magazine Proceso.

How State Dept. Helped Incite 9/11/12 Riots

In the September issue of Harper's, 2012-13 IRP fellow Emad Mekay examines how the State Department had its hand in the 9/11/12 riots outside the American embassy in Cairo.

Does the NCAA Rule College Sports Like a “Cartel”?

IRP producer Zachary Stauffer reports on the NCAA images lawsuit as part of PBS Frontline‘s ongoing coverage of the big business of college sports.

Exclusive: US Bankrolled Anti-Morsi Activists

2012-13 IRP fellow Emad Mekay reports on the US money trail to Egyptian groups in this feature for Al Jazeera.

The Contestant

Ruth Thalía Sayas Sánchez was only 19 years old when she went on a Peruvian game show, El Valor de la Verdad, determined to tell the world who she really was. She couldn’t have foreseen the consequences.

The Deepwater Horizon Spill, Four Years On

2012-13 IRP fellow Antonia Juhasz reports on the BP oil spill four years later in this piece for Harper's.

The Loneliest Man in Greece

2011-12 IRP fellow Chanan Tigay writes about the central figure in Greece's economic maelstrom in this New Yorker piece.

The Muhammad movie: look who fanned the flames

Despite what Western media reported it was not Islamist outlets that stirred things up.

The New War for Afghanistan’s Untapped Oil

What's driving the recent surge in Taliban violence?

An IRS Regulation Offers a New Weapon Against Mexican Drug Cartels

A new IRS regulation designed to fight offshore tax evasion might be one the most effective weapons against Mexican cartels and their money launderers. US Banks, however, are doing everything they can to repeal it.

BP Settlements Seen on Safety and Price Cases

The British energy company BP, tarnished by a string of costly legal problems, is preparing to settle accusations that it was criminally indifferent to worker safety and that it manipulated energy prices, government officials and lawyers involved in the separate cases said on Tuesday.

Extraordinary Rendition

An investigation of one of the darkest sides of the Bush Administration’s war on terror—its secret rendition program.

Payload: Taking Aim at Corporate Bribery

Last month, five jumbo jets from Riyadh touched down at Heathrow Airport in London. They brought with them 13 members of the Saudi royal family, including King Abdullah and his retainers—and controversy.

A Dangerous Business Revisited

A follow-up to the 2003 investigation of injuries and deaths at plants owned by the privately held McWane, Inc., one of the largest iron pipe foundry companies in North America: how the Justice Department responded, the changes made at the company, and what happened to some of the injured workers and a whistleblower who told their stories on camera five years ago.

Big Scam

In the U.S., for the producers of bio-fuels, the golden age is already over.

Border Agents, Lured by the Other Side

The smuggler in the public service announcement sat handcuffed in prison garb, full of bravado and shrugging off the danger of bringing illegal immigrants across the border.

Mexico: Crimes at the Border

An investigation of the rapidly expanding business of smuggling humans across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border Inspector is Accused in Big Cocaine Case

A veteran customs inspector recently arrested in Texas on drug charges helped traffickers smuggle about 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the country over five years, according to a court document filed last week.


A global investigation into one of the greatest crises mankind has ever faced. Can we roll back global warming?

Former Border Patrol Agents Arrested in Smuggling Case

Two former Border Patrol agents who investigators suspect committed some of the more brazen acts of smuggling-related corruption at the border in recent years have been arrested and jailed in Mexico, the United States authorities said Monday.

At Siemens, Bribery was Just a Line Item

Entrenched corruption at a sprawling, sophisticated corporation that externally embraced the nostrums of a transparent global marketplace built on legitimate transactions.

The Business of Bribes

In 2000 the World Bank approved millions in financing for a massive oil drilling and pipeline project between Chad and Cameroon, two countries plagued by poverty and corruption. Ten years on, what has become of the “model” oil for development project?

Bangladesh Fights Rampant Corporate Corruption

For years corporate corruption has thrived as an open secret in this poor congested nation, a force as destructive as the cyclones that ravage the coastline and the arsenic that poisons people’s drinking wells. Bangladesh’s newly elected government has taken its first high-profile swipe at the problem.

Black Money

International bribery. It’s a trillion dollars a year, with corporations on one side, heads of state on the other. And it thrives in an invisible world.

Corruption Case Exposes Scope of Bribery in Nigeria

Last year, Albert Jack Stanley, the former CEO of KBR, pleaded guilty to bribery for masterminding the payment of more than $180 million to Nigerian officials.

In the News: Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt was not just the creator of 60 Minutes, but much of the grammar of television news.

California’s Chemical Weapons Sea Dumps

From the time of World War I until the early 1970s, the U.S. disposed of tons of chemical weapons in the ocean.

Brazil: Hired Guns Fighting for a Share of the Land

Should food be genetically modified or grown from heirloom seeds? Produced on large industrial farms or organic community-owned lots? These questions lie at the heart of many, sometimes fierce, debates—in political committees, on university campuses, and in cafes and homes. But I have never heard of anyone being killed during these disputes in the U.S.

Car seizures at DUI checkpoints prove profitable for cities, raise legal questions

Sobriety checkpoints in California are increasingly turning into profitable operations for local police departments that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than catch drunken drivers.

Sobriety Checkpoints Catch Unlicensed Drivers

At a sobriety checkpoint in San Jose in the middle of January, tow truck drivers waited to take away the cars that had been seized by the police. Car seizures at DUI checkpoints prove profitable for cities, raise legal questions.

High Stakes in Macau: High-rollers, Triads and a Las Vegas Giant

Late last autumn, a Hong Kong jury convicted four men of a conspiracy to commit bodily harm and a fifth of soliciting a murder.

Post Mortem

Popular television shows portray death investigators as high-tech sleuths wielding the most sophisticated tools of 21st century science. An unprecedented collaborative investigation found a very different reality: A dysfunctional system in which there are few standards, little oversight and the mistakes are literally buried.

Special Report: The Macau Connection

The Sands, which owns the Venetian resort, saw its stock price hit an alarming low, below $2 a share, around the time Jacobs, a 47-year-old Harvard graduate with a boyish face and close-cropped silver hair, took a job heading Sands China, which runs the company’s Macau operations.

California DUI Checkpoints Impound 6 Cars For Every DUI Arrest Made

California traffic safety officials declared 2010 the “year of the checkpoint,” and they delivered on that pledge.

Money and March Madness

In March, the nation goes “mad,” as more than 140 million people tune in to watch one of the biggest sporting events on earth–the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But “March Madness” isn’t just a basketball tournament. It’s become big business, with television rights alone worth $10.8 billion over 14 years.

The Real Housewife of Abbottabad: What bin Laden’s Spouse Knows

The U.S. Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden and removed a bonanza of documents and flash drives may have left behind a vital source of intelligence: bin Laden’s wife Amal Ahmed al-Sadah.

Dispatch from IRE: Important Lessons from Investigative Collaborations

From the air-conditioned meeting rooms to the muggy poolside bar, everyone at this year’s Investigative Reporters and Editors conference was talking collaboration.

Three strikes ballot measure faces public safety politics

A pair of Stanford University law professors spent months this year writing ballot language to narrow, ever so slightly, California’s three strikes sentencing law.

The Informants

The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots–or leading them?

Better this World

The journey of David McKay (22) and Bradley Crowder (23) from political neophytes to accused domestic terrorists with a particular focus on the relationship they develop with a radical activist mentor in the six months leading up to their arrests.

Skeptics Cast Wary Eyes on Plan to Finance Cal Stadium Upgrade

Work is moving ahead of a $321 million upgrade of the University of California, Berkeley, football stadium, but critics raise questions about the financing plan.

Can Mainstream and Ethnic Media Collaborate?

While investigative collaborations are blossoming in newsrooms across the country, few are taking place between mainstream and niche media. As a result, news organizations could be missing the opportunity to reach a wider audience, tap into reporters’ talents, and uncover stories from perspectives not often examined.

Murdoch’s Scandal

The struggle over the future of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s reputation, and his family’s fortune.

The Real CSI

How reliable is the science behind forensics?

Ill Worker Fights Postal Service Over Toxic Mail

Jeffrey Lill has been bedridden since shortly after handling a leaking package from Yemen at Orlando’s postal sorting facility. But the U.S. Postal Service denies the incident ever happened.

Inside the Investigation of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson

His bet on casinos in Macau propelled him into the ranks of the mega-rich, but Adelson’s business methods have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators.