Recent investigations

Missing Money: A series on North Carolina tax loopholes
Twisted Truth: A series investigating former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline
Washed Away: North Carolina programs to offset water pollution wasted millions
Agents' Secrets: Junk science and tainted testimony in the SBI
Executive Privilege

A two-part series, and dozens of other reports, that showed how Gov. Mike Easley benefited while in office, including receiving a discounted waterfront parcel at the coast and getting involved in creating a job for his wife at N.C. State University.

Keeping Secrets

A three-part series that showed how North Carolina lawmakers limit personnel information from the public.

The Generous Assembly

A five-part series that examined how the state spends money.

Losing Track

A three-part series that detailed a state probation system in crisis -- and how it failed to supervise probationers.

Mental Disorder

A five-part series that chronicled the failure of mental health reform in North Carolina. The series and follow-ups revealed questionable deaths in state mental hospitals; more than $400 million in wasted government spending; and documented cases of patient abuse and neglect.


Speed Unlimited

A three-part series that showed how speeding kills people, but the court system and lawmakers do not treat speeders that way.

The Pulitzer Prize

In 1996, the News & Observer received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of reports that documented the rise of the hog industry in North Carolina and its widespread and lasting effects on people.

Sunshine central

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" -- Louis Brandeis, later a Supreme Court justice

At The News & Observer, we use public records to shine a light on injustice, waste and wrongdoing. So can you.

Here are some links to key state and federal records that are open to the public.

Conduct your own investigation

We use databases to track campaign contributions, look up criminal records, check lobbying expenses, find out the salary of a state employee and more. Many government meeting agendas are available, too. Below are some links. Are we missing any helpful ones? Send suggestions to