Special Report

Journalist spotlight: Alison Frankel on recent special report

Last week, a Reuters Special Report by Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye revealed how medical-device litigation in the U.S. has lent momentum to a little-known industry: companies that profit from surgeries on poor plaintiffs. After examining cases involving transvaginal mesh, the subject of the biggest onslaught of personal-injury litigation since asbestos, Reuters revealed that some surgical-funding outfits facilitate victims’ surgery by purchasing their medical bills at a deep discount from the surgeon and placing a lien for the full amount against the plaintiffs’ settlements. The liens sometimes spiral to as much as 10 times what private insurers or government programs would pay for the same procedures. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Alison offers a look at the reporting behind the story.

Q. How did you and Jessica get started on the story?

A. In January, Johnson & Johnson filed a brief claiming that women were being improperly solicited by offshore call centers to join the massive litigation over pelvic mesh. According to J&J, these call centers seemed to have access to some women’s medical records. Others were supposedly telling women that if they lied about their medical history, they could get a $40,000 settlement. Jessica and I both follow products liability litigation closely and neither of us had ever seen allegations like this. We decided to work together to find out everything we could about the litigation over pelvic mesh.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)

An Illinois homeowner’s tax bill – Graphic of the day

Mary Beth Jachec lives in a three-bedroom house in Wauconda, Illinois and pays real estate tax to 20 different local government authorities for a total payout of almost $7,000 a year. Today’s graphic shows a breakdown of her 2014 tax bill from a Reuters special report on the multitude of local authorities soaking Illinois homeowners in taxes.

real estate tax

Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

Journalist spotlight: Clare Baldwin on revealing special report


Last week, a Reuters Special Report detailed how Sony sanitized the new Adam Sandler movie “Pixels” to please Chinese censors. The Hollywood studio changed the film for global audiences by removing an attack on the Great Wall as well as other politically sensitive plot points, internal emails show. The goal: increase the film’s chances of being shown in the huge China market. The story, by Hong Kong correspondent Clare Baldwin and enterprise reporter Kristina Cooke, was widely cited by press, including Time.com, Gawker, Gizmodo, Chinatopix, Shanghaiist, among many others. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Clare offers a look at the reporting behind the story.

Q. How did you and Kristina get started on the story?

A. We are constantly looking for new ways to tell the China story. Movies are a good lens through which to look at it, as they are such a big part of popular culture.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)

Foreign labor in Subaru’s supply chain – Graphic of the day

Around 260 companies supply parts for popular Subaru vehicles like the Forester pictured below. Many of these companies use asylum seekers and foreign trainees at their plants in Japan. Subaru has won over U.S. drivers with its socially responsible image. But another key to its success is a supply chain that relies on hundreds of migrant workers who are far cheaper to employ than Japanese laborers. Read the full Reuters Investigates special report and check out the labor breakdown in today’s graphic.


Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

Into the shadows – Graphic of the day

A new Reuters Investigates special report covers how intense lobbying of regulators, many of them veterans of the industry themselves, helped ensure that practices the Dodd-Frank law was meant to stop would remain in place. Today’s graphic from the report shows how securitizations are increasingly going into opaque and lightly regulated private markets.

Into the shadows

Read more about how Wall Street captured Washington’s effort to rein in banks.

Reuters on data and computational journalism

The Water's Edge

By Maurice Tamman, Editor in Charge, Data & Computational Journalism

What is data and computational journalism? And why is Reuters doing it?

Let’s start by saying what it isn’t.

It’s not doing a Google search and copy and pasting a couple of numbers from a PDF; it’s not looking up an indictment online; it’s not opening a spreadsheet attached to an email, sorting a column and finding the largest or smallest value. Although those are all useful skills to have. At its core, data journalism is reporting, albeit a different kind from door-stopping politicians or cold-calling bankers. But it’s just as hardcore and relentless, and requires a unique combination of reporting instincts and technical skills. And that has created new capabilities that let us extend Reuters journalism in fresh and important ways.

In the last few months, Reuters has published three remarkable sets of stories that illustrate how we have become one of the global leaders in this journalism specialty. Our data journalism team members, working alongside other reporters, created compelling narratives that formed the flesh around a backbone of data reporting. In each example, they told stories around subjects that had never been told so precisely and with data that had largely been ignored.

Reuters Investigates: Water’s Edge


President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

REUTERS/John Pryke

The President’s 2016 Budget, which was released on February 2nd, focuses on a strategy to strengthen the middle class and help working families. A mixture of old and new provisions, it estimates that it achieves about $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction, primarily from reforms to health programs, the tax Code and immigration. Earlier this weekCheckpoint released a special report titled, President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget. Our special report discusses the individual and business tax provisions in the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget in detail.

Download the special report

Hedge fund positions and oil prices in 2014 – Graphic of the day

The causes of the oil price plunge, and what happens now, are discussed in our new report, A Brief History of the Oil CrashToday’s graphic, which comes directly from the report, tracks hedge fund positions and oil prices throughout 2014.

A Brief History of the Oil Crash

Download the full report.

Ears to “The Echo Chamber”

Reuters investigates

“The Echo Chamber”, a recent Reuters investigative report on a small group of lawyers and its outsized influence at the U.S. Supreme Court, has been making its own reverberations.

The series by Joan Biskupic, Janet Roberts and John Shiffman (read our journalist spotlight with Joan Biskupic here) reported that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the court over a nine year period accounted for 43% of the cases the court agreed to hear.

It has been featured by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, Financial Times, Esquire and SCOTUS Blog.


Euro Disney – Graphic of the day

Despite owning a theme park which has become Europe’s top tourist destination, with about 14 million visitors per year, Euro Disney has recorded losses in 16 of its 23 years since it opened its park in 1992. A lot of the trouble at Euro Disney stems from the firm’s origins and ownership structure. Read the Reuters special report to see why Euro Disney has been a nightmare for French Investors.

euro disney

Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.