Blake is the former host of Investigative Reporters & Editors' podcast, which goes behind the scenes with investigative journalists worldwide. He also designed its logo, and drew episode art.


One Killer Algorithm | 24 min.

Thomas Hargrove spent decades reporting for the Scripps Howard News Service — until he was abruptly laid off in 2015. Then things got interesting: Court battles, destroyed records, and an algorithm that just might be able to spot serial killers.


Afflicting the Powerful | 21 min.

What happens when you investigate the leader of your own country? There’s perhaps never been a more relevant time to ask that question. On this episode, we’ll hear from two journalists who went up against some of the most powerful people and institutions in their own backyards. Rita Vásquez of Panama’s La Prensa and Vlad Lavrov, a staff writer for the Kyiv Post in Ukraine, discuss how they contributed to the massive Panama Papers investigation and offer tips for journalists wanting to afflict the powerful in any country.


Mobile Tech, Human Cost | 30 min.

If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re affected by the topic of our show today. The phone, computer or tablet you’re using to play this episode is likely powered by a lithium-ion battery. And one of the main ingredients in those batteries is cobalt. Much of our cobalt comes from the Congo, where miners often dig by hand in unsafe conditions to find and sell the valuable mineral. On this episode, Washington Post journalists Todd Frankel, Michael Chavez and Jorge Ribas discuss their work in the Congo and explain how they tracked the supply chain back to the U.S.


Fostering Disparity | 25 min.

Brandon Stahl has spent years reporting on foster care for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But at a meeting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he stumbled across a fact he’d never heard before: Minnesota places a higher share of American Indian kids into foster care than any other state. A year-long investigation with data journalist MaryJo Webster left them with a series of articles, some heartbreaking stories, and one big question.



Prison to the Pulpit | 26 min.

Investigations often don’t go according to plan. Dead-end data and stubborn sources are just some of the factors that can throw off a months-long reporting project. Other times, breaking news can put your work on the fast track to publication. That’s exactly what happened to the Tampa Bay Times when reporter Corey Johnson and colleague John Romano started digging into Henry Lyons, a powerhouse preacher who once swindled millions as the head of one of the largest religious organizations in the country. On this episode, we talk to Corey about how he was able to obtain church records and how breaking news forced the paper to make a detour from their original plans.


Hate, On the Record | 17 min.

After the 2016 election, reporters across the country began noticing what seemed like a wave of hate crimes, harassment and abuse. But with limited data, they weren’t sure if what they were seeing marked an increase. To solve that problem, more than 100 news organizations united to tell the story of hate in America. They’re led by ProPublica’s Rachel Glickhouse, the partner manager for the project “Documenting Hate.” On this episode, we talk to Rachel and Jessica Weiss, a Univision reporter participating in the collaboration.


Crisis in Coal Country | 22 min.

Federal regulators counted 99 cases of advanced black lung over a five-year period in the U.S. So why is it that hundreds of miners with the most serious stage of the disease are walking into clinics across Appalachia? That’s the question NPR’s Howard Berkes set out to answer last year. Howard ultimately found that the number of advanced black lung cases was at least 10 times the number generated by federal regulators. On this episode, Howard takes us through his reporting and explains how he found and counted cases the regulators missed.


The Needs of a Nation | 30 min.

If there's one word to describe Craig Harris and Dennis Wagner's Arizona Republic investigation, it’s diligence. They spent 18 months untangling a complex web of issues feeding the Navajo Nation's housing crisis, all while turning other stories. Their investigation put the Navajo Housing Authority and HUD under a microscope for consistently failing to provide the homes and renovations needed by thousands on the reservation.


Beyond the Border | 27 min.

How do you cover a topic as complicated and divisive as immigration? On this episode, Jay Root and Todd Wiseman take us through the Texas Tribune’s approach. Their “Bordering on Insecurity” project went beyond border walls and sanctuary cities to explain the deeper issues at play in the immigration debate. The reporters talked their way onto a crime scene in El Salvador, calculated how many people in Texas prisons were undocumented, and investigated what feeds the demand for immigrant labor.


Not-So-Special Education | 31 min.

If there’s a sweet spot in investigative journalism, Brian Rosenthal found it. His investigation into special education in Texas schools managed to pull back the curtain on a policy that was felt by thousands of students, teachers and parents – and was understood by none. Brian’s reporting for the Houston Chronicle revealed that state officials were arbitrarily blocking hundreds of thousands of children from the services they needed. On this episode, Brian talks about his investigation and its impact.