Mandy Locke

Wikipedia Commons/ Hkeely

 In an era where many consumers get their news from Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, how do complex stories of corruption, crime and power get told? And what are the challenges facing today’s shrinking cohort of investigative reporters? 

Chuck Liddy / News and Observer

It is the responsibility of the N.C. Department of Labor to protect the rights of workers.

But a new report from the News & Observer finds that state investigators for the department did not collect $1 million in wages that were owed to 617 workers in 2014.

Joseph Sledge, photographed at Pamlico Correctional Institution in Bayboro, N.C. Thursday, February 28, 2013.
ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com

In 1976, Joseph Sledge escaped from an Elizabethtown prison and within 24 hours, mother and daughter Josephine and Ailene Davis were murdered. 

In 1976, Joseph Sledge was accused of murdering a mother and daughter in Bladen County, NC. Because of the many limits of scientific evidence at the time, hairs found at the scene of the crime were identified as "Negroid." And because Joseph Sledge was a Black man, the hairs were linked to him. Over 34 years later, the use of DNA testing has been used to prove that those hairs were not Sledges'. 

Businesses in North Carolina with three or more employees are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if they can’t cover the cost of employees’ injuries outright. But, News & Observer reporter Mandy Locke discovered this law is seldom enforced and that thousands of employees are put at risk everyday on the job.