Watchdogs in the Public Interest

Fort Wayne News-Sentinel article titled, "At Massage Parlors, Image Fits." Written by Tony Horwitz and Ellen Bugher.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Magazine, Newspaper, Book

"Washington DC taxicabs: 20 tested, all 20 fail WUSA9 undercover overnight sting" - Nadia Pflaum and Russ Ptacek - WUSA 9


". . .We started at midnight, when the inspectors with the DC Taxi Commission go off-duty. When our investigation ended at 4:00 a.m., we had not found a single driver who was in compliance with DC Taxis Commission's rulebook. . . "

"WUSA9 undercover, overnight taxi sting nets ten times more violations than reported, on average, by District inspectors" - Russ Ptacek and Nadia Pflaum - WUSA 9


". . . Unlike DCTC inspectors, WUSA9 tested undercover and began at midnight when normal inspector shifts end, leaving taxis unsupervised for eight hours.'Your statistical analysis is not sufficient,' said Ron Linton, Chairman of the DC Taxi Commission, after watching the results of that taxi sting. 'You don't know what percentage you found.' . . ."

"Anthropologist's 'Dick Tracy moment' plays role in arrest of suspected kidney trafficker" - Daily News


"The Brooklyn man arrested Thursday for dealing in black-market kidneys was identified to the FBI seven years ago as a major figure in a global human organ ring. Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum's name, address and even phone number were passed to an FBI agent in a meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan by a prominent anthropologist who has been studying and documenting organ trafficking for more than a decade. . ."

"Reporter's notebook: Going undercover inside Bangladesh garment factory" - Holly Williams - CBS News


". . .To get a candid view of Bangladesh's garment factories, we posed as buyers. We told the managers we met that we wanted to source clothes as cheaply as possible.What we saw inside some of their factories was hair-raising. In one four-story facility we noticed there were hardly any fire extinguishers. On a floor where several hundred workers toiled over sewing machines, we counted only two extinguishers. Signs on the wall marked where they should have been. . ."

"Scarecrow Cops" - Dick J. Reavis - Texas Monthly

Sometimes the only difference between an ex-con and a security guard is a uniform.


". . .Early in February I went to Houston to test hiring and training practices in the private security industry, by applying for security guard jobs under paper-thin pretenses. My objective was simple: to get employment offers from companies across the industry. Over the course of three weeks I applied for work at eleven companies, always telling the sort of lies that a felon might tell. . ."

"Peddling Dreams" - Alix M. Freedman - Wall Street Journal

A Marketing Giant Uses Its Sales Prowess to Profit on Poverty -- Thorn EMI's REntal Centers Push Sofas, Rings, VCRs tothe Poor at High Rates -- Repos and 'Couch Payments'


"Along the way, thought, its high-pressure methods have sometimes turned coercive and abusive, according to accounts by about 50 former store employees and company executives who have left within the past 18 months . . . "

"Contaminated Water" - Joel Grover and Matt Goldberg - KNBC-Los Angeles


"The U.S. EPA says drinking water is unsafe if it has 15 parts per billion of lead or more. At Marvin Elementary, one fountain KNBC tested had 32 parts per billion. . . . "

"Sky Harbor Security Risks" - Lisa Fletcher - KNXV-TV Phoenix Transcript and Clips


". . .You would think five years after 9/11 airports would be very secure. What your about to see may have you thinking twice about the level of security Sky Harbor Airport is providing. During the day it seems fine..rigorous screening, and thorough checks bu the transportation security administration. At night...late at night, as you'll see, it's a completely different story. . ."

"Access Denied" - Chris Davis and Matthew Doig - Sarasota Herald-Tribune


"Public officials lied to, harassed and even threatened volunteers who were using a law designed to give citizens the power to watch over their government. In six counties, volunteers were erroneously told that the documents they wanted didn't exist. . . . "

"Conflicting Laws, Opinions, Stir Questions About Death Records" - Kyle Niederpruem - Indianapolis Star and News


"The State of Secrecy" - Kyle Niederpruem - Indianapolis Star and News

Sunday, February 22, 1998

From the Evansville version: "Seven Indiana newspapers sent personnel to all 92 counties in August seeking public records including death certificates, crime logs and reports, school coach salaries and school board minutes. "The results were startling.. . . ."

"At Massage Parlors, Image Fits" - Tony Horwitz and Ellen Bugher - Fort Wayne News-Sentinel


"Horwitz agreed to undress at all places visited and consented to nude displays by masseuses. At no point did he solicit sexual acts. When such acts were initiated by a masseuse. Horwitz extricated himself from the situation as quickly as possible."