Journalism in the Public Interest

Dollars for Docs, Lead in the Water, and More in MuckReads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email?  Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds, ProPublica

For years, doctors have contested the claim that there is a connection between payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies and how they prescribe drugs. And until now, no clear proof otherwise. But a new ProPublica analysis finds that “even a meal can make a difference” in how drugs are prescribed.

Beyond Flint: Excessive lead levels found in almost 2,000 U.S. water systems, USA Today

The public health crisis in Flint has renewed scrutiny into the scope of America’s lead problem. There is no safe amount of lead in water, but across the country, a USA Today Network investigation reveals lead levels that exceed even the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion

Unlivable: How Texas fails farmworkers, Austin American Statesman

Texas law requires that housing for farmworkers be inspected and licensed in order to maintain safety and health standards. However, many of the Texas facilities housing migrant farmworkers elude government oversight – and when conditions are found to be deplorable, offenders are rarely punished.

Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream, Huffington Post Highline

Much attention is paid to sexual violence in America’s police forces and military ranks. This piece examines patterns of harassment and hostility toward women in a national parks and forest system known “for a certain benign progressivism.”

The Italian Job, Buzzfeed/BBC

In January, Buzzfeed and BBC published their investigation on match-fixing in tennis. Now, new files from an Italian investigation reveal a “worldwide” match-fixing ring with details on players allegedly involved and how they were paid.

High Schools Are Failing Girls Who Report Sexual Assault, Huffington Post

Federal investigations into how high schools are handling sex assault cases are on the rise, and advocates say many schools are in “the dark ages” when it comes to dealing with sexual violence on campus. The Huffington Post examined cases across the nation to find high schools often “fail to look into reports of student-on-student sexual assault cases at all.”

Juveniles in Maryland's justice system are routinely strip-searched and shackled, The Baltimore Sun

Even juveniles in Maryland's criminal justice system who are detained briefly for low-level offenses are often treated like "hardened criminals," according to this investigation. And some argue that the treatment further traumatizes children who are often among the most likely to end up in adult prison.

Free Lunch, Texas Observer

Chapter 313 — one of Texas' largest "corporate welfare" programs — was created in 2001 to "lure business" that might go elsewhere by giving companies hefty property tax breaks in exchange for their development. But the tax break has created a "peculiar" situation where school administrators have become middle-men between corporate giants and the state of Texas 

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