In Arizona:

Arizona Republic, 12/8/13, “In Harm’s Way”

This four-part series starts with the main findings of an Arizona Republic analysis of the state’s wildfires, which found these forests to be “dangerously overgrown.” According to the Republic, this hasn’t hindered development. “Since 1990 [Arizonans] built more than 230,000 homes and other structures in wildfire-prone areas, creating risks for themselves and the firefighters called upon to protect them.”

The series features videos, photo slideshows and maps of both wildfires and the homes in their way. The analysis also looks at the cost of fighting fires, efforts to protect these areas, and the role of watersheds and climate change.

ABC15, 12/4/13, “Arizona state mental hospital puts patients in danger according to federal inspectors

In September ABC15 reported on the death of patient Christopher Blackwell at the Arizona state mental hospital, which triggered a federal investigation of the facility. The results of the investigation show that the hospital “puts patients in danger, has a dangerous shortage of staffing and lacks oversight,” according to ABC15.

Nationally:

NPR, 12/6/13, “Planet Money makes a t-shirt: The world behind a simple shirt, in five chapters”

The team at NPR’s Planet Money used a Kickstarter campaign to fund this ambitious look into the worldwide network needed to create a t-shirt. The series starts in U.S. cotton fields and factories then heads to Bangladesh and Brazil, where the raw materials actually become a shirt. Planet Money then follows the shirt on its way back to the United States and the costs of global shipping. The team tells the stories of the shirt, of course, but also the people who worked on it, the costs behind all parts of the process and the history of the various industries involved.

ProPublica, 12/6/13, “Federal Flood Maps Left New York Unprepared for Sandy—and FEMA Knew It”

ProPublica investigated FEMA risk maps of New York and New Jersey and found that they showed flaws which “understated the dangers in New York City’s low-lying areas.” These maps were used by officials and residents alike to decide where to purchase property and prepare for natural disasters. The investigation also includes a mapping component that breaks the data down to the street level.