Joseph Shapiro

Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.

In this role, Shapiro takes on long-term reporting projects and covers breaking news stories for NPR's news shows.

Shapiro's major investigative stories include his reports on the failure of colleges and universities to punish for on-campus sexual assaults; the inadequacy of civil rights laws designed to get the elderly and people with disabilities out of nursing homes, and the little-known profits involved in the production of medical products from donated human cadavers.

His reporting has generated wide-spread attention to serious issues here and abroad. His "Child Cases" series, reported with PBS Frontline and ProPublica, found two dozen cases in the U.S. and Canada where parents and caregivers were charged with killing children, but the charges were later reversed or dropped. Since that series, a Texas man who was the focus of one story was released from prison. And in California, a woman, who was the subject of another story, had her sentence commuted.

Shapiro joined NPR in November 2001 and spent eight years covering health, aging, disability and children's and family issues on the Science Desk. He reported on the health issues of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and helped start NPR's 2005 Impact of War series with reporting from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. He covered stories from Hurricane Katrina to the debate over overhauling the nation's health care system.

Before coming to NPR, Shapiro spent 19 years at U.S. News & World Report, as a Senior Writer on social policy and served as the magazine's Rome bureau chief, White House correspondent and congressional reporter.

Among honors for his investigative journalism, Shapiro has received a Peabody Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, Sigma Delta Chi, IRE, Dart and Gracie awards and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Award.

Shapiro is the author of the award-winning NO PITY: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement (Random House/Three Rivers Press), which is widely read in disability studies classes.

Shapiro studied long-term care and end-of-life issues as a participant in the yearlong 1997 Kaiser Media Fellowship in Health program. In 1990, he explored the changing world of people with disabilities as an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow.

Shapiro attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Carleton College. He's a native of Washington, D.C., and lives there now with his family.

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11:52am

Thu June 30, 2011
Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America

The Child Cases: Lessons From Canada

Tammy Marquardt, now 39, spent 14 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Medical and legal experts often disagree on how to determine the cause of a child's unexpected death. One result is that parents sometimes are wrongly accused of murder and sent to prison. No place has uncovered a bigger problem — or dealt with it more directly — than Ontario, Canada. That change can be seen in the arc of Tammy Marquardt's life.

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5:28am

Tue June 28, 2011
NPR News Investigations

Flawed Child Death Probes Cause Wrongful Convictions

NPR News Investigations, ProPublica and PBS "Frontline" analyzed nearly two dozen cases in which people have been accused of killing children based on flawed work by forensic pathologists. Some of the accused were later cleared. Others are still in prison.

12:30am

Tue June 28, 2011
Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America

The Child Cases: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Ernie Lopez is serving a 60-year prison sentence for a crime he, and medical experts, said he didn't commit.
Courtesy of Frontline

Her name was Isis Charm Vas and at 6 months old she was a slight child – fifth percentile in height and weight.

When the ambulance sped her to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo on a Saturday morning in October 2000, doctors and nurses feared that someone had done something awful to her.

A constellation of bruises stretched across her pale skin. CT scans showed blood pooling on her brain and swelling. Blood was found in her vagina. The damage was so severe that her body's vital organs were shutting down.

Less than 24 hours later, Isis died.

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8:35am

Mon April 4, 2011
The Two-Way

Colleges, Universities Told To Do More To Prevent Sexual Assaults

The Obama administration today tells colleges and universities that they need to do a better job preventing sexual assault and then investigating when an assault is alleged.

The action responds to problems that were uncovered last year in an investigation done by NPR in collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity, an online investigative journalism organization.

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