Investigative Journalism

“…to change the world for the better.”

December 16, 2021

[Graphic: Smaranda Tolosano]

Global Investigative Journalism Network


Nobel Winner Muratov: Be an Investigative Reporter, and Fight for a Better World
By Rowan Philp

“Asked why young people should become investigative reporters, Muratov’s response was simple: to “change the world for the better.”

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Russia’s leading independent outlet, Novaya Gazeta, said: “The award today goes to the entire community of investigative journalists.”

Four days later — in a webinar interview with GIJN — Muratov set out the true stakes for investigative journalists with whom he shared that high honor: “Investigative journalism is the most important mission for humankind, because investigative reporters are not letting people steal the future from us.”

“At the time of his interview with GIJN, Muratov was visiting radio journalism colleagues in his birth place — the town of Samara, on the Volga River.

Asked whether the international spotlight of the Nobel Peace Prize afforded independent media in Russia some added protection against state persecution, Muratov said he didn’t know. However, he said the award had transformed Novaya Gazeta into a perceived sanctuary for civic problems.

“There’s much more work for me now, because I personally get hundreds of emails — people are requesting help with medicine, court hearings, apartments, and childhood diseases,” he said. “This award has turned into a new job for me, and, to be honest, I’m happy with that.”

Muratov said the impact from investigative reporting — from fired officials to changed policies and influencing voters — is not only important for improving lives, but also for preserving the careers and energy of the journalists.

For Muratov, the talent and motivation for effective watchdog reporting is likely already present in many autocratic societies — and said young people in authoritarian countries should consider that their talents might be wasted in government service. The key, he says, is for journalists to have each other’s backs.

“It’s solidarity,” he said. “What is my hope? — I hope to cooperate with the international network of investigative journalists, like GIJN.”

“…building a public infrastructure where everyone is trained to “commit acts of journalism.”

Darryl Holliday, co-founder of and director of the news lab at City Bureau, a civic journalism nonprofit in Chicago

He writes: “The solution to the current crisis in journalism isn’t simply to save jobs, but to willingly and intentionally democratize the means of journalistic production.” Holliday’s vision is one of faith: in the potential of journalism, and the idea that our fellow community members want to join in. “The profit-driven side of local journalism may be in freefall, but infrastructure for a more public, participatory, community-driven, trustworthy, accurate, and representational news ecosystem is readily available.”

Holliday’s vision is one of faith: in the potential of journalism, and the idea that our fellow community members want to join in. “The profit-driven side of local journalism may be in freefall, but infrastructure for a more public, participatory, community-driven, trustworthy, accurate, and representational news ecosystem is readily available.” And in the end, what other choice do we have? 

—Savannah Jacobson, story editor

Journalism is a public good. Let the public make it.
Ivory-tower journalism has failed. It’s time we focus on building public infrastructure where everyone can find, factcheck, and produce civic information


True investigative journalism.

October 14, 2021

Outrage Grows Over Jailing of Children as Tennessee University Cuts Ties With Judge Involved

When It Costs $53,000 to Vote

Mr. Winter is a staff photographer on assignment in Opinion. Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.

‘Earlier this year we asked Floridians whose voting rights had been denied because of a criminal conviction to sit for photographs, wearing a name tag that lists not their name but their outstanding debt — to the extent they can determine it. This number, which many people attempt to tackle in installments as low as $30 a month, represents how much it costs them to win back a fundamental constitutional right, and how little it costs the state to withhold that right and silence the voices of hundreds of thousands of its citizens. The number also echoes the inmate identification number that they were required to wear while behind bars — another mark of the loss of rights and freedoms that are not restored upon release.

This is the way it’s been in Florida for a century and a half, ever since the state’s Constitution was amended shortly after the Civil War to bar those convicted of a felony from voting. That ban, like similar ones in many other states, was the work of white politicians intent on keeping ballots, and thus political power, out of the hands of millions of Black people who had just been freed from slavery and made full citizens.

Even as other states began reversing their own bans in recent years, Florida remained a holdout — until 2018, when Floridians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to nearly everyone with a criminal record, upon the completion of their sentence. (Those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense were excluded.)

Democratic and Republican voters alike approved the measure, which passed with nearly two-thirds support. Immediately, as many as 1.4 million people in the state became eligible to vote. It was the biggest expansion of voting rights in decades, anywhere in the country.

That should have been the end of it. But within a year, Florida’s Republican-led Legislature gutted the reform by passing a law defining a criminal sentence as complete only after the person sentenced has paid all legal financial obligations connected to it.

Even relatively small debts can be permanently disenfranchising for people who simply don’t bring in enough money to pay them off. General Peterson, 63, served a total of three and a half years on three convictions and believes he still owes around $1,100 in fees. He is retired and using his Social Security check to make monthly payments of $30 on the debt. “You want to help me pay it? That’d be fine with me,” he said.’

The vacuum created by the collapse of independent local news in America has given rise to ghost papers, partisan hackery, unverified rumors, and worse. Yet, new cohorts of news organizations are taking root to fill that void, often supported by philanthropy, public contributions, and new creative means of sustainability. At stake is the information that all citizens need to participate in democracy. S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media, a network of Black-and Brown-owned media organizations sharing content, distribution, and revenues, and Stewart Vanderwilt, president and CEO of Colorado Public Radio, discuss the changing landscape of news gathering with Vivian Schiller, executive director of Aspen Digital at the Aspen Institute.📰+Keeping+local+news+alive+matters++Here+s+why&utm_campaign=AIN+Newsletter+10+14+21


Panama Papers Fallout Continues

December 6, 2018

The first criminal charges relating to ICIJ’s 2016 investigation, the Panama Papers, have been filed in the United States. Four men were charged with money laundering and fraud.

“These defendants went to extraordinary lengths to circumvent U.S. tax laws in order to maintain their wealth and the wealth of their clients,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. There is plenty of detail for those who want it in the department’s indictment.

The Panama Papers investigation was based on a trove of 11.5 million files from inside Mossack Fonseca that were leaked to reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier at German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with ICIJ. The investigation, done in collaboration with more than 370 reporters working for 100 media outlets, exposed the offshore holdings of world political leaders, links to global scandals, and details of the hidden financial dealings of fraudsters, drug traffickers, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more.

The Guardian

Meryl Streep will take the lead in The Laundromat, a Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller about the Panama Papers.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner will potentially star alongside Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, who are both in early talks to join, in the fact-based tale. The Panama Papers was a set of leaked documents that shared financial information of offshore entities, revealing fraud, tax evasion and attempts to avoid international sanctions.

The film will be based on Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite, a book by journalist Jake Bernstein. It will be adapted by Scott Z Burns, a frequent Soderbergh collaborator whose credits include Contagion and Side Effects.

Clean Web Design