GIJN began in 2003 as a loose-knit network that supported the biennial Global Investigative Journalism Conference. From the start, the community was rooted in a collaborative and generous spirit, with journalists around the world sharing ideas, sources, and stories. Both the network and the conferences grew, and in 2012 GIJN’s nonprofit secretariat was launched to help manage the conference and the growing number of requests for help.
Since then, GIJN has received nearly 3,000 requests for assistance, from every region in the world. Most of them are for help on reporting tips, tools and techniques, and finding colleagues and sources; others want advice on startups and nonprofits, fundraising and fellowships, awards, safety, security, legal defense, data journalism – and the list of topics keeps growing.
“We realized that GIJN needed to go the next step to make our community’s expertise even more widely available,” said Mago Torres, GIJN’s Research Director.
To help deal with the demand, GIJN has created a formal Help Desk to better marshal its resources and tap the expertise of its global network. The staff reached out to hundreds of trainers and experts who have spoken at GIJN conferences to create an international database of experts.
“We’ve had an amazing response in the process to create the Help Desk,” said Torres. “We already have over 100 journalists from 43 countries speaking 26 languages open to give free advice to colleagues around the world.” Their expertise ranges from reporting techniques and data journalism methods to fundraising, awards, and nonprofit management.
At the same time, hundreds of tip sheets, how-to stories, and conference videos have been loaded into the GIJN Resource Center, which is integrated with the Help Desk.
“The Help Desk website directly links to our most-used resources,” explains Torres, “and we’re looking for good additions from our readers. We also have the Contact section where journalists can ask specific questions. If the GIJN staff can’t help, we’ll activate our experts network around the world. There’s nothing quite like this.”