NewMembersJan2016

GIJN Welcomes 12 New Members from 11 Countries

The Global Investigative Journalism Network is delighted to welcome to 12 new member organizations this week. Among them are an Indian newsroom famed for its undercover work, a Peruvian data journalism pioneer, a Transylvanian muckraking nonprofit, and the training arm of a top Nigerian investigative daily. We are particularly pleased to welcome for the first time groups from Botswana, in southern Africa; the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan; and Vietnam in Southeast Asia.

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Despite Challenges, S. African Muckraking Pushes Forward

A boom in investigative journalism in South Africa seems to be winding down as media houses slash budgets to balance their books to continue to pay dividends to shareholders. “South Africa has had something of a golden era in investigative reporting, with as many as four teams at different institutions dedicated to it,” said Professor Anton Harber, head of the journalism department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

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Why the Open Government Partnership Needs a Reboot

OGP needs a new organizational structure with new methods for evaluating national commitments. There aren’t enough support unit resources to manage the expansion. We have to rethink how we manage national commitments and how we evaluate what it means to be an open government. It’s just not right that countries can celebrate baby steps at OGP events while at the same time passing odious legislation, sidestepping OGP accomplishments, buckling to corruption, and cracking down on journalists.

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8 Lessons on Investigative Journalism from “Spotlight”

Spotlight is without a doubt the most compelling, most insightful movie on investigative journalism since All the President’s Men, the 1975 classic on the Watergate Scandal. This is great story-telling that takes viewers inside the Spotlight investigative team at The Boston Globe as it dived into one of the more notorious crimes of our time – the systematic tolerance and cover-up of thousands of cases of pedophilia by the Catholic Church. At a time when investigative journalists are under fire around the world, here is a public tutorial on why in-depth, watchdog reporting is so important to social accountability and democracy.

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Do Russian Media Get a Boost from Bots on Twitter?

Hundreds of what appear to be Twitter bots are artificially inflating the retweet and favorite counts of tweets with links to articles from some of Russia’s top news agencies. Lawrence Alexander discovered that these same fake accounts have previously mass-posted links to scores of pro-Kremlin LiveJournal blogs—themselves part of a network of thousands. In this piece, which originally appeared on Global Voices, Alexander walks us through his research process.

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A Global Assault on Nonprofits

In an era of increasing hostility to independent media, one of the bright spots is the rapid expansion of journalism nonprofits around the world — training, promoting, and reporting on stories that otherwise would never see the light of day. But a dangerous trend now threatens the progress our colleagues have made on press freedom and watchdog reporting: a crackdown on nonprofit organizations. Restrictions on international funding account for more than a third of the measures since 2012. With that in mind, we are pleased to reprint this important story from the Journal of Democracy, detailing the global scope of the backlash.

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European Parliament Taken to Court by Journalists from all EU

For the first time ever journalists representing all European member states have teamed up to file complaints with the European Court of Justice against the European Parliament (EP). The institution refused to grant the journalists’ requests for access to information related to how the 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) spend their allowances. Journalists filed complaints with the Court of Justice on 13 November.

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Creative Ideas for Funding Independent Journalism

From South Africa to Brazil; from Yangon to Kabul, I heard media editors sing varying versions of the same lyrics: I feel the earth move under my feet. The media business model has now cracked all over the world. Subscriptions to newspapers and magazines drop by the thousands; traditional advertising revenue vanishes into thin air; and digital advertising revenue is poor and only seems to work for web giants. Media have certainly learnt how to increase the value of Facebook or Twitter in their quest to fish readers for their stories, but have plenty of trouble in finding how to increase the value of their own outlets.