Best Investigative Stories in China — 2016

Despite growing state controls and censorship, Chinese journalists are still finding ways to publish groundbreaking investigative reports about issues that matter to the Chinese people. In this piece, GIJN China has selected nine enterprising stories that showcase the best of Chinese muckraking last year.

Investigating A Cyberwar

As the Syrian civil war has played out on the battlefields with gunshots and mortars, a parallel conflict has been fought online. In this interview, Al Jazeera’s Juliana Ruhfus details the methodology and challenges of her investigation into an “invisible” cyberwar and the process of transforming the investigation into an online game.

Great Journalism of 2016

This is a list of winning stories drawn from 16 major global or regional journalism awards given in 2016, which hopefully might serve as a source of inspiration for you to find original stories, to innovate in how to tell them, or to find a thread to develop a fresh angle. Take heart that the quality of work by solo reporters or fledgling investigative teams can sometimes stand out as much as that of huge media outlets.

Exposing the Cost of Police Misconduct in Chicago

In researching Settling for Misconduct, a story on settlements and judgments of police misconduct, the Chicago Reporter had to account for details from hundreds of county and federal court filings, identify thousands of officers named in civil complaints, tally hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary awards and input all these data in a proper database. They also had to build a slick web app to present the data to the public. Here is how they did it.

GIJN Member Civio: Fighting for Transparency in Spain

Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change. Their brainchild, Civio, was just recognized with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for its Medicamentalia investigation.

Blending Animation and Investigative Reporting

The Center for Investigative Reporting embarked on a new experiment last year: piloting an Animated Investigations collaborative course with the California College of the Arts. The course, which is intended for three semesters and a malleable work in progress, first taught students to animate existing Reveal investigations. However, it slowly transformed into a course where students identified their own underreported stories to animate.

How an Award-Winning Investigation Was Buried in Two Newsrooms

Earlier this month the Indian news site Newslaundry won a prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for a series of stories based on Right to Information (RTI) requests. The information — over 2,000 letters from Indian state-owned enterprises revealed how political leaders routinely misused up to US$15 million in public funds by asking for media ads or sponsorships for their pet organizations. Here’s the inside story of how the piece almost didn’t come to light.