A Bumper Crop of Award-Winning Investigations

‘Tis the season of media awards with lots of great investigative journalists — and great investigative stories — getting honored for their muckraking. We’ve picked some notable winners and finalists from the European Press Prizes, the Pulitzers, and the IRE Awards. Big congratulations to the winners and finalists, who have showcased grit and determination in exposing injustices and corruption across the globe. Despite all the challenges we face, muckraking has never been in better hands.

How Univision Revealed Flaws in Costa Rica’s Judicial System

Four years of work and 8,000 judicial rulings later, the team at Univision Data shows how in Costa Rica, a person is more likely to be convicted of a crime if they are assigned a public defense attorney than if they have a private one. Their methodology included web scraping, R and logistic regression — a statistical method common in social sciences but practically unexplored in newsrooms.

Indonesia’s Tempo Leads Asia into Cross-Border Collaborations

Newsrooms in Asia have traditionally worked alone, guarding their sources and tip-offs fiercely and keeping their stories and investigations in-house. However, after attending GIJN’s Asian Investigative Journalism Conferences and participating in the global Panama Papers investigation, Indonesia’s top newsweekly and leading investigative outlet Tempo have been inspired to pursue their own cross-border collaborations.

Taco Kuiper Award: “We need probing, fact checked, fearless journalism”

In a time where too many editors are perceiving investigative reporting as a luxury which they can no longer afford, South African journalists are still spending their time digging and probing to expose wrongdoing. As Suzanne Venter picked up her Taco Kuiper Award for the story on the mentally ill patient scandal, she cited “not giving up”, “putting in extra hours” and “speaking to everyone involved” as the keys to do good journalism.

How Reader Engagement Helped Unearth Shell Tape

De Correspondent, a Dutch member-funded journalism platform, leverages on the shared knowledge and experience of their 55,000 paying members as much as possible in their reporting. Here’s their 3-step workflow incorporating reader engagement, which helped them land their scoop on Shell.

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.