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.

Top Ten #ddj: 2016’s Most Popular Data Journalism Links

Here are the top data journalism tweets for 2016, per our NodeXL mapping: #PanamaPapers (@ICIJorg); #ddj awards (@GENinnovate); China stereotypes (@ForeignPolicy); U.S. poor & shrinking middle class (@NYTimes, @FT); Earth temps (@HomesAtMetacoda); Germany’s greenest cities (@morgenpost); & more.

Coronel: A Golden Age of Global Muckraking at Hand

Ten years ago, when I first moved to New York and gave my first lecture at the Columbia Journalism School, I told students that I believe we are at the dawn of a Golden Age of global muckraking. They were a great class, but they didn’t believe me. But look at where we are now.

The People and the Technology Behind the Panama Papers

The trove of files that make up the Panama Papers is likely the largest dataset of leaked insider information in the history of journalism. For ICIJ’s Data and Research Unit, it offered a unique set of challenges. The overall size of the data (2.6 terabytes, 11.5 million files), the variety of file types (from spreadsheets, emails and PDFs to obscure and old formats no longer in use), and the logistics of making it all securely searchable for more than 370 journalists around the world are just a few of the hurdles faced over the course of the 12 month investigation.

Against the Odds, Investigative Journalism Persists in Middle East

In the past year, a group of Arab journalists has been working secretly in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, and Yemen as part of a global network of investigative reporters mining the so called “Panama Papers.” They found that some Arab strongmen and their business partners are linked to offshore companies and bank accounts. What’s astonishing about this story is not that Arab dictators are going offshore to hide their wealth and evade sanctions. It’s that a community of Arab journalists is continuing to do investigative reporting in a region where there is increasingly little tolerance for accountability of any kind.

Behind the Panama Papers: A Q&A with ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle

“Hello,” wrote the anonymous source to a German newspaper, “this is John Doe. Interested in data?” Thus began what would soon become an international financial investigation into what are being called the Panama Papers—an investigation so massive that even whistleblower Edward Snowden, on Twitter, called it the “biggest leak in the history of data journalism.”

Are Panama Papers Really a Campaign Against Privacy?

We do agree with Ramon Fonseca about one thing: that “Each person has a right to privacy, whether they are a king or a beggar.” But that’s where our commonality with co-founder of disgraced Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca ends. This scandal isn’t about privacy. If anything, it’s about the need for transparency about how the powerful wield their power.

Investigative Journalism & Foreign Aid: A Huge Return on Investment

It’s not unusual for investigative reporting to lead to huge fines. Exposés of foreign bribery, money laundering, and tax evasion have led to billions of dollars recovered by governments worldwide. What is shocking about these numbers is how they compare to the paucity of foreign aid to investigative journalists where it is most needed — in developing and transitioning countries.