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Guides

Guide Resource

Online Research Guide with Henk van Ess

Online research expert Henk van Ess has created a seven-chapter guide that offers reporters step-by-step instructions on how to use social media search to perform investigations of people and subjects and he’s also created a detailed tutorial on using facial recognition technology and best practices for putting these tools together in verifying claims online.

Guide Resource

GIJN Reporter’s Guide to Investigating Digital Threats

Featuring expert advice from journalists and security analysts who are working to combat disinformation, malware, spyware, and trolling. The guide is part of an ongoing Digital Threats project, in which GIJN is working with Craig Silverman and a group of cutting-edge specialists to offer a unique cyber investigations online training program specifically tailored for investigative […]

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Updated Guide to Planespotting and Flight Tracking

Investigative journalists have long used information about airplanes to uncover corruption, follow wars, track government officials, and point out the levels of greenhouse gases emitted. GIJN has now revised and updated its reporting guide to planespotting and tracking flights around the world.

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Guide to Undercover Reporting

In countries without public record transparency rules or strong source protection laws, going undercover can be one of the few tools reporters have to reveal public interest stories.

Guide Resource

Resources for Women Journalists – A GIJN Guide

Women and nonbinary journalists often encounter obstacles, whether they’re out reporting or when they’re back in their newsrooms. GIJN has gathered resources for those who want to connect, handle harassment, and address discrimination issues. We also provide advice and tips from great women investigative journalists that may serve as inspiration. This guide was originally published […]

Guide Resource

Essential Steps for Journalists in Emergency Situations

Journalists receiving threats often have to flee their homes in a matter of a few hours. Conflicts, though, are often foreseeable and that’s why those in fragile regions should have an exit plan in place and crucial documents ready to go. We’ve listed what documents journalists should gather as well as which organizations support journalists with relocation.

Guide Resource

Business Tools

Here are tools to help small newsrooms with all the work that isn’t newsgathering: paying the bills; scheduling collaborative projects, and maintaining shared communication channels for team members; editing and posting a podcast; designing a graphic for social media and then seeing how well the post performs. With myriad products on the market all claiming […]

Guide Resource

A Journalist’s Guide to Avoiding Lawsuits and Other Legal Dangers

The practice of independent journalism is facing enormous challenges, ranging from authoritarian regimes implementing regressive laws that stifle speech to journalists being unable to make a living from their work. In order to meet those challenges, journalists can benefit from understanding the protections provided by international law.

Guide Resource

Investigating Femicide: A GIJN Guide

Femicide — the intentional murder of women because they are women — is a global problem. According to the UN’s latest estimates, 50,000 women and girls are killed each year by intimate partners or other family members. GIJN’s latest resource aims to help journalists understand what femicide is, find and understand the data available, and suggest which experts to interview.

Guide Resource

Investigating Sexual Abuse: An Updated Reporting Guide

The subject of sexual violence remains a sensitive if not taboo subject in much of the world and often goes unreported. Watchdog journalism has started digging deeper into sexual violence, but these investigations are still few relative to the estimated number of cases worldwide.

Guide Resource

Health and Medicine Guide – Table of Contents

A GIJN GUIDE Investigating Health & Medicine In this era of the pandemic, journalists worldwide suddenly find themselves on the health beat, trying to make sense of competing claims, varied specialists, and a science that seems to change by the day. Here’s an antidote: a comprehensive, global guide to investigative reporting on health and medicine. […]

Guide Resource

Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborations on investigative projects are increasingly popular. Working together with partners can multiply and maximize reporting resources and increase readership. Special skills can be acquired, such as analyzing data, creating visualizations, or preparing multimedia elements. There is a steadily growing amount of literature on how to do collaborative investigations — how to build trust, create […]

Guide Resource

Freelancing: Platforms That Earn Income for Writers 

There are a growing number of sites that help writers earn money while self-publishing. Whether these are right for you will require research. In this section, we are not exploring the many places that help create websites, newsletters and blogs, or looking into the plug-ins that permit sales and subscriptions. Nor are we getting into […]

Guide Resource

Digging into Disappearances: A Guide to Investigating Missing People and Organized Crime

Millions of people disappear every year, according to the International Commission on Missing People, and organized crime is involved in many of these cases. The violence associated with drug trafficking in particular, but also wildlife smuggling, resource theft, human trafficking, and other criminal rackets, plays a key role in many of the disappearances. Journalists act […]

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Guide to Citizen Investigations

Citizens can investigate, and they do — all over the world. Today we’re launching a new GIJN guide to help non-journalists investigate even more. It’s full of techniques used by investigative journalists that will be helpful to citizen investigators, too. These include searching the internet, finding out who owns corporations, investigating politicians, and much more.

Guide Resource

Citizen Investigation Guide

Curiosity fuels investigations, and there’s no monopoly on who can be curious. Citizens can investigate, and they do. GIJN provides some great examples below. This GIJN guide aims to help non-journalists investigate even more. The sections teach the techniques used by investigative journalists.

Guide Resource

GIJN/NAJA Guide for Indigenous Investigative Journalists

This guide is created to encourage Indigenous investigative journalists and to provide empowering tips and tools. Developed collaboratively by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), the guide explores eight key topics. The entries include background information, examples of investigative work, suggestions for stories, and resources for information. The […]

Guide Resource

Climate Crisis: Ideas for Investigative Journalists

This GIJN resource page aims to encourage more investigative reporting about the climate crisis. In Part 1, we begin with articles that provide concrete suggestions for investigative projects. In Part 2, we have collected challenging commentaries on how the media has handled climate change and what it should be doing better. In Part 3, we […]

Guide Resource

Planespotting: An Updated Guide to Tracking Aircraft Around the World

In 2019, GIJN first launched its guide to planespotting and flight tracking around the world. In the wake of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which led to a great migration of Russian oligarchs and their assets, as well as Elon Musk’s efforts to block bots from tracking planes in real time on Twitter, we’ve now […]

Guide Resource

Unlocking Laws to Set Information Free: GIJN’s Global Guide to FOI and RTI

More than 115 countries worldwide have laws that require officials to turn over public records. Of course, even in countries that have no laws it never hurts to ask. But there’s an advantage to using an access law — variously called freedom of information laws, access to information laws, right to information, and right to […]

Guide Resource

Land Ownership Records: So Useful, but Challenging to Find

Finding out who owns land can be tough. While property registration systems exist in almost all countries, the quality and availability of the information vary widely. World Bank experts estimate that only 30% of the world’s population has a legally registered title to their land, a widely quoted figure that Bank officials stress is a […]

Guide Resource

Researching Corporations and Their Owners

This resource was last updated in 2023 by GIJN’s Toby McIntosh and Emily O’Sullivan. Investigative journalists play a crucial role in holding corporations to account, and have revealed labor abuses, environmental violations, corporate impunity and other instances of malpractice through deep-dives into companies and their owners. However, government records on corporations often reveal only the […]

Guide Resource

Investigating the Supply Chain

Exposing the connections between the products we buy and the circumstances of their creation has proved to be fertile ground for investigative journalism. In seeking to understand the origins of our food, raw materials and manufactured goods, reporters have uncovered slavery, environmental crimes, corruption and human rights abuses. In this new GIJN resource page, we identify the investigative tools used for tracking the “supply chains” that link fields, oceans, mines and factories with the end products we buy.

Guide Resource

Investigating Supply Chains

Supply chains are networks between companies and their suppliers that produce and distribute a specific product. They may include providers of raw material, firms that convert the material into products, storage facilities and distribution centers, and retailers who bring the ultimate product to consumers. The products are as varied as the marketplace: clothing, electronics, vehicles, […]

Guide Resource

Tracking Ships at Sea

More than 90,000 commercial ships make up the world’s commercial fleet, their locations closely tracked and the resulting data available for free. GIJN has compiled a comprehensive list of resources to track ships (including big yachts and fishing boats). We link to four dozen valuable sources of information. It’s possible to learn where ships are, […]

Guide Resource

Migration Reporting: Sources, Guidelines, Contests

With an estimated 257 million migrants in the world, migration has emerged as one of the most contentious national and international issues. GIJN has gathered resources on this topic, including: Useful sources of factual information Reporting guidelines and media criticism Information on journalism prizes (and the winners) concerning migration Examples of recent and varied stories […]

Guide Resource

Human Trafficking and Slavery: A Guide to Resource Materials

Researchers estimate 40 million people exist in some form of slavery today, ranging from debt bondage and false contracts to sex trafficking, forced marriage and child labor. To help journalists cover human trafficking and slavery, GIJN has created this collection of resources including documents and reports, places to find expertise and advice on best practices in reporting and investigation.

Guide Resource

Covering the Extractive Industries

The extractive industries –the development and exploitation of oil, gas, and mining resources — is a critical topic for investigative journalists, particularly in developing countries. Revenues from natural resource extraction contribute substantially to GDP and in many cases make up the bulk of government revenue. The companies in the extractive sector are large and influential. How […]

Videos

Resource Video

GIJC23 Interview – Jane Lytvynenko: Digital Threats Course

In this short interview Jane Lytvynenko, an independent investigative reporter and an instructor for GIJN’s Digital Threats course, talks about how to start investigating online manipulation and also what challenges she faces when doing digital threats investigations. ———————– The Global Investigative Journalism Network is an international association of journalism organizations that support the training and […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies have taken the financial world by storm, yet few people truly understand them. Despite an industry raked by volatility and billion-dollar scandals, they have gained popularity not only among investors and anarchists, but also organized crime figures and cyber thieves looking to avoid the traditional financial system. Experts insist there are ways to investigate […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – Tracking Assets Around the World

In this global economy, it’s become easy to hide one’s assets overseas, whether you’re a Mexican crime boss or a Russian oligarch. Backgrounding an individual’s holdings is essential, but ferreting out front companies, tax dodges, and hidden assets can be a tough undertaking. Here are two of the best at doing this. ———————– The Global […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – How to Use Satellite Images for Investigation

Satellite images play a crucial role in many investigations. Reporters are using them to analyze battlefields and war crimes. Eyes from above also are invaluable for many kinds of climate change stories, such as to document methane emissions, drought, and sea level rise. Our expert panelists will discuss many possible opportunities for using satellite images. […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – Resources for Investigating Russia

Russia matters. A generation after the Cold War, Moscow still has thousands of nuclear weapons. By land mass, Russia is the world’s largest country, stretching from Europe to Asia and the Arctic, and it has influence over regional conflicts around the world — not just its disastrous invasion of Ukraine but in the Caucasus, Central […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – Plenary: Watchdog Journalism in the Age of Digital Subversion (Panel)

Following Ron Deibert’s keynote, we have an all-star panel of journalists on the front lines of the digital war being waged against watchdog media. Moderator Sheila Coronel will lead an hour-long discussion about what it’s like to have your newsroom invaded, your sources exposed, and your actions tracked every day. We’ve asked noted journalists from […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – What Does AI Have to Do with Investigative Journalism? Everything!

If we follow the headlines, AI is either going to kill us all or solve all our problems. Meanwhile, in the real world, algorithms deployed in hospitals, schools, courts, and even refugee camps are creating new forms of discrimination and exclusion among the most vulnerable citizens. Actual, life-changing harm, not doomsday futuristic scenarios. In this […]

Resource Video

GIJC23 – Plenary: Watchdog Journalism in the Age of Digital Subversion (keynote)

Our keynote speaker this year is Ron Deibert, director of the groundbreaking Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Deibert was among the first to sound the alarm about a global information security crisis — warning that the digital revolution would spark a new era of surveillance, censorship, and disinformation. Deibert’s interdisciplinary team at Citizen […]

Resource Video

Investigating Organized Crime in Sub-Saharan Africa

Organized crime and corruption are widespread, deeply rooted and growing in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with some of the world’s highest rates of poverty and inequality. Powerful criminal groups operate with the help of politicians, government officials and a “criminal services industry”, including corrupt banks. They make their money through the illegal narcotics trade, human […]

Resource Video

Investigating Organized Crime in the Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos intersect, is one of the world’s renowned centers of criminal activity. The region’s underworld economy turns over billions of dollars annually in narcotics production, human trafficking, wildlife smuggling, illegal mining, and more. Its cross-border illicit networks have global impact, working with criminal groups across […]

Resource Video

What Is Washington Doing in Your Country? – GIJN Masterclass

The US government engages with virtually every country in the world and in multiple ways. These can include Presidential and Congressional activity, foreign assistance, criminal investigations, public and private financial transactions, lobbying, arms sales — and much more. In this online Masterclass, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza is in conversation with GIJN’s David Kaplan. Mendoza […]

Resource Video

How to Investigate the World Cup

Football (soccer to Americans) is the world’s most popular sport and the World Cup one of its highlights, anticipated by millions, even billions around the globe. The next World Cup takes place in November-December this year in Qatar, based on a decision made in 2010 by football’s governing body, FIFA (the International Federation of Football […]

Chapter Guide Video Organized Crime Reporting Tools & Tips

Wildlife Trafficking: A GIJN Guide

The illegal trafficking of wild animals and plants is damaging biodiversity worldwide and spreading diseases. It’s an international story, with great opportunities for investigations in virtually every country. GIJN’s new guide encourages deep reporting about the subject with tips and tools for covering a global trade.

Resource Video

Nils Mulvad – The story behind the data

In GIJN’s Tip of the Day, Kaas & Mulvad editor Nils Mulvad talks about the basics of data journalism. For the full video on Effective Use of Data, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcE81ekvvHk&list=PLrCL-ZiCvKYtgT7nymTez7p_E_9thEH7E&index=3 Visit GIJN’s resource page on Data Journalism: https://helpdesk.gijn.org/support/solutions/articles/14000036505-data-journalism More from Nils Mulvad: https://www.kaasogmulvad.dk/ https://gijn.org/2016/05/06/25-tips-for-everyday-digging/ https://gijn.org/2015/02/25/drilling-down-a-quick-guide-to-free-and-inexpensive-data-tools/ https://gijn.org/2014/07/18/nils-mulvad-data-journalism-is-the-punk-of-our-times/ GIJN’s Global Guide to FOI here: https://gijn.org/2017/09/04/tips-and-resources-for-setting-information-free-gijns-new-global-guide/ Global Investigative […]

Climate

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Reporter’s Guide to Investigating Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets are truly an international climate change story with potential for global collaboration between journalists. This GIJN guide offers background, resources, case studies, and other reporting tips on this multi-billion dollar market.

Guide Resource

Climate Crisis: Ideas for Investigative Journalists

This GIJN resource page aims to encourage more investigative reporting about the climate crisis. In Part 1, we begin with articles that provide concrete suggestions for investigative projects. In Part 2, we have collected challenging commentaries on how the media has handled climate change and what it should be doing better. In Part 3, we […]

Guide Resource

Migration Reporting: Sources, Guidelines, Contests

With an estimated 257 million migrants in the world, migration has emerged as one of the most contentious national and international issues. GIJN has gathered resources on this topic, including: Useful sources of factual information Reporting guidelines and media criticism Information on journalism prizes (and the winners) concerning migration Examples of recent and varied stories […]

Data Journalism

Resource Tipsheet

Basic Data Journalism Tips for Editors

At the NICAR22 conference in Atlanta, Georgia, journalism trainer MaryJo Webster offered a series of basic tips for editors who have little to no data analysis skills.

Data Journalism Reporting Tools & Tips

My Favorite Tools: Venezuela’s Lisseth Boon on Design and Data Visualization

Since her arrival at Runrun.es, Lisseth Boon has conducted investigations on human rights violations, gold trafficking, illegal mining, and environmental crimes, many of them recognized with national and international awards. Her team has also worked with media platforms both inside and outside of Venezuela such as Consejo de Redacción and Connectas in Colombia, Convoca in Perú, and Mongabay. It has also participated in transnational collaborative projects such as the Panama Papers, Fincen Files, Swiss Connection, Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash), Vigila La Pandemia, and Tierra de Resistencia.

Resource Tipsheet

Data Journalism Training Courses

Looking to learn a new programming language or improve your spreadsheet skills? These online vendors offer free or low-cost online courses and video tutorials on a variety of topics and languages. Check GIJN’s YouTube page for the free webinars. The Social Data School, led by Cambridge Digital Humanities in association with the Minderoo Centre for […]

Resource Tipsheet

Visualization Tools

There are a plethora of programs available for data visualization. Some are very simple to use and require no coding, while others are more difficult to learn but offer greater flexibility and interactivity. Here are some of the most popular options for journalists. ArcGIS online is a tool from Esri to create and share online […]

Resource Tipsheet

Visualizing Data

Once you’ve done your analysis, you may want to create graphs, charts, or maps to display your results. Here are some resources to help you display your data in visually appealing, reader-friendly formats. Flowing Data offers a plethora of tutorials that will help you visualize your data. You’ll learn how to make cartograms, upset plots, […]

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Using R

R is a popular programming language most commonly used for data cleaning, statistics, and data visualization. Both the R program and R-Studio are open source. Below are some books and online resources to get you started. Many of the online vendors listed under “Training Courses” offer free or low-cost classes in R. Datajournalism.com offers this […]

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Mapping

If you have a dataset involving geographic locations, these tools and tipsheets can help you analyze your data using maps. The most commonly used mapping programs in newsrooms are ArcGIS from Esri (which has free options for journalists) and the open-source program QGIS. Some also are useful for visualizing, but we’ve added a separate list […]

Resource Tipsheet

Analyzing Data – Python

Python is one of the most popular programming languages for data journalists, and it is useful for scraping websites as well as cleaning and analyzing data. Here are some resources for learning to code in Python.  A Byte of Python is an online book dedicated to the basics of Python. It is targeted at those […]

Resource Tipsheet

Analyzing Data – SQL

SQL is a commonly used language for working with databases. It is particularly useful for working with larger datasets that can bog down Excel and for joining separate datasets for analysis. Several open-source versions are used in newsrooms, including Postgresql and DB Browser for SQLite.  Here are some tips on how to get started. This […]

Distribution & Promotion

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Maximizing Social Media in Your Newsroom: A Tipsheet on Distribution and Engaging Audiences

In order to break through the noisy internet landscape, you need to put in the work to build a long-term relationship with your readers, so that they remember your name and keep coming back. But what are the best platforms for you to use? And how can media organizations choose the apps that best reach their audiences? GIJN’s Rossalyn Warren has some tips.

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Freelancing: Safety and Security

Freelance journalists are often on their own when it comes to security, both physical and digital, but there are many helpful resources. Help on many topics is available in the resources listed below, and even more are included in these GIJN resource pages: Safety and Security Digital Security Legal Defense Emergency Aid for Journalists Working […]

Guide Resource

Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborations on investigative projects are increasingly popular. Working together with partners can multiply and maximize reporting resources and increase readership. Special skills can be acquired, such as analyzing data, creating visualizations, or preparing multimedia elements. There is a steadily growing amount of literature on how to do collaborative investigations — how to build trust, create […]

Guide Resource

Freelancing: Platforms That Earn Income for Writers 

There are a growing number of sites that help writers earn money while self-publishing. Whether these are right for you will require research. In this section, we are not exploring the many places that help create websites, newsletters and blogs, or looking into the plug-ins that permit sales and subscriptions. Nor are we getting into […]

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Freelancing: Media Liability Insurance

Freelance investigative journalists should seriously consider having insurance to protect against the risk of being sued. “Media liability” policies are shields against the financial costs of litigation over libel, slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, plagiarism, copyright infringement and more. Insurance can cover potentially very large legal bills and monetary damages due to adverse court judgments […]

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Freelancing: Risk Insurance

Having insurance while on risky assignments may be a prudent investment and less expensive than you fear. Get the publisher to pay for it if possible. What to insure for? Classic travel problems: missed flights, lost documents, etc. Medical issues: sickness, injury, etc. (COVID-19 coverage is excluded.) Evacuation, if necessary. Kidnapping. Disability insurance. Repatriation of […]

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Freelancing: Contracts and Negotiation

Contractual Considerations Contract negotiations for investigative articles should cover several issues that aren’t as relevant for, say, a feature about cute kittens. There are some fairly universal points on which to concentrate, including: A definition of the scope of work and how changes will be handled. The terms of payment. Who owns the rights. For […]

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Freelancing: Places to Pitch Story Ideas

There are no platforms designed specifically for journalists to sell investigative story ideas, but a few websites may prove useful. To find a publisher for an investigative idea, most reporters suggest alternative routes, such as doing research on possible outlets and making personal contacts. (See more about networking in the section on pitching stories.) However, […]

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Freelancing Investigative Journalism: How to Pitch

Selling freelance investigative journalism proposals is a lot like selling other stories, but harder. There just aren’t enough media outlets willing to engage in watchdog reporting. For more on Distribution, Promotion, and Freelancing, see our GIJN Guide. And pitching investigations which may have uncertain and controversial outcomes is especially challenging, requiring the establishment of mutual trust. […]

Fundraising

Resource Tipsheet

Grants and Fellowships for Journalists

Seeking a chance to improve your skills and expand your world? Tired of the everyday routine in your newsroom? We regularly update our guide to grants and fellowships. These are programs of special interest to investigative journalists around the world. There are plenty of short-term and long-term opportunities, both for staff and freelance reporters. Follow […]

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Crowdfunding: Case Studies

How the Correspondent crowdfunded $2.5m in 29 days Engaged Journalism Journalism crowdfunding platform PressPatron named hottest media industry tech start-up by NZ Marketing Magazine New Zealand Herald Platform uses crowdsourcing to fund journalism where press freedom is weak Columbia Journalism Review After crowdfunding success, Swiss magazine Republik charts a course to “reclaim journalism as a […]

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Fundraising: More Reading

Media philanthropy in Germany on the rise ‘When money is offered, we listen’: foundation funding and nonprofit journalism Fundraising like reporting: How eight nonprofit newsrooms majorly increased their major gifts Journalism Funders Confidential: Monthly newsletter with insights into some of the major forces currently shaping philanthropy and journalism in Europe 50,000 first-time donors? Here’s how […]

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Fundraising: Essential Reading

Raising money to build and scale up a nonprofit investigative journalism organization is challenging. Grants and donations from philanthropic organizations and individuals are one source of funding. Here are tips and ideas from fundraising experts: NEW: MediaDev Fundraising Guide (2021) Tipsheet: Fundraising Research Resources, by Bridget Gallagher, from a presentation at GIJC19. Inside Philanthropy: Who’s […]

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Crowdfunding for Journalists

At a time when the media is struggling to support serious journalism, investigative reporters increasingly are turning to crowdfunding. The field is growing quickly and success stories abound, but the challenges are many. For our latest resource page, GIJN has gathered tips and strategies from the best sites and blogs, and done a guide to global and regional crowdfunding sites most suited for journalists. Let us know what we’ve missed!

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Prospecting and Cultivation: A Fundraising Primer

One of the leading requests GIJN receives is for help with fundraising. With the global spread of nonprofit media, journalists are looking for new ways to raise funds and structure the “business side” of their news organizations. As a starting point, GIJN asked for advice from fundraising expert Bridget Gallagher, who helped launch the GIJN secretariat and has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits.

Getting Started in Investigative Journalism

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Working with Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers – insiders who expose corrupt or illegal activities – are an important source of information for journalists everywhere. From their position inside governments, companies, and other organizations, they can provide crucial leads, evidence, and sometimes “smoking guns” that expose everything from fraud and waste to criminal conspiracies and war crimes. It’s important for journalists […]

Guide Resource

A Journalist’s Guide to Avoiding Lawsuits and Other Legal Dangers

The practice of independent journalism is facing enormous challenges, ranging from authoritarian regimes implementing regressive laws that stifle speech to journalists being unable to make a living from their work. In order to meet those challenges, journalists can benefit from understanding the protections provided by international law.

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Tips for Building a Database for Investigations

Whether investigating human rights abuses, money laundering, or even public officials’ conflicts of interests, reporters are increasingly developing their own databases for investigative projects. Here are a series of tips drawn from the experiences of a number of international journalists and from the author’s personal experience gathering and creating data sets for investigative stories.

Resource Tipsheet

Investigative Journalism Manuals

Investigative Journalism Data Journalism Teaching and Training Other Useful Guides Spanish Only Looking for tips, tools, and tutorials? The below guides focus on investigative journalism and provide case studies and examples from around the world. Most are available for free, unless indicated otherwise. You can also find our guide to the guides in Chinese and […]

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Guide to Citizen Investigations

Citizens can investigate, and they do — all over the world. Today we’re launching a new GIJN guide to help non-journalists investigate even more. It’s full of techniques used by investigative journalists that will be helpful to citizen investigators, too. These include searching the internet, finding out who owns corporations, investigating politicians, and much more.

Resource Tipsheet

Perspectives on Interviewing Techniques

Advice on the subject of interviewing comes in many flavors — not only for investigative journalists, but for police officers, employers, lawyers, social workers, and others. What’s clear is that the interview is one of the most trusted and effective tools in the investigator’s toolbox. GIJN has prepared a sampling, mainly from journalists, but with […]

Resource Tipsheet

Editing and Managing

Crafting Investigative Reportage Into Dramatic Narratives, by Vinod K Jose, Executive Editor of The Caravan, India’s premier magazine for narrative and investigatory journalism. This GIJC19 presentation discusses “ideation,” editorial entry points and reportorial conduct. Also see PowerPoint that includes examples. Using Story-Based Inquiry to Focus, Manage and Build was the topic at GIJC17 for Mark […]

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FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

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Guides to Finding Expert Sources

Looking for sources? Finding experts in a particular field is a good place to start for many stories. GIJN took a look at various guides to expert sources. After cutting those that are outdated, too specialized, or tools of the PR industry, we found a handful worth consulting. Here are six services with functioning, reliable databases used by journalists searching for expert sources.

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What Is Investigative Journalism?

For a look at current trends, see also The Future of Investigative Journalism. While definitions of investigative reporting vary, among professional journalism groups there is broad agreement of its major components: systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the unearthing of secrets. Others note that its practice often involves heavy use of public […]

Getting the Story Out

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Investigative Audio: 8 Tips from Podcasting Innovators

In a GIJC21 session on investigative podcasts, journalists and producers who have created award-winning podcasts shared ideas on how to leverage this audio storytelling technique to better connect with the audience and tell impactful stories.

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Business Tools for Newsrooms: A GIJN Guide

This guide was produced thanks to support from the Google News Initiative. It was researched and written by Talya Cooper, a researcher based in New York who has worked as the archivist of the Edward Snowden archive at The Intercept and as archive manager at StoryCorps. She is the co-author, with Alison Macrina, of “Anonymity,” a […]

Resource Tipsheet

Mobile Journalism Guide: How To Get Your Mojo Workin’

COVID-19 Update: Reporting during the pandemic poses some new risks. Here are some relevant resources.  Marc Settle, a BBC Academy smartphone trainer, prepared this article: Coronavirus’ impact on mobile journalism Nico Piro, mobile journalism trainer and special correspondent at Italy’s RAI, shared lessons here: Lessons from Italy: best practices for field reporting during the coronavirus […]

Resource Tipsheet

Drone Journalism

Turbulent with a chance of data: Journalism’s drone-powered futures: A guide to storytelling with UAVs, by Monika Sengul-Jones in datajournalism.com. Tips on Drone Journalism by Raffy Tima, a senior news producer and news anchor with GMA Network Manila, Philippines, as presented during GIJC17. Six Tips for Succeeding at Drone Journalism, a guide prepared by Johnny […]

Resource Tipsheet

Investigative Photography: Supporting a Story with Images

There’s nothing like a good photographer to bring alive an investigative story. One of the worst crimes that investigative journalists commit is spending months on a great story, and then only minutes on the presentation. Working with photojournalists who know their craft (along with designers and graphic artists) can be one of the real pleasures of putting a big project together. We’re fortunate that a new handbook on using photography for investigations was just published: Investigative Photography: Supporting a Story with Pictures, by CJ Clarke, Damien Spleeters, and Juliet Ferguson.

Human Rights

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Tips for Reporters Seeking to Reveal the Scale of Inequality

Data on the gap between rich and poor, privileged and marginalized, tends to be nuanced or hard to find. But amid warnings that the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the gap between rich and poor, investigative reporters need new tools to show the scale and implications of these gaps. From audiographs to drone imagery, and featuring tips from South Africa and Brazil, we share some of these methods here.

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Why Journalists in Autocracies Should Report as If They’re in a Democracy

In a RightsCon session hosted by GIJN, three editors shared survival strategies for independent newsrooms in authoritarian nations, as threats to the press, and institutions of accountability, grow around the world. They described a form of journalistic judo, where journalists can find advantages in the very tactics used to repress them.

Guide Resource

Investigating Femicide: A GIJN Guide

Femicide — the intentional murder of women because they are women — is a global problem. According to the UN’s latest estimates, 50,000 women and girls are killed each year by intimate partners or other family members. GIJN’s latest resource aims to help journalists understand what femicide is, find and understand the data available, and suggest which experts to interview.

Guide Resource

Investigating Sexual Abuse: An Updated Reporting Guide

The subject of sexual violence remains a sensitive if not taboo subject in much of the world and often goes unreported. Watchdog journalism has started digging deeper into sexual violence, but these investigations are still few relative to the estimated number of cases worldwide.

Guide Resource

Digging into Disappearances: A Guide to Investigating Missing People and Organized Crime

Millions of people disappear every year, according to the International Commission on Missing People, and organized crime is involved in many of these cases. The violence associated with drug trafficking in particular, but also wildlife smuggling, resource theft, human trafficking, and other criminal rackets, plays a key role in many of the disappearances. Journalists act […]

Guide Resource

GIJN/NAJA Guide for Indigenous Investigative Journalists

This guide is created to encourage Indigenous investigative journalists and to provide empowering tips and tools. Developed collaboratively by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), the guide explores eight key topics. The entries include background information, examples of investigative work, suggestions for stories, and resources for information. The […]

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GIJN’s Resource Center: LGBTQ Resources

The areas for journalistic inquiry into LGBTQ issues are as broad as the communities themselves, ranging from shifting demographics and healthcare to hate crimes and discrimination. To help boost investigative reporting on these pressing issues, GIJN has assembled a list of key resources for journalists worldwide.

Human Trafficking

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Investigating Human Trafficking, an Evil Hidden in Plain Sight

Human trafficking is a persistent and pervasive crime around the world, and a critical and impactful area for journalists to investigate. In this GIJN Original, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza gives her tips for digging into the subject.

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10 Case Studies in Human Trafficking

Full guide here. العربية Below we profile 10 stories of trafficking and forced labor common throughout the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Domestic Workers: Trafficking and Unscrupulous Recruitment Indian Women Duped by Recruiters. Indian women are regularly trafficked through the United Arab […]

Guide Resource

Human Trafficking and Slavery: A Guide to Resource Materials

Researchers estimate 40 million people exist in some form of slavery today, ranging from debt bondage and false contracts to sex trafficking, forced marriage and child labor. To help journalists cover human trafficking and slavery, GIJN has created this collection of resources including documents and reports, places to find expertise and advice on best practices in reporting and investigation.

Investigating Institutions

Resource Tipsheet

Tips to Uncover the Spy Tech Your Government Buys

In June, a French court indicted executives from two surveillance companies on charges of complicity in torture in Libya and Egypt, following revelations by journalists about their alleged technology sales to repressive regimes. In a series of interviews, investigative reporters shared tips and tools that newsrooms around the world can use to uncover the spyware and monitoring systems their governments are buying.

Guide Resource

Health and Medicine Guide – Table of Contents

A GIJN GUIDE Investigating Health & Medicine In this era of the pandemic, journalists worldwide suddenly find themselves on the health beat, trying to make sense of competing claims, varied specialists, and a science that seems to change by the day. Here’s an antidote: a comprehensive, global guide to investigative reporting on health and medicine. […]

Guide Resource

Researching Corporations and Their Owners

This resource was last updated in 2023 by GIJN’s Toby McIntosh and Emily O’Sullivan. Investigative journalists play a crucial role in holding corporations to account, and have revealed labor abuses, environmental violations, corporate impunity and other instances of malpractice through deep-dives into companies and their owners. However, government records on corporations often reveal only the […]

Guide Resource

Investigating Supply Chains

Supply chains are networks between companies and their suppliers that produce and distribute a specific product. They may include providers of raw material, firms that convert the material into products, storage facilities and distribution centers, and retailers who bring the ultimate product to consumers. The products are as varied as the marketplace: clothing, electronics, vehicles, […]

Guide Resource

Covering the Extractive Industries

The extractive industries –the development and exploitation of oil, gas, and mining resources — is a critical topic for investigative journalists, particularly in developing countries. Revenues from natural resource extraction contribute substantially to GDP and in many cases make up the bulk of government revenue. The companies in the extractive sector are large and influential. How […]

Investigative Techniques

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Online Research Guide with Henk van Ess

Online research expert Henk van Ess has created a seven-chapter guide that offers reporters step-by-step instructions on how to use social media search to perform investigations of people and subjects and he’s also created a detailed tutorial on using facial recognition technology and best practices for putting these tools together in verifying claims online.

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Updated Guide to Planespotting and Flight Tracking

Investigative journalists have long used information about airplanes to uncover corruption, follow wars, track government officials, and point out the levels of greenhouse gases emitted. GIJN has now revised and updated its reporting guide to planespotting and tracking flights around the world.

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Guide to Undercover Reporting

In countries without public record transparency rules or strong source protection laws, going undercover can be one of the few tools reporters have to reveal public interest stories.

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Four Quick Ways to Verify Images on a Smartphone

GIJN has updated our popular step-by-step guide on verifying images to help find out whether the photo you saw on social media is the real thing. Try out some simple-to-use free tools — including TinEye, Google Reverse Image Search, Photo Sherlock, and Fake Image Detector — to check the source of a picture and whether it has been manipulated.

Organized Crime

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Investigating Organized Crime in Sub-Saharan Africa

Organized crime and corruption are widespread, deeply rooted and growing in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with some of the world’s highest rates of poverty and inequality. Powerful criminal groups operate with the help of politicians, government officials and a “criminal services industry”, including corrupt banks. They make their money through the illegal narcotics trade, human […]

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Investigating Organized Crime in the Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos intersect, is one of the world’s renowned centers of criminal activity. The region’s underworld economy turns over billions of dollars annually in narcotics production, human trafficking, wildlife smuggling, illegal mining, and more. Its cross-border illicit networks have global impact, working with criminal groups across […]

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Video Resources for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption

To share investigative best practices and other lessons learned from our most recent conference, GIJC21, we are releasing a series of videos from the event’s many seminars, panels, and workshops. The first installment in this series focuses on how investigative reporters can better dig into organized crime and corruption around the world.

Guide Resource

Digging into Disappearances: A Guide to Investigating Missing People and Organized Crime

Millions of people disappear every year, according to the International Commission on Missing People, and organized crime is involved in many of these cases. The violence associated with drug trafficking in particular, but also wildlife smuggling, resource theft, human trafficking, and other criminal rackets, plays a key role in many of the disappearances. Journalists act […]

Guide Resource

Human Trafficking and Slavery: A Guide to Resource Materials

Researchers estimate 40 million people exist in some form of slavery today, ranging from debt bondage and false contracts to sex trafficking, forced marriage and child labor. To help journalists cover human trafficking and slavery, GIJN has created this collection of resources including documents and reports, places to find expertise and advice on best practices in reporting and investigation.

Reporting Tools & Tips

Guide Resource

Online Research Guide with Henk van Ess

Online research expert Henk van Ess has created a seven-chapter guide that offers reporters step-by-step instructions on how to use social media search to perform investigations of people and subjects and he’s also created a detailed tutorial on using facial recognition technology and best practices for putting these tools together in verifying claims online.

Safety & Security

Resource Tipsheet

A Guide to Journalism Safety Organizations

The figures are grim for our colleagues around the world. Since 1992, 978 journalists have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 60 percent have been murdered with impunity; that is, no killer was ever brought to justice. And today, 232 journalists are in prison worldwide, many for doing what would […]

Guide Resource

Essential Steps for Journalists in Emergency Situations

Journalists receiving threats often have to flee their homes in a matter of a few hours. Conflicts, though, are often foreseeable and that’s why those in fragile regions should have an exit plan in place and crucial documents ready to go. We’ve listed what documents journalists should gather as well as which organizations support journalists with relocation.

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GIJN Launches Journalism Security Assessment Tool

Increasingly, investigative journalists are being hacked, doxxed, harassed, and assaulted by external threats, so GIJN — with generous support from the Ford Foundation — is proud to launch a first-of-its-kind safety guide for newsrooms at GIJC21: the Journalist Security Assessment Tool (JSAT).

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Three “Musts” for Today’s Investigative Journalist

Journalism is by definition investigative. However, the depth and scope of possibilities to unearth and bring to light wrongdoings of public interest has increased manifold, thanks to the way the Internet has been evolving in the last decade. To be a true investigative reporter today, it is indispensable to fine-tune the old philosophy with three new practices: be Open, Systematic and Safe.

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Digital Self-Defense for Journalists: An Introduction

Digital self-defense is becoming an important part of the journalistic toolkit. Beyond risks to everyone’s digital lives—webcam hacking, email breaches, identity theft—people who work in newsrooms have even more at stake. Newsrooms are some of the biggest targets in the world for state-sponsored digital attacks, as well as more routine threats.

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Abraji’s Security Manual for Covering Street Protests

Covering street protests involves risks that every journalist should be prepared for. Knowledge, experience, and planning can help reduce these risks. Our colleagues at Abraji (The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism) have particular experience with this — between May 2013 and May 2014, there were at least 171 cases of violations against media staff covering […]

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Abraji’s Security Manual for Covering Street Protests

Covering street protests involves risks that every journalist should be prepared for. Knowledge, experience and planning can help reduce these risks. To help journalists worldwide, Abraji has developed a guide, packed with tips and anecdotes from professionals who have experienced risky incidents while covering protests. Here’s an excerpt, covering how to prepare and how to act during the event.

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Digital Security

Español  Journalists are being strongly urged to protect their communications and information from growing threats. Yet several studies show that most of us in the media, despite believing the danger is real, are not adopting basic protections. The Rory Peck Foundation issued a Digital Security Guide aimed at freelancers, stressing that “even taking small, simple […]

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Safety and Security

The figures are grim for our colleagues around the world. Since 1992, more than 1,400 journalists have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Well over 890 of them have been murdered with impunity; that is, no killer was ever brought to justice. And today, more than 274 journalists are in prison worldwide, […]

Sustainability

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How Independent Journalism Is Filling Gaps in the European Media Landscape

A new generation of intrepid news organizations is rising across Europe – one that is strongly committed to serving its audience and democracy alike through public interest journalism. A new report by Netzwerk Recherche outlines this emerging innovative media scene and takes a closer look at how this New Sector reclaims journalistic terrain that traditional media has abandoned.

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Demonstrating Investigative Impact: More Reading

American Press Institute Metrics for News Gauging the Global Impacts of the ‘Panama Papers’ Three Years Later How to build a metrics-savvy newsroom Big Impact: A Pocket-Guide to the Financial Benefits of Major Investigations How an impact and reach scorecard helps Carolina Public Press gut-check its journalism What Makes a Good Metric? Media change deniers: […]

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Demonstrating Investigative Impact: Essential Reading

Investigative journalism shines a light into dark corners of human, corporate and government behaviour and prompts corrective action and so, better societies. Yet it is hard to prove this impact – increasingly necessary as donors want to know the impact of the work they sponsor. Here are ways to show and measure your value, and […]

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Crowdfunding: Case Studies

How the Correspondent crowdfunded $2.5m in 29 days Engaged Journalism Journalism crowdfunding platform PressPatron named hottest media industry tech start-up by NZ Marketing Magazine New Zealand Herald Platform uses crowdsourcing to fund journalism where press freedom is weak Columbia Journalism Review After crowdfunding success, Swiss magazine Republik charts a course to “reclaim journalism as a […]

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Other Sources of Income: Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

The media and the Blockchain – hype or hope? Can Blockchain Save Journalism? Civil to sell millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency to fund a global network of newsrooms Blockchain – it’s early days but never too early for publishers to get involved Goodbye, Denver Post. Hello, Blockchain Blockchain: What’s in it for the news […]

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Other Sources of Income: Micropayments

Why micropayments aren’t dead … yet How to make your digital readers want to pay — from micropayments to social media subscriptions Global Editors Network In Winnipeg, micropayments aren’t generating big money, but they’re serving as a top-of-the-funnel strategy Like the changing of the seasons, publishers (again) turn to micropayments  

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Other Sources of Income: Podcasts

8 ways publishers are making money from podcasts The Publisher’s Guide to Podcasting: Report Download Radio & Audio Grantmaking: Reaching New Audiences Through Old Platforms The Future of Podcasting is Subscription — Lessons from the History of Media How the Guardian is making podcasts pay off With Big Stars and Paid Subscriptions, Luminary Aims to […]

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Commercial Revenue: Syndication, Publishing Partnerships, Rights Sales

Investigative journalism startup uses mobile gaming to finance its future The News Industry Could Learn a Thing or Two from Netflix CIR began pitching investigative stories to newspapers. It’s working on Hollywood now, too 101 Reporters connects journalists across India with media organizations that need their stories BuzzFeed has a new business model, so it’s […]

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Audience Engagement and Revenue: Events

The art of hosting meaningful engagement events Todd Milbourn and Lisa Heyamoto Tips on Holding Live Events That Support Journalism How to Launch a Successful Events Business How To Use Community Media And Storytelling Events To Attract Donors To Your Nonprofit The New York Times is ramping up conference calls for subscribers that are run […]

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Audience Engagement and Revenue: Newsletters

To keep readers after COVID publishers see hope in newsletters and podcasts How Indiegraaf helped launch 6 local news outlets during COVID-19 Newsletters Are Crucial for Reader Loyalty. Here’s How to Make the Most of Them. Not a newsletter monthly guide Newsletter Strategy Positioning Brief How newsletter innovations are driving publisher revenue  What’s News in […]

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Commercial Revenue: Advertising

Broken internet ad system makes it easy to earn money with plagiarism US digital advertising exceeded $100B in 2018 Tech Crunch Exploring alternative funding models for the web Mozilla Guide to Advertising Technology Tow Center Journalists are rightly suspicious of ad tech. They also depend on it. CJR What’s New in Publishing 50 ideas for making […]

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Commercial Revenue: Subscription/Paywalls – Case Studies

Why The Information’s paywall strategy is so successful How many paying subscribers do you need to keep a money-losing magazine afloat? Arkansas Life finds out  Nieman Lab What Product-Market Fit in Subscription Journalism Looks Like The Ken 2018 has been a record-breaking year for journalism Kickstarters (though only about 1 in 5 actually get funded) Nieman […]

Teaching & Training

Resource Tipsheet

Investigative Journalism Manuals

Investigative Journalism Data Journalism Teaching and Training Other Useful Guides Spanish Only Looking for tips, tools, and tutorials? The below guides focus on investigative journalism and provide case studies and examples from around the world. Most are available for free, unless indicated otherwise. You can also find our guide to the guides in Chinese and […]

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Online Methods to Investigate the Who, Where, and When of a Person

Online research is often a challenge for traditional investigative reporters, journalism lecturers and students. Information from the web can be fake, biased, incomplete or all of the above. Offline, too, there is no happy hunting ground with unbiased people or completely honest governments. In the end, it all boils down to asking the right questions, digital or not. This chapter gives you some strategic advice and tools for digitizing three of the biggest questions in journalism: who, where and when?

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The Research Desk: Tips and Tools

The Research Desk with Gary Price is back, with its second installment, featuring a roundup of new tools — the WHO’s MiNDBANK database, with documents from 170 countries; ePSIplatform, on open data in the EU & worldwide; new UN report on wastewater; NATO archives expand; and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.

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Abraji’s Security Manual for Covering Street Protests

Covering street protests involves risks that every journalist should be prepared for. Knowledge, experience and planning can help reduce these risks. To help journalists worldwide, Abraji has developed a guide, packed with tips and anecdotes from professionals who have experienced risky incidents while covering protests. Here’s an excerpt, covering how to prepare and how to act during the event.

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Investigative Apps: Useful Tools, if Rough on the Edges

There are a lot of websites out there that can help you find hidden information. But there are also software applications and browser plug-ins that can be of use to investigative journalists. Created by up-and-coming developers and enthusiasts on a budget, many of these programmes are rather unsophisticated, so don’t expect slick interfaces and 24-hour help desks. That said, if you can get past the jargon and rough-and-ready feel, you’ll find nifty little apps that can help you discover nuggets of information which would be unavailable through conventional means.

Other Resources

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Working with Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers – insiders who expose corrupt or illegal activities – are an important source of information for journalists everywhere. From their position inside governments, companies, and other organizations, they can provide crucial leads, evidence, and sometimes “smoking guns” that expose everything from fraud and waste to criminal conspiracies and war crimes. It’s important for journalists […]

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Emergency Aid for Journalists

Our colleagues are under threat around the world. Since 1992, more than a thousand journalists have been killed, and thousands more are victims of assault, intimidation, imprisonment, and persecution. A number of organizations provide emergency support to journalists in danger. Assistance ranges from medical and legal aid to moving a targeted journalist out of the country. If you are in genuine danger, don’t hesitate to reach out — there is help available.

Resource Tipsheet

Grants and Fellowships for Journalists

Seeking a chance to improve your skills and expand your world? Tired of the everyday routine in your newsroom? We regularly update our guide to grants and fellowships. These are programs of special interest to investigative journalists around the world. There are plenty of short-term and long-term opportunities, both for staff and freelance reporters. Follow […]

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Awards for Investigative Journalists

Here’s GIJN’s guide to prominent journalism awards competitions around the world. We have looked for awards that are of special interest to investigative journalists, that are open to international entries, and that are global or regional in scope. Be sure to double-check the deadlines for submission. Some sites don’t list the deadlines far in advance, […]

Guide Resource

A Journalist’s Guide to Avoiding Lawsuits and Other Legal Dangers

The practice of independent journalism is facing enormous challenges, ranging from authoritarian regimes implementing regressive laws that stifle speech to journalists being unable to make a living from their work. In order to meet those challenges, journalists can benefit from understanding the protections provided by international law.

Guide Resource

Investigating Femicide: A GIJN Guide

Femicide — the intentional murder of women because they are women — is a global problem. According to the UN’s latest estimates, 50,000 women and girls are killed each year by intimate partners or other family members. GIJN’s latest resource aims to help journalists understand what femicide is, find and understand the data available, and suggest which experts to interview.

Guide Resource

Investigating Sexual Abuse: An Updated Reporting Guide

The subject of sexual violence remains a sensitive if not taboo subject in much of the world and often goes unreported. Watchdog journalism has started digging deeper into sexual violence, but these investigations are still few relative to the estimated number of cases worldwide.

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Guides to Finding Expert Sources

Looking for sources? Finding experts in a particular field is a good place to start for many stories. GIJN took a look at various guides to expert sources. After cutting those that are outdated, too specialized, or tools of the PR industry, we found a handful worth consulting. Here are six services with functioning, reliable databases used by journalists searching for expert sources.

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Investigative Journalism Organizations

Here are nonprofit and related organizations worldwide that work in support of investigative journalism, listed by region. It is a diverse group that includes nonprofit newsrooms, online publishers, professional associations, NGOs, training institutes, and academic centers in nearly 50 countries. For inclusion, GIJN applied the following criteria: the group is structured as a nonprofit or […]

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