ICIJ and BuzzFeed on Global Banks, Oligarchs, Criminals, and Terrorists

Leaked United States government documents known as the FinCEN Files have revealed how trillions in tainted dollars flow freely through major banks, swamping a broken enforcement system. The documents -- which were obtained by BuzzFeed and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists -- have been poured over by more than 400 journalists in 88 countries investigating the secret world of money laundering. Investigators report that a number of banks have defied money laundering crackdowns by moving staggering sums of illicit cash for shadowy characters and criminal networks.

Source: ICIJ

Posted on: September 22, 2020

AJ+ Must Register as ‘Foreign Agent’ in US

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) declared on Monday that the Al Jazeera Media Network -- the international news organization based in Doha -- "is an agent of the Government of Qatar." The DOJ has ordered the network’s US-based social media division, AJ+, to register as a foreign agent, a step the news outlet says will hobble its journalism. AJ+ acts “at the direction and control” of Qatar’s rulers, Jay Bratt, chief of the DOJ’s counterintelligence and export control section, wrote in a September 14 letter obtained by Mother Jones. The designation follows a years-long push by lobbyists hired by the autocratic government of the United Arab Emirates, which has long resented the critical coverage it receives from Al Jazeera.

Source: Mother Jones

Posted on: September 16, 2020

Submit for Global Award in 12 Languages

The True Story Award, a global prize for print and online reporting, is accepting entries for its second edition. The 2019 submission is now followed by articles published in the first eight months of 2020. The True Story Award 2020/21 provides recognition for exceptional written reports and commends articles for excellence in research, reporting, and relevance to society. Texts can be submitted in 12 of the world's most widely used languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Deadline for entries is 28 September 2020.

Source: True Story Award

Posted on: September 14, 2020

Suspect Cleared on Ordering Murder of Ján Kuciak

A powerful, politically-connected businessman accused of ordering the 2018 murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, has been acquitted by a court in Slovakia. A panel of judges ruled on Thursday that prosecutors had failed to prove Marián Kočner and his co-accused, Alena Zsuzsova, had ordered the assassinations. Kočner was ordered to pay a $5,912 fine after 60 bullets were found at his house but acquitted him of the murder charges, citing lack of evidence. Kuciak, 27, was the first journalist ever murdered in Slovakia’s 25 years as an independent state.

Source: ICIJ

Posted on: September 10, 2020

Video Is Best Performer on Social Media

Video is the best performing content type on every social platform, according to the people at SocialMediaToday, who have published an infographic with the help from the team at Renderforest. The data details how long your videos for different social media platforms should be, optimum dimensions and resolution, and covers TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, among others. "It's worth looking at how you can utilize video in your strategy," they say.

Source: SocialMediaToday

Posted on: September 3, 2020

Building a Tool Set for Media Collaboration

Selecting tools to manage the editorial process is especially challenging when trying to build a tool chain that works for multiple partners that can encompass freelancers, non-news partners, and newsrooms big and small. Take time to assess, test, and adopt tools, particularly when working with multiple partners. Avoid tools where the complexity of the tool itself outstrips the complexity of your project. Watch your costs. And when working collaboratively, consider everything from communication to editing, asset management to analytics. Seek the simplest solution that is appropriate and fitting for your project.

Source: Collaborative Journalism Handbook

Posted on: September 1, 2020

On Social Media, Only Some Lies Are Against the Rules

An outrageous conspiracy theory vilifying a political candidate. A meme encouraging shots of bleach to fend off COVID-19. An official-looking post falsely announcing that your polling place has moved.

Social media companies say they want to limit dangerous falsehoods while also protecting free speech. But the platforms’ rules on misinformation vary widely. And their policies are often “confusing, unclear, or contradictory,” according to one expert.

Source: Consumer Reports

Posted on: August 27, 2020

Google Maps is Getting Even More Detail

Google Maps is being redesigned to make it easier to distinguish between natural features in the environment, whether they’re mountainous ice caps, deserts, beaches, or dense forests. Google says the new maps will be available in the 220 countries and territories currently supported by Google Maps, “from the biggest metropolitan areas to small, rural towns.”

Source: The Verge

Posted on: August 20, 2020

New Tool Helps Curate Expert Insight on COVID-19 Preprints

The Preprint Sifter is a new Twitter tool that tracks down Tweets from leading epidemiologists, virologists, public health, and other experts who are posting and reviewing COVID-19 related preprint papers. Preprints are publications by researchers about preliminary observations and findings that have not yet been reviewed and verified by other scientists, a process called peer-review. The tool makes it simple and easy for anyone to access these sources of expert assessment in real time. By curating authoritative tweets on Twitter, and gathering and publishing curated collections once a week, the Sifter helps journalists and others understand the limitations of and potential errors in preprints.

Source: Harvard Global Health Institute

Posted on: August 18, 2020