New Mapping Tool: Easily Create Location-based Digital Stories

Mapbox released a new tool with a plug-and-play format for quickly publishing interactive experiences with high-quality map visuals. The storytelling template allows users to input copy, select elements of the map they want to feature for each “chapter,” and publish. The format -- sometimes called scrollytelling -- lets the user include as much context as needed, and to define the map locations for viewing. The template allows easy output and publication of datasets and can be used to compare demographic data in different cities, share reports about factory site output, highlight housing market trends, communicate interactive travel itineraries, and display migratory patterns.

Source: Mapbox

Posted on: November 18, 2019

Latin American Awards for Investigative Journalism Announced

The 2019 edition of the Javier Valdez Latin American Prize for Investigative Journalism recognized journalists from Quinto Elemento Lab (Mexico), Globo TV (Brazil) and the Center for Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico, with first prize to Quinto Elemento for its report “El país de las dos mil fosas" (The Country of 2,000 Graves). The awards are named for Javier Valdez, a renowned Mexican journalist who reported on drug trafficking in the region and who was shot and killed in Sinaloa on May 15, 2017. The award was given at the Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (Colpin, for its initials in Spanish) 2019, which was held in Mexico City from November 7 to 10.

Source: Knight Center

Posted on: November 15, 2019

Legal Challenge for Release of Russian Interference Report

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has launched legal action aimed at forcing the UK government to release a report into potential Russian interference in British politics. The Bureau has written to the prime minister demanding the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report. The letter makes clear that if he fails to release it, lawyers have been instructed to challenge that decision by way of an urgent application for judicial review. The contents of the 50-page report are believed to detail possible efforts by Russia to subvert British elections and interfere in UK politics, and include an examination of the closeness of oligarchs to the Conservative party. Several of the known ties between the Conservative party and wealthy Russian donors were first exposed by The Bureau.

Source: TBIJ

Posted on: November 14, 2019

US Libel Suit Targets CIR/Reveal

GIJN member Center for Investigative Reporting and its program Reveal are the target of a lawsuit that has cost the nonprofit $7 million in legal fees since early 2017, the group has disclosed. The suit, by international charity Planet Aid, claims that reporting on alleged mismanagement in its aid programs in Africa was defamatory. CIR is fighting the suit and calls it part of a broader US trend aimed at shutting down investigative reporting, "a manifest example of what deep-pocketed interests can do to a news organization even when the facts are on the journalists’ side."

Source: CIR/Reveal

Posted on: November 12, 2019

New Report: Freedom on the Net

Freedom House released their ninth report in their Freedom on the Net series this week. A comprehensive study in 65 countries around the globe, covering 87% of the world’s internet users, it tracks improvements and declines in internet freedom conditions each year. More than 70 analysts contributed to this year’s edition, using a 21-question research methodology that addresses internet access, freedom of expression, and privacy issues. In addition to ranking countries by their internet freedom score, the project identifies global trends related to the impact of information and communication technologies on democracy.

Source: Freedom House

Posted on: November 8, 2019

Protect Yourself from Pegasus Spyware

Pegasus is a spyware created for mobile devices which transforms a cellphone into a mobile surveillance station. Researchers have documented it being used to spy on journalists. The spyware gives the attacker the ability to monitor, record, and collect existing and future data from phones, including calls and information from messaging applications and real-time location data. The spyware is able to remotely activate the camera and microphone to surveil the target and their surroundings. Pegasus is designed to be installed on phones running Android, BlackBerry OS, and iOS without alerting the target to its presence. Read more on how to protect yourself from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Source: CPJ

Posted on: November 7, 2019

UN Dismisses Media Safety Proposals

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has rejected or deflected several proposals to combat legal impunity for crimes against journalists. Guterres has “no plans” to name a special representative on the safety of journalists, as requested by 72 media groups, according in a statement by a UN spokesperson. A statement also sidestepped a response on creating a UN criminal investigation unit to look into cases of violence against the media. This was one of several policy recommendations made by UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who investigated the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Callamard called the response "disappointing, unremarkable and unsurprising.” 

Source: eyeonglobaltransparency.net

Posted on: November 4, 2019

Engaging Audiences While Under Fire

The latest report from the Reuters Institute, What if Scale Breaks Community? Rebooting Audience Engagement When Journalism is Under Fire, focuses on how digital-born news media navigate audience engagement in the context of both rapid developments in a digital, mobile, and platform-dominated media environment and significant political pressure, including the “weaponization” of social media to target and harass independent news organisations and individual journalists, along with their audiences. The report includes fieldwork and interviews at Rappler (the Philippines), Daily Maverick (South Africa), and The Quint (India). Researchers Julie Posetti, Felix Simon, and Nabeelah Shabbir found that, in response to political attacks, and the risks associated with forms of “platform capture,” these news organizations are evolving, and are increasingly focused on forging deeper, narrower, and stronger relationships with audiences, emphasizing physical encounters, investment in niche audiences, and moving communities to action.

Source: Reuters Institute

Posted on: November 4, 2019

WhatsApp Says Israeli Firm Used Its App in Spy Program

Earlier this year, WhatsApp identified and shortly thereafter fixed a vulnerability that allowed attackers to inject commercial spyware into phones simply by ringing the number of a target’s device. This week WhatsApp sued the Israeli cybersurveillance firm NSO Group in federal court, claiming it was that company’s spy technology which was used on the popular messaging service in a wide-ranging campaign targeting journalists and human-rights activists. Citizen Lab — along with organizations such as R3D, Privacy International, EFF, and Amnesty International — has closely tracked how NSO Group’s surveillance technology has been turned against political dissidents, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders. Although the technology is marketed as a tool to assist governments in lawful investigations into crime and terrorism, Citizen Lab has identified dozens of cases where journalists, human rights activists and defenders, lawyers, international investigators, political opposition groups, and other members of civil society have been targeted with its spyware, called “Pegasus.”

Source: Citizen Lab

Posted on: November 1, 2019

How to Set Your Google Data to Auto-Delete

New York Times consumer tech writer Brian X. Chen recommends that users of Google products go into their settings and turn on options to auto-delete data that the company compiles about them. You can either set the data to self-destruct after a certain amount of time, or turn off tracking altogether. In May, Google added an option that lets users automatically delete data related to Google searches, requests made through its virtual assistant, and location history. This month, it’s expanded the auto-delete option to YouTube, which Google owns. The company says it plans to soon roll out an incognito mode for its Google Maps app as well.

Source: New York Times

Posted on: October 30, 2019