Attendees at GIJN's Asian Investigative Journalism in 2018.
Cutting-edge tools and techniques for digging into autocracy, climate change, health, disinformation, organized crime, and attacks on journalists headline the 12th Global Investigative Journalism Conference — presented by investigative reporters and forensic experts on the front lines.
Held entirely online from November 1-5, the world’s premier international summit on watchdog reporting will also offer workshops and panels on visual investigations, online searching, podcasts, flight tracking, satellite imagery, and stress management. In addition, more than a dozen networking sessions will gather journalists from around the world for the kind of peer networking that has catalyzed so many award-winning collaborations from the prior 11 conferences.
More than a thousand journalists from 117 countries are have already signed up for GIJC21. The deadline for registration is October 25.
The conference will use a shifting global agenda with nearly 80 sessions scheduled for various time zones in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
This month’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to two investigative editors — Maria Ressa, co-founder of GIJN member Rappler in the Philippines, and Dmitri Muratov, co-founder of Russia’s Novaya Gazeta — provides further evidence that the world is looking to investigative journalism to make a stand for democratic accountability.
Among those speaking at GIJC21 are journalists who participated in stunning exposés involving the Pandora Papers, the Pegasus spyware scandal, and the attack on the US Capitol.
Attendees will also hear from investigative journalists now under fire from repressive regimes, including Roman Anin — editor of Russia’s IStories, whose apartment was raided this year — and Zimbabwe’s Hopewell Chin’ono, who has been arrested several times for his reporting in the past year.
The conference will also see the release of several new guides and tools:
- GIJN’s Reporter’s Guide to Investigating Organized Crime, with nine chapters covering everything from human trafficking and the illegal arms trade to cybercrime and mafia states, written by leading crime reporters around the world.
- GIJN’s Guide to Fact-Checking Investigative Stories, by the long-time head of Sweden’s premier TV newsmagazine.
- The Journalist Security Assessment Tool, a groundbreaking resource that provides newsrooms a roadmap for improving security against digital and physical threats. Developed in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the JSAT will be launched at a #GIJC21 security workshop.
As always, practical training in data journalism will take up more than a quarter of the GIJC21 schedule, with sessions on data analysis, database management, social network analysis, data visualization, mapping, cleaning, scraping, and coding with R and Python.
Many of the nearly 200 speakers will outline cutting-edge approaches for tackling seemingly impossible investigative problems. For instance, Alison Killing is an architect and geospatial analyst who has figured out how to use digital censorship as smoking-gun data. Killing and two colleagues at BuzzFeed won a Pulitzer Prize this year for exposing the scope of China’s mass detention of its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. In an essay for GIJN this year, Killing explained how she and her team used digitally blanked-out “tiles” on China’s Baidu Total View satellite mapping platform to find patterns of hidden facilities and, ultimately, the detention network.
Other speakers have investigated the very weapons used to persecute them. For instance, Siddharth Varadarajan, a founding editor of Indian nonprofit The Wire, was personally targeted for Pegasus digital surveillance — and then helped expose that same spyware as part of the Pegasus Project collaboration.
Other sessions will focus on groundbreaking investigations by Indigenous journalists in Australia, Canada, and the United States; plundering resources in the South Pacific; tracking wasteful exports of donated goods, and identifying the source of online disinformation campaigns.
So come and find your future partners and next big projects at GIJC21. Make contacts with colleagues across languages and borders. Get trained in the latest data and cyber skills. The bad guys went international a long time ago. It’s time for the good guys to catch up.
Note: Registration for the 12th Global Investigative Journalism Conference (#GIJC21) closes on October 25. The cost is $125 for five days of programming ($50 for students). To register for GIJC21, click here.
Rowan Philp is a reporter for GIJN. He was formerly chief reporter for South Africa’s Sunday Times. As a foreign correspondent, he has reported on news, politics, corruption, and conflict from more than two dozen countries around the world.