Exposing the Hidden Impact of Police Dog Maulings in the US

Four news outlets teamed up to reveal that police dogs bite and maim thousands of people a year, an investigation that was one of five finalists for the 2021 Goldsmith Prize. Here the journalists involved explain how they overcame some of the biggest challenges in reporting the series, and give tips for journalists creating databases for their own investigations.

Investigating Criminal Justice

In early 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples expressed serious concerns about the systems of justice for Indigenous persons, announcing plans to write a thematic report and inviting public input. Although stories about singular crimes play out daily in the media, it is rarer to see examinations of systemic problems within the criminal justice system.In her call for comments, Victoria Tauli Corpuz cited these “main concerns”:

The lack of effective recognition of, and support for, their systems of justice by local, regional, and national level authorities. Ongoing discriminatory and prejudicial attitudes against Indigenous peoples and their systems of justice. The lack of effective methods of coordination between their justice systems and the State ordinary justice authorities. She intends to address these issues “through an examination of international standards regarding Indigenous customary justice, access to justice, and the right to a fair trial, as well as lessons learned from domestic legislation and judicial decisions addressing Indigenous customary justice, as well as observations and recommendations made by international human rights bodies.”

Corpuz’s outline could well be a guide for investigative journalists.

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 chapters include:

Data Journalism on Indigenous Communities
Land Ownership: Community Rights Under Threat
Investigating Criminal Justice
Exposing Exploitation and Corruption
Covering the Climate Crisis
Investigating Murdered or Missing Persons
Indigenous Data Sovereignty
Getting Documents, Dealing with Whistleblowers, and Staying Safe

In conjunction with the introduction of this guide, a training/networking program is being held for Indigenous journalists from eight countries at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Hamburg, Germany, September 26-29, 2019. This guide was written by GIJN Resource Center Director Toby McIntosh.