In its first week, #gijnElectionWatchdog showed reporters how to quickly flag campaign finance abuses; listed Twitter handles for nearly all US secretaries of state; explained America’s wildly different vote recount rules by state; and found a pioneering tool to dig into dark money ad spending on Facebook.
The stakes for the US election on November 3 are enormous — not just for Americans, but for the rest of the world. So, for the next two months, GIJN will be producing a daily stream of tips and tools most useful to reporters on the campaign front lines.
It’s fair to say that the United States has never seen an election quite like this one. On November 3, Americans will vote to elect a president, members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, and thousands of local and state officials. There are concerns about armed poll watchers being sent to US polling stations to intimidate voters or interfere with mail-in ballots, charges of rigged voting and foreign interference, and record amounts of funding by donors, both open and covert. There is race-baiting, fear-mongering, and a tidal wave of disinformation — all amid a once-in-hundred-year pandemic. The stakes, not just for the United States but for the rest of the world, are enormous.
For this week’s Friday 5, where GIJN rounds up key reads around the world, we found stories about freelancers commissioned to write for a massive Russian-backed disinformation campaign, how to (not) get your pitch read by an editor, and a guide for reporting on US elections.
Satellite imagery has become increasingly useful in establishing evidence of human rights abuses and in shining a light on dubious activities being conducted in secretive parts of the world. Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from August 17 to 23 finds NBC News utilizing satellite data to solve a long-standing mystery about North Korean “ghost boats” washing up on Japanese shores, The New York Times analyzing footfall data to determine how the coronavirus pandemic has influenced consumer spending, and Bellingcat revealing a coordinated network of attacks on Twitter against the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since the start of the pandemic, GIJN has produced more than 40 free webinars in 7 languages designed for journalists covering the COVID-19 crisis. Come September, GIJN will expand its online offerings on a range of new topics, with continued coverage of the pandemic.
For our series about journalists’ favorite tools, we spoke with Craig Silverman, who leads a global beat on misinformation and media manipulation for BuzzFeed News. An author and award-winning journalist, Silverman shared some his top open source tools for digital investigations and for probing disinformation.
The COVID-19 pandemic, already highly complex, is made even more difficult to report by the proliferation of misinformation about drugs, cures, death rates and more. In this webinar, Reporting COVID-19 Disinformation, two veteran journalists will share their tips and strategies for dealing with the flood of bad information.
Outstanding investigative stories on subjects from land reform and roads to sexual abuse and corruption were among the finalists at this year’s Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism. Panel convener Anton Harber said the diversity of stories and media showed the core strength of South African investigative reporting, which was now being deployed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic fallout.
Reporters Sans Frontieres published, for the first time, a list of press freedom’s 20 worst digital predators in 2020. Whether state offshoots, private-sector companies, or informal entities, they reflect a reality of power at the end of the 21st century’s second decade, in which investigative reporters and other journalists who cause displeasure risk being the targets of predatory activity by often hidden actors.