“100 Years of Bondage” — Investigating Slavery in the Amazon

For generations, the workers in the Brazilian Amazon who cut the palm straw used for brooms have been functionally enslaved by a system of loans provided by the bosses. Thais Lazzeri, an investigative reporter for Repórter Brasil, had to win their trust as she delved deeply into this topic for her October 2017 article, “100 Years of Bondage” which was beautifully illustrated with photographs by Fernando Martinho.

This Week’s Top Ten in Data Journalism

What’s the global data journalism community tweeting about this week? Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from September 25 to October 1 has @FT mapping the route in a day of a London Uber driver, #NICAR18 registration opening up, @Lattif charting Africa’s internet shutdowns using @atlascharts and loads of German election data visualizations.

How They Did It: Reuters’ Database of Taser Deaths

A team of Reuters reporters, editors and data analysts reviewed the results of hundreds of autopsies and filed hundreds of public records requests involving deaths by Taser in the US. The result? Not only did the investigation catalogue 1,005 deaths, but it ended up building the most comprehensive database ever on Taser-related deaths.

GIJN’s Global Guide to Freedom of Information: FOI Tips and Tricks

This is part one of our three part series: GIJN’s Global Guide to Freedom of Information. FOI Tips and Tricks offers a round up of expert advice from around the world. 

Nobody pretends that it’s easy or always productive to exercise the right to information. But the return on investment can be very positive. To help make the challenge less daunting, some of those who have climbed the FOI mountain have left maps of their journeys. Because national laws vary in detail, giving generic advice on FOI is a bit tricky.

FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

Protecting Forests with FOI Laws

Every year the world loses 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests, an area about the size of Greece. A critical way to stem this forest loss is to make concessions data more transparent. This information is critical as it gives journalists, civil society groups and the public the information they need to hold the government and the private sector accountable for deforestation.

GIJN Member Civio: Fighting for Transparency in Spain

Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change. Their brainchild, Civio, was just recognized with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for its Medicamentalia investigation.