It’s been a busy first quarter of 2017 for GIJN members — from picking up Pulitzer Prizes to launching crowdfunding campaigns. There have also been new projects and new collaborations forged. Here are some noteworthy splashes made by GIJN members around the world.
Newsrooms in Asia have traditionally worked alone, guarding their sources and tip-offs fiercely and keeping their stories and investigations in-house. However, after attending GIJN’s Asian Investigative Journalism Conferences and participating in the global Panama Papers investigation, Indonesia’s top newsweekly and leading investigative outlet Tempo have been inspired to pursue their own cross-border collaborations.
This is a list of winning stories drawn from 16 major global or regional journalism awards given in 2016, which hopefully might serve as a source of inspiration for you to find original stories, to innovate in how to tell them, or to find a thread to develop a fresh angle. Take heart that the quality of work by solo reporters or fledgling investigative teams can sometimes stand out as much as that of huge media outlets.
Here are the top data journalism tweets for 2016, per our NodeXL mapping: #PanamaPapers (@ICIJorg); #ddj awards (@GENinnovate); China stereotypes (@ForeignPolicy); U.S. poor & shrinking middle class (@NYTimes, @FT); Earth temps (@HomesAtMetacoda); Germany’s greenest cities (@morgenpost); & more.
Even as the Panama Papers disclosures have sparked almost 150 official investigations in at least 76 countries, they have also provoked pushback from individuals and governments displeased with revelations of the hidden economic holdings of the global elite. Politicians, business executives and thousands of their supporters have responded with vitriol, threats, cyber attacks and lawsuits. But one of the benefits of collaboration is the way journalists can band together to overcome these issues.
Ten years ago, when I first moved to New York and gave my first lecture at the Columbia Journalism School, I told students that I believe we are at the dawn of a Golden Age of global muckraking. They were a great class, but they didn’t believe me. But look at where we are now.
The trove of files that make up the Panama Papers is likely the largest dataset of leaked insider information in the history of journalism. For ICIJ’s Data and Research Unit, it offered a unique set of challenges. The overall size of the data (2.6 terabytes, 11.5 million files), the variety of file types (from spreadsheets, emails and PDFs to obscure and old formats no longer in use), and the logistics of making it all securely searchable for more than 370 journalists around the world are just a few of the hurdles faced over the course of the 12 month investigation.
What’s the data-driven journalism crowd tweeting? Here are the top links for April 2-11: Behind the Panama Papers Investigation (@ICIJorg, @SZ); Best #ddj on taxes (@OKFN); Spies in the Sky (@BuzzFeed); EU Data Journalism Manifesto (@medium); World scientific collaboration (@storybench); & more.
In the past year, a group of Arab journalists has been working secretly in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, and Yemen as part of a global network of investigative reporters mining the so called “Panama Papers.” They found that some Arab strongmen and their business partners are linked to offshore companies and bank accounts. What’s astonishing about this story is not that Arab dictators are going offshore to hide their wealth and evade sanctions. It’s that a community of Arab journalists is continuing to do investigative reporting in a region where there is increasingly little tolerance for accountability of any kind.
“Hello,” wrote the anonymous source to a German newspaper, “this is John Doe. Interested in data?” Thus began what would soon become an international financial investigation into what are being called the Panama Papers—an investigation so massive that even whistleblower Edward Snowden, on Twitter, called it the “biggest leak in the history of data journalism.”