Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out our new video series on investigative tips and tools. This compact set of crash seminars features leading experts with insights on what investigative journalism is, as well as how to follow public records, investigate with data, understand financial records and the best online search strategies.
A study by Iraqi professor Dr Bushra Al-Hamdani found that journalists in Iraq are often targeted by either pro-government militias or militant opposition groups and have little protection against threats. They also face legal obstacles and a lack of government transparency.
Last week, the Pew Research Center released Crowdfunded Journalism: A Small but Growing Addition to Publicly Driven Journalism. The report highlights that, while contributions to crowdfunding journalism are modest compared with other categories, it is indeed a growing trend. The report found that crowdfunding represents a new, niche segment of nontraditional journalism, gives voice and visibility to efforts that otherwise would likely slip under the radar, provides new sources of sustainability, and contributes to public engagement.
For the past seven and one-half years, I have spent large portions of each year doing media-development work–most of it training of journalists or journalism students–in four countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and in Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inevitably, my own experiences and observations about what works and what doesn’t, and what is really important in this work, have passed through my mind while researching and writing this report. None of them is unique, but it may be useful to list what I consider my three strongest lessons from nearly a dozen different training projects.
I may have misled people for the last few years by saying that investigative journalism is not a business but a public service. Investigative journalism does, in fact, have commercial value. While investigative journalism may not produce the web traffic of popular topics, a media organization reaps intangible but valuable benefits. Jeff Bezos, for one, seems to appreciate that value.
It’s time again. Every two years since 2001, the world’s investigative journalism community has joined together in a different city, and the results have been extraordinary. We’ve spread investigative reporting and data journalism around the world, sparked the creation of dozens of investigative reporting centers, and led to hundreds of great stories and collaborations. Registration is now open for the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. You’ll find our registration and conference pages available in the three main languages of the conference: English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
So you’ve amassed terabytes of data, reams of documents and hours of expert testimony, all backing up your conclusions. What’s the best way to convince people you’re right?
Tell them a story.
Ideally, a compelling, colorful tale weaving in memorable anecdotes and striking details. Printed in a clear, legible font. Oh, and it helps – no kidding – if it rhymes.
At least according to Nobel-prizewinning economist Daniel Kahneman, author of the outstanding Thinking, Fast and Slow, who’s made a career out of understanding – experimentally – how our brains take in information and make decisions. It isn’t always pretty, but it does help explain why storytelling is a centuries-old means of passing on information.