Intrepid journalists are still conducting investigations on countries within the Arab Gulf region, but due to political repression and other press freedom issues, they’ve had to report from afar or build and operate their independent media sites while in exile.
Seventy stories and still counting. This is the main result of an ongoing struggle waged since 2017 for the disclosure of all pension and retirement payments by the Brazilian government. On the front line is GIJN member Fiquem Sabendo, a journalism agency specializing in that country’s Freedom of Information Act.
A haven of banking secrecy for decades, Switzerland has now become a land of raw materials trading. Most of the private hydrocarbon trading giants have set up their headquarters in Geneva. But unlike banks, which have to comply with international standards on money laundering and tax fraud these trading companies are accountable to virtually no one.
At the end of the year, GIJN compiles a list of its most viewed stories and resources. Here’s the listing for 2020’s top performing stories, including stories on the good and bad of South African journalism, how the global pandemic is affecting Africa’s print newspapers, the year’s top investigative podcasts from around the world, and more.
The Scientific Basis of Influence
Tip 1: You Are Being Influenced
“We are pattern seekers, believers in a coherent world.” —Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman
One of the first things you learn as an investigative reporter is to beware of unconscious biases, including what is known as “anchoring” or “cognitive tunneling.” Neuroscience has shown that we tend to give more value to confirming, and less value to invalidating information. An example is The Invisible Gorilla Strikes Again experiment.
The South African investigative site Oxpeckers uses a combination of data analysis, collaboration, and interactive data visualization tools to tell the most compelling stories about the land and those accused of damaging it. From mining to environmental crimes and wildlife trafficking, it has brought investigative techniques to beats like mining that were once the preserve of business reporters.
Africa’s investigative journalists are playing a critical role in unpacking the continent’s expanding pandemic and have already snapped some governments out of their early complacency on COVID-19 preparedness. However, amid warnings about the potential impact of the virus on the continent’s 1.1 billion citizens, four leading African journalists shared strategies for coverage in this critical time in a webinar attended by reporters from 57 countries.
As part of GIJN’s new series, Making Investigative Journalism Sustainable: Best Business Practices, we are featuring a set of key tips from 10 leading journalists and experts from around the world who are either working to build viable organizations around investigative journalism or work as experts to support these enterprises. Here is Emily Goligoski, Senior Director of Audience Research at The Atlantic (US)
Instead of writing an entire behind-the-scenes article to explain how you carried out an investigation, consider instead incorporating this information in the investigation itself in the form of “trust nuggets” to reach more readers, writes Trusting News’ Joy Mayer.
What’s the global data journalism community tweeting about this week? Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from November 11 to 17 finds an investigation by The Financial Times uncovering how private health information is being traded online by health sites to big advertisers, The Economist looking at the correlation between Americans’ music preferences and political leanings, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism investigating the government’s algorithmic decision-making, and the data community coming together to highlight excellent female data journalists.