Guardian Investigative Journalism

  • Sun, 31 Mar 2019 13:00:05 +0000: Investigative journalism is far from dead; it's thriving | Roy Greenslade - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    Once maligned, digital tools have turned out to be a wonderful addition to our armoury

    One of the enduring myths espoused by veteran reporters is that investigative journalism is dead. I think I heard it first in 1987 when I joined the Sunday Times, the newspaper generally considered to have pioneered agenda-setting investigations. Several of my new colleagues were convinced, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that the paper was no longer committed to providing the necessary resources for lengthy probes into institutional bad behaviour. They held fast to the myth even as the paper went on publishing investigations.

    Later, I discovered that the same mistaken belief existed across the industry and has persisted over the course of 30 years. It gained ground once the digital revolution took hold, and I admit to sharing concerns about the negative effects of the resulting cuts to editorial staffs. But digital tools have turned out to be a wonderful addition to the reporting armoury and it is possible to argue that investigative journalism today is in a healthier state than ever before. Computer terminals have proven more effective in discovering secrets than shoe leather.

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  • Wed, 13 Mar 2019 03:00:06 +0000: Syria, Skripal and MH17: how Bellingcat broke the news – podcast - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    In 2012, Eliot Higgins began blogging about the news from his front room in Leicester. Seven years later, his investigative website Bellingcat has been responsible for revealing key aspects of some of the world’s biggest stories. And: Jonathan Freedland on the result of Theresa May’s meaningful vote

    Eliot Higgins first became known for his investigations into the Syrian civil war, which he published on his blog Brown Moses. Higgins then went on to found Bellingcat, an investigative website that uses open source tools to expose the truth behind global news stories.

    Higgins, who is the subject of a new documentary, tells Anushka Asthana how he and his international team of volunteers have gone about investigating some of the biggest stories of recent times, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK. He examines the importance of this type of work in an era of fake news and the impact it has had on his professional and personal life.

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  • Tue, 19 Feb 2019 18:05:37 +0000: Russia moves to mask its soldiers' digital trail with smartphone ban - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    Investigative sites have used social media posts to confirm Russia involvement in conflicts

    Russia’s parliament has voted to ban its soldiers from using smartphones and social networks after a series of open-source investigations revealed their secret participation in foreign conflicts.

    Russia’s Duma on Tuesday voted to ban members of the armed forces from publishing information online about their military units, deployments and other personal information, including photos, video and geolocation data.

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  • Sun, 06 Jan 2019 15:00:05 +0000: Political, forensic, hi-tech: how 'research architecture' is redefining art - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    In the 1990s, Goldsmiths college in London spawned the YBAs. Now, it has incubated a very different group – whose work is as likely to turn up in an international court as in a gallery

    Up a narrow staircase at the labyrinthine Goldsmiths college in London is an airy room where researchers, film-makers, AI experts, investigative journalists and archaeologists pore over computer screens. This is the nerve centre of Forensic Architecture, the research agency that was a strong contender for the 2018 Turner prize (they lost out to Charlotte Prodger) and which has gained a name for its meticulous “counter-forensic” investigations into human rights abuses.

    In this post-truth era, verification is paramount, so myriad documentation sources have to be corroborated in minute detail. On a recent visit I paid them, researchers were synchronising police bodycam film and extended thermal footage with film shot by an activist. Someone else was scrutinising CCTV footage connected to the recent unsolved murder of an LGBTQ activist in Greece. The investigative film-maker Laura Poitras was visiting and journalists from the New York Times had been over to learn about setting up a visual investigations unit. A team is currently training Chicago activists to respond to police violence.

    This is not art destined for collectors' homes. The CRA are confronting power structures responsible for violence, and uncovering hidden stories

    It's a different set of tools to understand the world and change perspectives. Is it art, journalism, documentary film-making, or architecture? Maybe it's all of the above

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  • Thu, 22 Nov 2018 11:00:40 +0000: Trump-Russia is too complex to report. We must turn to curatorial journalism | Seth Abramson - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    The archive of prior relevant reporting is now so large and far-flung that more and more articles are frustratingly incomplete – but curatorial journalism can fill the gaps

    The ongoing federal investigation into collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is the most complex, far-ranging criminal investigation of our lifetimes. The story of Trump-Russia collusion crosses so many continents, decades and areas of expertise – and has swept into its net so many hundreds of public officials and private citizens from nations around the world – that it can be difficult to understand any one piece of reporting on the scandal without having access to the context provided by several dozen others.

    Related: When newsrooms are dominated by white people, they miss crucial facts

    Curatorial journalists find the gaps and blindspots in scattershot or even excellent reporting and then fill them in with reliable, germane reporting from other sources.

    Related: Citizen journalists – the fighters on the frontline against Russia’s attacks

    Seth Abramson is an assistant professor of communication arts and sciences at University of New Hampshire and the author of 10 books, most recently Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America (Simon & Schuster, 2018). A graduate of Harvard Law School, he worked for many years as a public defender in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

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