Guardian Investigative Journalism

  • 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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  • Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:46:07 +0000: ‘My father's murderers are still free’: taking on Mexico's violent underworld – podcast - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    Investigative journalist Anabel Hernández has risked her life to expose corruption at the heart of her country’s violent ‘drug wars’. She tells Lucy Lamble why staying silent is not an option

    Anabel Hernández is an award-winning investigative journalist, who has dedicated her career to exposing corruption and the consequences that come from the “war on drugs” in Mexico.

    She talks about her most recent book A Massacre in Mexico – a brave and horrifying account of what she believes happened to 43 students who disappeared in 2014. She also discusses the west’s glamorisation of the cartels and how tragedy in her own life drives her work to bring justice.

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  • Sat, 03 Nov 2018 18:00:06 +0000: Brazil, Turkey, Slovakia… tyranny’s contagion spreads around the world | Nick Cohen - Investigative journalism | The Guardian
    The US would once have acted against such leaders. Trump now offers an example

    History will record that when states murdered journalists or used the conspiracy theories of terrorists to fool their subject populations, they could expect reprisals from something called “the west”, an alliance that lasted from 1945 to 2016. The west’s great weakness was that it depended on American power. It died when Donald Trump became the US president, freeing illiberal democracies and actual dictatorships to follow their worst instincts to a grim destination.

    Fashion affects the powerful as well as the powerless. They look at each other and learn what they can get away with. “Did you hear what happened in Germany?” Stalin asked Anastas Mikoyan in June 1934, after Hitler had ordered the murder of his enemies in the Nazi party. “Splendid! That’s a deed of some skill!” Inspired by Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives, Stalin began the executions of tens of thousands of communists who posed a real and imagined threat to his power. The west taught, albeit intermittently, albeit with immense blind spots in which crimes against humanity were committed with impunity, that governments had to pretend to protect human rights, freeish trade and democracy.

    Related: A year after her murder, where is the justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia? | Margaret Atwood

    The effect Trump has on the world is as bad as, I would say worse than, his effect on America

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  • Mon, 29 Oct 2018 08:00:07 +0000: Michael Moore’s media turf war - Investigative journalism | The Guardian

    Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 joins other recent films in nailing the lie that documentaries are not as ‘real’ as news

    In his excellent new documentary about the 2016 US presidential election and its aftermath, Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore reserves his most weary anger for what he sees as the progressive establishment – Obama, both Clintons, the Democratic party and, most sharply, a complacent left-of-centre media. The film highlights the uncomfortable relationship that documentaries have with journalism and news media, the genre often being dismissed by the media as too partial and opinionated. The Washington Post summed this up recently in an article headlined “Documentaries aren’t journalism, and there’s nothing wrong with that”, which attempted to create a firewall between documentaries and “real” reporting.

    This argument is illogical – that because documentaries often have an opinion, sometimes provoke an emotional response, and want to tell powerful visual stories with some artistic licence, they don’t deserve praise for reporting accurately or reflecting usefully on current events. Fahrenheit 11/9 is a good riposte to this, skewering the idea that print journalism doesn’t also come with opinions: it particularly criticises the New York Times for belittling the democratic socialist wing of the Democrats.

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