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#Tip: Check out these resources for investigating international business

Journalism students are routinely told to “follow the money” when training, and although initiative and cunning should be the key tools in the toolbox it never hurts to just be told where to look.

At the recent Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Paul Radu, of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Romania, and the University of Missouri’s Marty Steffens gave a presentation on some of the best tools for tracing transactions, uncovering the business deals and researching international business.

Brazilian Journalism student Amanda Rocha originally wrote it up for the conference website in Portuguese and it has now been reposted at the University of Texas in English.

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#Tip: Watch this short video for investigative reporting tips

Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Ivy Dawned on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Last weekend’s Global Investigative Journalism Conference brought some of the world’s leading journalists together in Rio de Janeiro, and the enterprising folks at the IACC Young Journalists Initiative tracked some down to get their top tips on investigative journalism.

Special thanks to the International Journalists Network for the heads up.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Podcast: Business models for investigative journalism

This week we reported that investigative news site Exaro has pulled down its paywall in favour of bringing in revenue through data services.

So, in this podcast we look at how to make investigative journalism pay.

The podcast covers a range of different models, from reader-funded journalism, to organising conferences, to syndication.

We hear from the those behind four investigative journalism sites, each of which has launched within the past two years.

We speak to:

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

You can read more articles about each of the four news outlets by clicking on the name of the business: Exaro, Matter, The Muckracker, ThaiPublica.

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#Podcast: How to get started in investigative journalism

Copyright: Thinkstock

Copyright: Thinkstock

In this week’s podcast we speak to experts in investigative journalism on how best to get started in the field. Aside from taking a course or getting some early work experience, both invaluable elements of training for a journalist on any beat, there are some skills, tools and qualities which every trainee should bear in mind.

We speak to:

  • Christopher Hird, managing editor, Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Paul Lewis, special projects editor, the Guardian
  • Marshall Allen, investigative journalist, Pro Publica
You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.


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#Podcast: Online security advice for journalists

Image by Moyan_Bren on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Moyan_Bren on Flickr. Some rights reserved

This podcast looks at how to secure your computer to protect both yourself and your sources.

Security experts and an investigative journalist outline the dangers and offer solutions.

They explain how journalists can communicate securely by email, safely store information on a computer, and they share advice on preventing a Twitter account hack.

Sarah Marshall, technology editor at, speaks to:

  • Lyra McKee, investigative journalist and founder of The Muckraker, an investigative news blog for Northern Ireland
  • Brian Honan, an independent security consultant at BH Consulting
  • Daniel Cuthbert, chief operating officer at information security firm Sensepost

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

You might like to read this guide on ‘how not to get your Twitter account hacked‘. It has advice from Daniel Cuthbert.


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#Tip of the day for journalists: Investigative journalism research

Last month UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation) launched a Global Casebook of Investigative Journalism, which looks at examples of investigative journalism as well as “the cutting-edge techniques and high standards developed within this network”.

In an announcement UNESCO says the casebook “serves as a key knowledge resource, providing a valuable learning opportunity for journalists and media professionals, as well as for journalism trainers and educators”.

See the casebook here.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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Knight Foundation senior advisor receives Markoff award for investigative reporting fund

Senior advisor to the president of the Knight Foundation Eric Newton has received the Markoff Award for the Foundation’s support of investigative reporting.

The Knight Foundation has invested more than $100 million (£63.2m) in reporting technologies and techniques since 2007.

The award was presented on Saturday 14 April by Lowell Bergman, the former 60 Minutes investigative reporter who founded the University of California at Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Programme, Newton says on the Knight blog as he announces his win:

Knight Foundation has invested some $20 million in investigative reporting projects. They range from establishing an endowed chair, supporting  professional and training organizations, establishment of university-based investigative reporting projects, funding for specific investigations and direct support for independent nonprofit investigative  reporting newsrooms.

Knight’s most recent investigative reporting grant was announced last week – $800,000 to the Center for Investigative Reporting to work with the Investigative News Network to launch an investigative reporting channel on YouTube.

The Markoff Award is named after New York Times journalist John Markoff.

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ProPublica-inspired global news site launches in Australia

A new not-for-profit online journalism start-up launches today in Australia, backed with $15 million of funding from a philanthropist to see the site through its first five years.

The Global Mail is edited by former ABC broadcast journalist Monica Attard and aims to provide “public interest journalism – no ads, no subscription, no celebrity stories, no spin”.

Attard told the Australian: “I had long viewed, with a degree of envy, the ProPublica model in the US. The model was inspired by, even though we won’t and can’t do investigations alone.”

She adds: “We would like to think we can come up with novel ways to help pay our way in the world. We haven’t thought of any yet. That’s the honest-to-god truth.

“The market is small in Australia, so we figure there’s room for a new player aimed at covering the world, with Australia in it.”

The site launched this morning at

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BBC CoJo on the possibilities for ‘drone journalism’

The website for the BBC College of Journalism published an interesting post on Friday by BBC world affairs producer Stuart Hughes, which looked at how news organisations could use drones as “newsgathering tools”.

According to Hughes, “in theory” the aircraft could be a useful tool for news outlets keen to get a bird’s-eye view of certain news events, such as protests.

Photographers covering election demos in Moscow also deployed a UAV – prompting some onlookers to suspect they had spotted a UFO over the Russian capital.

The resulting images were widely used by international news organisations – including the BBC.

However, Hughes said that in reality regulations would make it difficult to operate the aircraft “in built up and congested areas – exactly the sort of places where most news stories take place”.

Understandably so – no news organisation would want to deal with the legal consequences if its unmanned camera crash-landed onto the head of a peaceful protestor.

But nevertheless he is “excited by the prospect of using Big Boys’ Toys as part of our newsgathering”.

It may be some time yet before drone journalism becomes commonplace but, potentially, the sky’s the limit.

Read the full post here.

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#news2011: ProPublica model ‘not feasible’ as commercial venture, says editor-in-chief

November 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Investigative journalism

A commercial version of ProPublica is not “feasible at present”, its editor-in-chief told the Global Editors Network news summit today.

The US investigative news site, which relies on funding from philanthropic donations, was launched in 2008.

Giving a keynote speech to the event in Hong Kong via video-link Pro-Publica’s Paul Steiger, a former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, said he did not think a commercial organisation would be able to do as ProPublica does and “concentrate on doing nothing but investigative reporting”.

“It is possible that news organisations can have investigative reporting as part of the menu of reporting”, but not to the same extent.

The industry has gone from a high profit margin business model to one with much tighter margins.

As a result news organisations are “much less able to take the risk of sending reporters out on a project that might not produce a viable story,” he said.

I don’t think it is impossible at to make it happen in places outside of the US though. It just requires energy and ingenuity.

Click here for more on ProPublica and how it is funded.

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