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Nov. 20, 2017, 12:09 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Christine Schmidt   |   November 20, 2017

More than a thousand investigative journalists convened over the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the tenth iteration of the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. In case that didn’t include you, here’s some of the tools and tips that emerged from the gathering:

The Intercept’s Margot Williams compiled a
many-bullet-pointed list of links for investigative research, from the U.S. federal inmate lookup system to marine traffic trackers. Tim Sandler, a former NBC News investigative unit supervising producer now leading investigations at nonprofit Transparentem, also shared a list of resources for looking into human trafficking and forced labor.

Private investigator James Mintz walked attendees through what he called “investigative reporting’s most powerful move”: reaching out to former employees, board members, contractors, spouses, and neighbors. He has a 12-slide presentation for doing it yourself here. He also included a guide for tracing dirty money from kickbacks to shell companies.

GIJC provided write-ups of some of the sessions themselves, like these six tools for tracking people online, eight tips for investigating LGBTQ stories, and, soberly, an explanation of why “a good journalist is a dead journalist”, in reference to reporting under repressive regimes: “There’s an empty chair where Ethiopian journalist, ‘X,’ should be sitting, but he’s taken up a corner seat, out of sight from a camera. There’s clear instruction that he not be referenced on social media.”

Other tools include Python 101 in a seven-page PDF, courtesy of analyst Tommy Kaas, and how to follow through and measure the aftermath of investigative stories: the Global Investigative Journalism Network, the organization behind the conference, shared its thought process for defining and measuring the impact of investigations.

And of course, attendees were encouraged to shore up their own security, with tips for using Tor, Signal, and strong passwords in these two presentations.

The International Consortium of Journalists released its Paradise Papers data during the conference for journalists to dig into, and shared tips (in French) for best exploring the information. The conference also awarded investigative stories on missing educational funds in Iraq and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria, honoring journalists in countries with restricted press freedom and resources.

If this whetted your appetite for investigative journalism gatherings in the future, the next GIJC will be held in 2019 (they’re typically every other year) in Hamburg, Germany.

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