Spring 2011 | Online Exclusives

Shattering Barriers to Reveal Corruption

Barriers to reporting on corruption are numerous. Pushing past them can be risky, especially in countries where powerful interests are entrenched in business, media organizations, and government. Arrest. Legal action. Forced exile. Threats. Murder. Journalists face such dangers where the fear of what reporters might discover creates a climate of censorship and caution in newsrooms. Journalists describe the toll taken to tell stories about the corruption in their own backyards. Those who support their efforts speak to emerging strategies of training and assistance. —Melissa Ludtke

Shattering Barriers to Reveal Corruption
Introduction
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
Post-Communist Realities: The Perils of Investigative Reporting
Abandoning a Broken Model of Journalism (1 comment)
There are many in Romania who ‘profoundly dislike independent journalists, and especially nosey ones.’
By Stefan Candea
Establishing the Romanian Center for Investigative Journalism (1 comment)
By Stefan Candea
Sorin Ovidiu Vintu: Buying Propaganda as News
By Stefan Candea
Russian Journalists Need Help in Exposing Corruption
‘While journalists and bloggers in Russia risk their lives to reveal corrupt practices, there are ways that those living in free and lawful societies can aid their efforts.’
By Alexei Navalny and Maxim Trudolyubov
Costs That Investors Seem Willing to Ignore
By Alexei Navalny and Maxim Trudolyubov
Kickbacks: The Margin Is Growing
By Alexei Navalny and Maxim Trudolyubov
The Challenge: Investigating ‘Russian’ Mafias in a Time of Twitter
Can Western and Eastern European journalists join together to overcome the difficulties the press have in covering these powerful criminal forces?
By Alain Lallemand
In Poland, Pressures Plague Investigative Reporting
‘Most censorship is of an “inner” nature. Journalists self-censor because they are aware of their employer’s political position and thus do not submit stories in opposition to it.’
By Beata Biel
Libel Laws Pose Obstacles to Ukraine’s Investigative Journalists
‘If we decide to pursue the story, they [lawyers] guarantee a lawsuit will be filed in London, the libel capital of the world, where the burden of proof is on the defendant—the journalist and his newspaper.’
By Vlad Lavrov
British Libel Law: Its Ripple Effect on Journalists Worldwide
By Jonathan Seitz
Enduring Pressures: It Goes With the Job in Armenia (1 comment)
‘… we have an unwritten understanding in our office not to speak about these pressures if they aren’t life threatening; our problems remain within our office walls.’
By Edik Baghdasaryan
The Stark Contrast of Words and Deeds
‘In Armenia, the shutdown of A1+ was a valuable lesson to all nonstate-run TV companies in showing what happens to a company that acts in ways considered to be unloyal to the government.’
By Seda Muradyan
Independence Buys Freedom But Also Fewer Viewers
‘Since we left Rustavi 2, Studio Monitor has had a hard time building a wide audience. Getting our stories seen by people remains a major challenge.’
By Nino Zuriashvili
Hungarian Politics: Present in the Journalistic Mix (2 comments)
‘… it is not the journalists but politicians and the media owners with the circles of power behind them who decide the topics that can be covered and which stories can be published.’
By Tamás Bodoky
Government Pushback—In South Africa and China
Arriving at a Sadly Familiar Crossroads
‘South Africa’s crackdown on press freedom comes at a treacherous time, as numerous countries have regressed, rather than progressed, on this front.’
By Rob Rose
The Shady Dash for World Cup Cash
By Rob Rose
Chinese Journalists Circumvent Government’s Tight Restrictions
‘Given how information from Yihuang was spread in China, this story signaled a landmark moment in contemporary Chinese media with the emergence of microblogs … as a valuable distribution tool for journalists.’
By Ying Chan
China’s Propaganda Department: New Restrictions on the Press
Investigative Reporting in China: Progress, Setbacks and Surprises
By Jan Gardner
Curator’s Corner
The Value of the Nieman Fellows’ Experience
The 50th year celebration of South African Niemans offers a vivid reminder that their work served as ‘a powerful force in the struggle to end apartheid,’ and their ‘authoritative voices continue to be heard.’
By Bob Giles
Engaging the Next Generation
Out of Tragedy in Turkey Emerges a Journalistic Mission
‘… after my father was murdered, our family founded the Ugur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation … to encourage young people who are concerned about social problems and have ideals of hard work and humanity to enter the field of journalism.'
By Özge Mumcu
A Bulgarian Reporter’s Journey Traces a Nation’s Progress
Once beaten and tried in court for his investigative reporting, Stanimir Vaglenov now teaches young journalists and manages uncensored Internet projects for the nation’s leading news group.
By Stanimir Vaglenov
Questioning the Western Approach to Training (1 comment)
‘International journalism training can have the feel of a quite rigid, institutionalized sense of what must be done even while operating in an environment of increasing contingency and dynamic change … ’
By James Miller
Media Assistance on the Global Stage
By James Miller
Where Western Perceptions Clash With Eastern European Realities (2 comments)
‘In the Balkan context, what Westerners call corruption is seen as the customary tool of political organization.’
By Drew Sullivan
An Idea Born Out of Necessity—And It Works!
‘Journalists who have promising ideas for investigations but work for news organizations with few resources apply for support.’
By Henrik Kaufholz
Global Investigative Journalism Conference Kiev, Ukraine, October 2011 (4 comments)
By Henrik Kaufholz
The Challenge of Cross-Border Reporting in Europe (2 comments)
‘Through networking, journalists contribute their part in shaping this European public sphere by investigating and illuminating its common issues.’
By Brigitte Alfter
Investigating Farm Subsidies on a Global Stage
The collaborative effort among journalists to make the E.U.’s farm subsidies transparent is a striking example of how developing networks and providing support for reporters can result in important stories being told.
By Nils Mulvad
Press Danger and Freedom: Presidents, Drug Traffickers, and Sheriffs
Exposing Corruption When Illegal Activity Is Business as Usual (1 comment)
‘Unveiling corruption throughout Latin America awakens dreadful instincts in powerful politicians while judicial systems … have repeatedly turned their backs on journalists or, in some cases, even helped to suppress them.’
By Fernando Berguido
Freedom of Information Laws in Latin America (1 comment)
By Fernando Berguido
Intimidation, Exile and the Exhilaration of an Investigative Story Being Published (3 comments)
‘Panama’s La Prensa and [Enrique] Zileri’s Caretas [in Peru] were exceptional places where investigative journalism was encouraged and defended, though both had to pay a price for doing it.’
By Gustavo Gorriti
The Mexican Press: At the Crossroads of Violence
Last year ‘we declared ourselves war correspondents in our own land.’
By Elia Baltazar and Daniela Pastrana
Statistics on Impunity
By Elia Baltazar and Daniela Pastrana
La Prensa Mexicana: En la Encrucijada de la Violencia
El año pasado "nos declaramos coresponsales de guerra en nuestra propia tierra"
De Elia Baltazar y Daniela Pastrana
Asking Questions in Small-Town America Can Be Dangerous (13 comments)
‘I knew we’d get a backlash for our reporting, which was far more aggressive than most small-town papers are willing to stomach. But the news media’s role as watchdog is vital in communities with a long-standing culture of corruption.’
By Samantha Swindler
Nieman Notes
A Journalist’s Letter From Academia
Making the switch from full-time journalist to tenured professor is more challenging—and rewarding—than one might think.
By Jon Palfreman
Class Notes
Compiled By Jan Gardner
An Abundance of Images: Is It Leading to a ‘Trivialization of Photography’? (9 comments)
Words and Photographs by Pablo Corral Vega
La Abundancia de Imágenes: ¿Esta Llevando a una Trivialización de la Fotografía?
Palabras y Fotografías de Pablo Corral Vega