How can journalists from different parts of Europe and the world connect online and work together on large-scale investigations with impact far beyond their countries’ borders? How can big leaks of complicated technical documents be transformed into readable stories? Why is it so important to carefully check the content, generated from the users of the social networks and make a difference between news and viral rumours?
Those are some of the questions answered by international and Bulgarian journalists and experts at the conference on Innovative Journalism: Working with Data, Implementing innovative instruments and verification of user-generated content, which took place in Betahaus in Sofia on 30th June. The event, organized by the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the America for Bulgaria Foundation, was attended by more than 70 Bulgarian journalists, activists and students.
Kristof Clerix (Mo*, Belgium) shared his experience from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, where he has worked on the international investigations into Luxleaks, Swissleaks and Evicted and Abandoned (dedicated to the World Bank). He focused on the details and methods of work on Luxleaks, which shed light on the tax haven provided by Luxembourg to big international companies at a time when many European citizens are struggling to pay their taxes. In order to track those schemes and operations more than 80 journalists from 36 countries processed altogether 28 000 leaked documents.
According to Paul Radu, Executive Director of Organized Crime and Corruption Project and co-founder of Investigative Dashboard, there is no other way to fight an organized criminal network but having a network of journalists working in collaboration. He demonstrated different approaches to investigating international money laundering schemes in countries such as Russia, Moldova, Romania, USA, Bulgaria and various off-shore zones.
Jacopo Ottaviani presented two different approaches to gathering and processing data for journalism stories. He specializes in data journalism, digital cartography and trans-European data projects. Jacopo is part of the team whcih has worked on the international data investigation The Migrant Files, which won the European Press Award in 2015. The project is a result of the common efforts of 12 journalist and developers, who gathered and analyzed data about the deaths of migrants at the borders of Europe. They found out that at least 30, 000 people have lost their lives over the past 15 years trying to reach Europe. Neither the EU, nor any of the Member States maintain such data.
You can watch the video presentations of the three international journalists here