Investigative Practice

Investigative Practice is a series of experimental seminars developed by The Centre for Investigative Journalism especially for the 2018 Logan Symposium: Conspiracy. Over the course of the series invited guests and attendees were given the opportunity to learn the tools, tactics and strategies of traditional and emergent investigations; from some of the world’s foremost journalists, thinkers and doers.

Each session included an expert Chair and Panel, but the discussion was open, informal and participatory, with the intention that everyone present had a chance to contribute their own perspectives and ask questions.

Each seminar lasted 60 mins and aimed to:

  • Address hurdles and contradictory elements between emerging techniques and traditional practice.
  • Foster interdisciplinary collaboration between journalists, hackers, academics, artists and activists in order to challenge power and investigate abuses and injustice.
  • Create a network made up of people with a wide range of perspectives on the issues, from academia to professional practitioners.
  • Initiate a working legacy for the Logan Symposium that records and disseminates some of the expertise brought together for the event.

 

The discussions were recorded and collated and you can download a copy of the full summary document below.

Proceedings of Seminars at the Third International CIJ Logan Symposium London, 19/20 October 2018 Goldsmiths, University of London

Seminar Summaries
Protecting Independence: Who Pays the Piper?

Friday 19th, 09:45-10:45

While the mainstream media withers, investigative practice is thriving, but it’s easy to lose sight of who’s funding it; big tech companies and philanthropic foundations, partisan NGOs and think-tanks. As investigative journalism becomes funded by practitioners outside its traditional field, are journalists still calling the tune?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice looked into the confusing new funding landscape for investigative journalism, and tackled the issues this raises for real, truth-seeking independent journalism.

Chair:

Maria Teresa Ronderos, Open Society Foundation

Panellists:

Matt Kennard, Journalist and author of The Racket

Rachel Oldroyd, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

 

Winning the Trust of Sources – On and Offline

Friday 19th, 11:15-12:15

The slow, careful art of soliciting a trustworthy source is one of the exciting and overlooked skills in the investigative journalist’s toolkit. But how does it work when the source can only be reached via digital means, or presents only an anonymous identity in the first place?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice examined how the traditional art of cultivating a source works where trust must be won remotely – and whether practices from the digital age can inform traditional methods.

Chair:

Stephen Grey, Reuters. 

Panellists:

Gabriella Coleman, Anthropologist and author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Ed Moloney, Irish journalist and writer of A Secret History of the IRA, Voices From the Grave and Paisley – From Demagogue To Democrat? and co-producer of the documentaries Voices from the Grave and I Dolores

 

Blowback: The Dangers of Whistleblowing – For Both Sources and Journalists

Friday 19th, 16:00-17:00

The need for stronger protection for whistleblowers is regularly discussed but far less attention is given to addressing the dangers of whistleblowing before the decision to raise concerns has even been made. How can we help those that want to speak up about corruption or abuse to do it in ways that minimise these dangers before it’s too late? And ways that maximise the chances of getting a good outcome for both journalist and source?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice aimed to move beyond general calls for whistleblower protection after the fact to identify more effective and safer methods for divulging information in the public interest.

Chair:

Gill Phillips, Director of Editorial Legal Services, The Guardian.

Panellists:

Phil Chamberlain, Journalist, academic and author of Blacklisted

Bill Goodwin, Journalist, Computer Weekly

Julie Posetti, Senior Research Fellow, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford

 

On the Ground and in the Ether

Saturday 20th, 10:45-11:45

War reporting is changing: reams of data and munitions expertise can now be brought to bear without ever setting foot in a war zone, while the access of officially ‘embedded’ reporters is heavily subscribed, leaving it to freelancers to take the huge risks necessary to get the story out. Analysis of data and social media opens up unprecedented new opportunities for warzone reporting, but does it also open journalists up to manipulation?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice asked how online research and on-the-ground reporting can most fruitfully work together.

Chair: 

Chris Woods, Founding Director, Airwars.

Panellists:

Iona Craig, Freelance reporter and founder of the Yemen Data Project.

Anand Gopal, Journalist and author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes.

 

Forensic Journalism

Saturday 20th, 12:00-13:00

From open-source digital mapping to forensic architectural methods to the kind of data journalism which can aggregate and divine patterns in the ether, what might be called forensic journalism – the application of methods drawn from science, technology, new media and professional expertise – is rapidly gaining ground.

In this seminar, Investigative Practice discussed the issues which arise for investigation when gifted open-source “citizen journalists” work with professionals, and when both work with traditional newsrooms and NGOs.

Chair:

James Harkin, Director, The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Panellists:

Eyal Weizman, Founding Director, Forensic Architecture

Samaneh Moafi, Research Fellow, Forensic Architecture

Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat

 

Protecting Stories

Saturday 20th, 14:30-15:30

If the intention behind violence and persecution towards journalists and whistleblowers is to keep their stories from ever getting out, and send a warning to others who may be considering researching similar areas, how best to protect the ultimate prize of investigative journalism: important stories?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice determined the methods through which journalists and their supporters can overcome the fear and intimidation that often causes them to drop investigations, or to never begin them at all.

Chair:

Sarah Giaziri, Director, Frontline Freelance Register

Panellists:

Laurent Richard, Founder, Forbidden Stories

Pavla Holcova, Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

May Jeong, The Intercept.

 

Source Code

Saturday 20th – 17:00-18:00

Information security is now an established weapon in the fight to keep journalists and their sources safe, but are we in danger of encouraging people to rely on technology that they might not fully understand, thus putting them at greater risk? Are we losing sight of the traditional way in which journalists keep their sources safe – by being unpredictable, and by using our wits as much as our smartphones?

In this seminar, Investigative Practice identified ways to combine the old and new in journalist operational security, as well as how best to advise whistleblowers who might want to send journalists and media outlets their stories.

Chair:

Silkie Carlo, Director, Big Brother Watch

Panellists:

Joseph Cox, Technology journalist at Vice’s Motherboard

Marie Gutbub, Infosec Trainer and Nextcloud

Fabio Natali, Director, Reckon Digital