The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Building Databases for Transparency

From troves of leaked documents to huge datasets and scraped collations of public records, what are the priorities of those that need these resources to dig deeper and use the information to hold the powerful to account, and to what extent do those needs fit with the possibilities and opportunities available to the experts working to build, open and maintain them?

In this roundtable, investigative journalist Katherine Eban moderates an expert panel, drawn from those who both build and use such databases for investigative research. The participants address a whole range of relevant questions, including automation and AI, funding models, and the balances that need to be struck between source protection and transparency, or between technical functionality and front-end usability.

Panel: Delphine Reuter, Friedrich Lindenberg, Georg Neumann, Jacinta Gonzalez, Jack Poulson, Jeremy B. Merrill, Lieke Ploeger, Micah Lee, Naoise Boyle, Rebecca Lee, Steve Day

Moderator: Katherine Eban


Delphine Reuter

Delphine Reuter is ICIJ’s data journalist and researcher. She started collaborating with ICIJ on the LuxLeaks project in 2014. Prior to joining ICIJ's Data & Research Unit full time, she described her position as "brain for hire." She's no data witch, but somehow working for ICIJ has sparked a love for spreadsheets, everything that requires research, and cross-border investigations.

Friedrich Lindenberg

Friedrich Lindenberg leads the data team at OCCRP. He is responsible for the development of OCCRP Aleph and supports ongoing investigations where data analysis is needed. In 2014/2015, Friedrich was a Knight International journalism fellow with the International Center for Journalists, working with the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), and in 2013 he was a Knight-Mozilla Open News fellow at Spiegel Online in Hamburg.

Georg Neumann

Georg Neumann heads communications at the Open Contracting Partnership. Previously, he led on digital and strategic communications at the Inter-American Development Bank and at Transparency International.

Jacinta Gonzalez

Jacinta Gonzalez is a senior campaign organizer with Mijente and leads their #NoTechforICE campaign. Previously, she worked at PODER in México, organizing the Río Sonora River Basin committees against water contamination by the mining industry.  Jacinta was the lead organizer for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice Congress of Day Laborers (2007-2014).

Jack Poulson

Dr. Jack Poulson is the Executive Director of tech accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry. He completed his PhD in Computational and Applied Mathematics at UT Austin in 2012 before serving as an Assistant Professor of Computational Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech then as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics as Stanford University.

Jeremy B. Merrill

Jeremy B. Merrill is a data journalist whose work has appeared in ProPublica, The Markup, Quartz and The New York Times.

Katherine Eban

Katherine Eban, an award-winning New York-based investigative journalist, reports on public health and pharmaceuticals for Vanity Fair and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Bottle of Lies: the Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom.

Lieke Ploeger

Lieke Ploeger is the community director of the Disruption Network Lab in Berlin. Her core interest lies in building and developing both online and offline communities of interest, with a focus on sharing knowledge and expertise in an open way.

Micah Lee

Micah Lee is The Intercept/First Look Media’s director of information security. He is a computer security engineer and an open-source software developer who writes about technical topics like digital and operational security, encryption tools, whistleblowing, and hacking using language that everyone can understand without dumbing it down.

Naoise Boyle

Naoise Boyle is a designer and researcher based in London. His work exists at the intersection of critical design studies, STS and spatial politics, examining systems of power manifested through technology and new forms of social relations.

Rebecca Lee

Rebecca Lee is the Chief Impact Officer at OpenCorporates, the largest open database of companies in the world. OpenCorporates’ core mission is to promote global corporate transparency by making the world’s company data open to all, shining a light on the existence, ownership and activities of entities, and the people connected with them – particularly to tackle the use of companies for corruption, money laundering and other anti-social purposes.

Steve Day

Steve Day is OpenOwnership’s technical lead. He is responsible for the practical side of their technology and technical advice to partners, as well as making sure that they are an integral part of the wider digital government and civic-technology community.
  • 17 November 2020 17.00–18.30 Time zone: GMT
Time zone: GMT
Location: Training Room - Online (via Zoom)
Collaborative Journalism
This event will be recorded