Freelance journalism is a tough business, but many of the best investigative stories are produced by independents working for themselves, whether they’re roving correspondents, book authors, or stringers in remote locales. Here’s GIJN’s guide to freelance services around the world. We started looking for good platforms for finding assignments and getting paid decently, but we’ve expanded that to groups offering help on reporting, funding, insurance, safety, and more. Have we missed something? Write us at GIJN.org.
Looking for sources? Finding experts in a particular field is a good place to start for many stories. GIJN took a look at various guides to expert sources. After cutting those that are outdated, too specialized, or tools of the PR industry, we found a handful worth consulting. Here are six services with functioning, reliable databases used by journalists searching for expert sources.
Krautreporter proved it: donation-financed journalism is possible. Not only in the United States, but also in Germany – and possibly everywhere. It started a campaign for its own online magazine for in-depth journalism with experienced writers. Within one month it raised around 1 million Euros (about US$1.1 million). But 19% of this money was gone the moment it was raised. Devoured by sales tax.
The proliferation of nonprofit newsrooms is one of the more promising developments in an industry wracked by a crumbling financial base and sweeping technological change. Since 2000, dozens of nonprofit media groups have sprouted, not only across America but worldwide. Many are deeply committed to investigative and accountability journalism, working to fill a void left by a mainstream media that either can’t or won’t do its job as social watchdogs. In April, the Knight Foundation published the third installment in a series of reports since 2011 tracking the progress of nonprofit news sites as they strive for a sustainable financial base. There are lessons here for media nonprofits worldwide.
This guide to sustainability for nonprofit investigative journalism groups is adapted from Global Investigative Journalism: Strategies for Support, by GIJN’s David E. Kaplan, published by the Center for International Media Assistance in 2013.
For more background, see GIJN’s Sustainability Resources page.One of the bright spots in investigative journalism over the past decade has been the rapid spread of nonprofits dedicated to supporting in-depth journalism around the world. A 2012 survey by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) identified 106 investigative journalism nonprofits in nearly 50 countries – with more than half of them founded in the past five years. The list includes nonprofit newsrooms, online publishers, professional associations, grant-making funds, NGOs, training institutes, and academic centers. About half are based in the United States, where the hollowing out of traditional media has sparked the founding of dozens of these nonprofit newsrooms at the state and local level. Moreover, the trend does not appear to be abating.
Throughout much of the world, journalists’ legal rights of expression and access to information are ever-changing — and physical harm or financial injury are too often common. So it is some comfort to know that there are organizations willing to defend those legal rights established by regional, national, and international laws. Legal aid organizations may be limited, however, serving only a specific geographic region or limited to a specific area of law. Here are several well-established groups that specialize in getting legal assistance for journalists, as well as other helpful resources:
Media Legal Defence Initiative (International)
This global nongovernmental organization helps defend the rights of reporters across continents and across platforms — from print to broadcast and on line. The London-based group works with a network of legal defense organizations around the world, with individual lawyers and will also pay legal fees if necessary.
Journalists are being strongly urged to protect their communications and information from growing threats. Yet several studies show that most journalists, despite believing the danger is real, are not adopting basic protections. The Rory Peck Foundation issued a Digital Security Guide aimed at freelancers, stressing that “even taking small, simple steps can make a huge difference.”
To help promote digital security, GIJN has assembled this guide to resource materials on the subject. “You can never say that anybody is 100 percent secure,” said Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, in an PDNPulse interview. “But there are many basic steps that anybody can take that can make them more secure than 90 or 95 percent of internet users, and that really goes a long way.”
We begin with summary recommendations by Robert Guerra, a digital security expert at the Canada-based Citizen Lab, who warns that most reporters aren’t even taking the most basic precautions.
The figures are grim for our colleagues around the world. Since 1992, more than 1,300 journalists have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Well over 700 of them have been murdered with impunity; that is, no killer was ever brought to justice. And today, more than 250 journalists are in prison worldwide, many for doing what would be considered routine reporting in much of the world. The problem, moreover, appears to be growing worse.The latest data show attacks and killings at near record levels. Although high profile killings of Western journalists — like Marie Colvin or Daniel Pearl — get international attention, the vast majority of fatalities are staff members of local media.
Here are nonprofit and related organizations worldwide that work in support of investigative journalism, listed by region. It is a diverse group that includes nonprofit newsrooms, online publishers, professional associations, NGOs, training institutes, and academic centers in nearly 50 countries. For inclusion, GIJN applied the following criteria: the group is structured as a nonprofit or non-governmental organization operating in the public interest; its primary mission includes support of investigative journalism; and, for reporting organizations, there is a substantial, on-going commitment to in-depth project reporting or data journalism. If you think a group should be included, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. AFRICA
Africa Uncensored, Kenya
African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting
Centro de Integridade Pública (Center for Public Integrity), Mozambique
Forum for African Investigative Reporters, Africa
INK Centre for Investigative Journalism, Botswana
International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Nigeria
Investigative Journalism Workshop, Wits Univ., South Africa
M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, South Africa
Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism, South Africa
Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Nigeria
Programme for African Investigative Reporting (PAIR), West Africa
Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, Nigeria
Afghan Centre for Investigative Journalism (ACIJ), Afghanistan
Bhutan Media Foundation, Bhutan
Centre for Investigative Journalism, Nepal
Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan (CIRP), Pakistan
Centre for Media and Development Initiatives, Vietnam
Forum for Media and Literature, India
India Spend, India
JARING (Indonesia Network for Investigative Journalism), Indonesia
Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, South Korea
New Zealand Centre for Investigative Journalism, New Zealand
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Philippines
Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism, New Zealand
Thailand Information Center For Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism, Thailand
EASTERN EUROPE/FORMER SOVIET UNION
Agency for Journalistic Investigations, Belarus
Átlátszó Erdély, Romania
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Balkans
Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Latvia
Bosnian Center for Investigative Reporting, Bosnia
Crimean Center for Investigative Reporting, Ukraine
Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism, Czech Republic
Donetsk Institute of Information, Ukraine
Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Russia
Fundacja Reporterow, Poland
Gobolyos Jozsef “Soma” Foundation, Hungary
HETQ Investigative Journalists, Armenia
Investigative Journalism Center, Croatia (IJC)
Investigative Journalism Center of Moldova, Moldova
Investigative Reporting Bureau Svidomo, Ukraine
Kiev Agency for Investigative Reporting, Ukraine
Kosovo Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ), Kosovo
Nikolayev Center for Investigative Reporting, Ukraine
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Eastern Europe/FSU
Regional Press Development Institute, Ukraine
RISE Moldova, Moldova
RISE Project, Romania
Rivne Agency for Investigative Reporting, Ukraine
Romanian Center for Investigative Journalism, Romania
SCOOP, Eastern Europe/FSU
SCOOP Macedonia, Macedonia
Sebastopol Center for Investigative Journalism, Ukraine
Serbian Center for Investigative Reporting, Serbia
Slovenian Center for Investigative Journalism, Slovenia
Studio Monitor, Georgia
Transparent Transylvania, Hungary
Abraji – Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism, Brazil
Center for Investigative Journalism (CIPER), Chile
Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación (CINCO), Nicaragua
Consejo de Redacción, Colombia
El Faro, El Salvador
Institute for Press and Society, Peru
Mexican Foundation for Investigative Journalism (MEPI), Mexico
Plaza Pública, Guatemala
Quinto Elemento, Mexico
MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA/TURKEY
Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), Middle East/North Africa
L’Association marocaine pour le journalisme d’investigation, Morocco
P-24 — Platform for Independent Journalism, Turkey
National and International Groups
Canadian Association of Journalists, Canada
Center for Investigative Reporting, U.S.
Center for Public Integrity, U.S.
Food & Environment Reporting Network, U.S.
Fund for Investigative Journalism, U.S.
Global Investigative Journalism Network, international
Institute for Nonprofit News, U.S.
International Center for Journalists, U.S.
International Reporting Program, University of British Columbia, Canada