While investigative reporting is often associated with “American” journalism—from Upton Sinclair and Ida Tarbell to I.F. Stone and Seymour Hersh—the methodology has been spreading rapidly around the world. Money and power move globally. Journalists on every (inhabited) continent are unearthing the hidden interests behind the politicians and business leaders whose decisions can have devastating impacts on the environment, civil liberties, human rights and the functioning of democracy. From unearthing corporate abuses of power to government corruption, human rights abuses and environmental devastation, top-notch reporting is coming from outside the United States. Some twenty years ago, I helped organize a transnational network of investigative journalists between (then-Western) Europe and the United States. Those were in the days before the Internet; much time was spent cursing fax machines. I never imagined then the extraordinary boom in top notch investigative reporting that we’re now seeing across the globe.
To bring this work to greater public attention, CIR will be highlighting international investigations on our new blog: The Investigative Report: International. Sometimes they’ll have an American angle, sometimes not. But our aim is to highlight the work of great journalists working around the world—sometimes in conditions far more difficult than those in the United States. We’ll be keeping our eyes open, but hope you will send us ideas when you see or participated in a story worthy of broader attention.
We launch this new project with “Tobacco Roads,” the result of a team investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CIN). A team of reporters spent months unearthing the links of big tobacco to political figures and the illicit smuggling schemes used to dominate national markets in five countries: Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania and Ukraine.
The team of reporters and editors at CIN in Sarajevo is itself reflective of the phenomenon of investigative reporting’ s global rise: Started as a training center in the nineties, the CIN has evolved into a working journalistic force, often engaging in trans-national investigative collaborations which they market to local print, television and radio press, and feature on their web site. Their Organised Crime and Corruption Project is a joint project with the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism and involves a network of journalists in Bulgaria, the Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. Down the line, we’ll be featuring interviews with reporters from CIN as well as investigative journalists from all international, commercial and non-commercial, media.
>> Read “Tobacco Roads” online.
>> Visit the homepage of THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: INTERNATIONAL to learn more about this project.