Intervention is grieving the ill-luck of missing the 10th version of the Global Investigative Journalism Conference opening later this evening, (November 15th, 2017) on the campus of Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is rated the world’s largest gathering of investigative and data reporters and is taking place in Africa for the first time from where it moves to Mexico City in North America next year.
A considerate and generous global Foundation had nominated and put everything in place for Intervention to attend the week long fiesta. A totally unforeseen and overriding clash made it impossible for the staff documented to make the trip to do so. The great thing is that the organisers are making it possible to be a participant from one’s room through the 21st century equalitarian machine – the World Wide Web or its more romantic name, worldwide wonderland. But it would never be like being there in body and soul. Technology cannot compensate for the human mind! Not yet!
Although fast growing Intervention is more about reflectivist and discursive reporting, the Global Investigative Journalism Conference offers virtually everything. It is actually like a Masters degree programme condensed into one week.
Those attending this year’s would be dealing with investigative journalism from as different spheres as imaginable. By their own list, such would include what would certainly be a stimulating keynote address by Joseph Stiglitz on “Media Power in a Post-Truth World” Says the organizers: Named one of the world’s most influential economists, Stiglitz will be outspoken on the critical role of the press, the evils of demagogues trying to undermine journalism and the importance of investigative reporting”; “The Globalization of Investigative Journalism” on which GIJN’s executive director, David Kaplan, would be talking about – how investigative reporting has gone global, how journalists are collaborating across borders as never before and how GIJN and the conference itself originated. It is now in its 10th year. The other component of this is the South African perspective on #GIJC17 and what it means to journalism in the region that local host, Anton Harber of the University of Witwatersrand Journalism Program would provide.
What are the global trends influencing data journalism? What will the next generation of data journalists look like? These are questions the organizers have lined up experts and global practitioners, including GIJN co-founder, Brant Houston, author of Computer-Assisted Reporting, and Giannina Segnini, the director of the Data Journalism Program at Columbia University in New York. This would be addressed under the title “The Future of Data Journalism”. In the same way, Christopher Deloire of the Reporters Without Borders will be answering questions about the growing global challenges to journalists’ safety and press freedom under the title “The Growing Threat to Independent Journalism” while the question of what’s next for training the next generation of investigative reporters would have Sheila Coronel, academic dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism who is also regarded as one of the field’s leading innovators speaking on “The Future of Investigative Journalism Education”
Additionally, studies of issues such as measuring the impact of investigative reporting; the relationship between investigative reporting and people in positions of power as well as the dynamics of fixers and foreign correspondents would be released and discussed at the conference. And there would be sessions on African and global muck racking as well as examination of sub themes as fighting fake news; dealing with Online harassment; dealing with databases beyond Google. This is a tip of the iceberg from the numerous sessions, panels and workshops.
Global Investigative Journalism Network which is organising the conference is profiled as an international association of nonprofit organizations that support, promote and produce investigative journalism. It was founded in 2003 and has grown to 155 member organizations in 68 countries. Every two years, GIJN holds the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. This year, the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is co-hosting.