Gathering Examples of Collaboration in Investigative Reporting

    by Amanda Hickman
    June 23, 2010

    I recently attended the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2010 conference and ended up talking with Astrid Gynnild, a post doctoral research associate in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen in Norway. She’s researching collaborations in investigative journalism.

    I showed her some of my favorites: The Los Angeles Times, ProPublica, ABC News and Washington Post working together on Disposable Army was one of them. Frontline, ProPublica and the Times-Picayune’s coverage of police shootings that were never investigated after Hurricane Katrina is also great reporting, but she’s looking for more. Are you collaborating internationally? On an enterprise reporting team? Do you work closely with one or two other reporters in your own newsroom? She’s curious to hear about it. I am, too. What makes collaboration work when you’re an investigative reporter?

    Share your thoughts and experiences in comments. Or, if you don’t want to comment here, you can write to her directly. She’s [email protected]

    Tagged: collaboration investigative reporting research

    3 responses to “Gathering Examples of Collaboration in Investigative Reporting”

    1. Check out this:

      “This six-part project is the result of a four-month investigation by the Monitor and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. It was written by the center’s Doug Struck with contributions from reporters Ben Arnoldy in India, Sara Miller Llana in Panama, Ilene R. Prusher in Israel, Kathy Marks in Australia, and Katy Jordan and Tyler Maltbie in Boston. The project was funded , in part, by The Deer Creek Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Assistance in video production was provided by students at Emerson College and Boston University. The project won the April 2010 Sidney award for outstanding socially-conscious journalism. An interview with Struck appears on the Sidney site.”

      see necir-bu.org for more.

    2. We at voiceofsandiego.org have teamed up with university researchers and students to have them do the heavy-lifting on quantitative research based on our hunches.

      Then, we take that research and head out to do the interviews, document digging, etc.

      From the intro of our Out of Reach project

      Over the last few years, we’ve heard bits and pieces about San Diego County’s social welfare programs. A lawsuit demonstrated how strict the county’s limits were for providing health care coverage for the poor. News stories about controversial anti-fraud policies hinted at overriding policy decisions. An annual report pegged San Diego’s provision of food stamps at the bottom of the heap nationwide.

      We wanted to know if these were isolated incidents or examples of a larger pattern. With this in mind, we partnered with the Rose Institute of Local and State Government at Claremont McKenna College to take a wider look at county services and compare San Diego to California’s other major counties.

      A team of Claremont McKenna students, guided by fellows and professors, spent months studying the 12 largest counties in the state. The completed report provided a look at a wide range of county services — including these public assistance programs we’d been tracking. The section of the Rose Institute report dedicated to these programs confirmed that there was indeed a strong trend across San Diego’s social welfare programs.

      From there, we spent the next several months interviewing more than 100 sources and reading piles of court filings and studies. The resulting series seeks to explore the gaps in San Diego County’s safety net, the roots of those gaps and the impacts on the residents who need help.

      A summary of what we found:
      The gulf between social welfare programs and the residents for whom they are designed is starker in San Diego than any other major California county.
      San Diego’s denial rates for social welfare programs are the highest and its enrollment rates are at or near the bottom when compared to California’s largest counties or other major metro areas nationwide.
      Courts have found the county’s income limits for health care to be too restrictive. The county has some of the strictest anti-fraud programs in the state.
      The state obligates counties to run the programs, but it has made profound cuts to the funding the counties get, leaving them to find a way to keep social aid programs running.
      San Diego County supervisors resent this mandate, calling the state a deadbeat and fighting it in court and in public.

    3. claimwatch says:

      i believe collaboration is key to dig into claims/topics deeper.

      i will be putting in more effort to further finetune the claimwatch concept.

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