We organised a weekend full of investigative journalism
In cooperation with the Open Society Foundation, we prepared the third year of the Academy of Investigative Journalism.
We implemented the Academy of Investigative Journalism (AIŽ) under the banner of the Fund for Transparent Slovakia in cooperation with the Investigative Journalism Fund of the Open Society Foundation. The academy offered an interesting educational programme for a dozen journalists from various media, such as Denník N, RTVS, Korzár, REFRESHER, Startitup, and from the SITA agency.
The following experts shared their knowledge and experience with the participating journalists:
- Lukáš Diko, editor-in-chief of the Ján Kuciak Investigative Centre,
- Zuzana Petková, director of the Stop Corruption Foundation,
- Martin Turček, investigative journalist at Aktuality.sk,
- Robert Barca, Digital Verification Specialist at AFP,
- Eva Braxatorisová, lawyer, Advocates Pro Bono
- and Carola Houtekamer, a Dutch journalist at NRC Media, shared her experiences from international investigative cooperation.
The programme included six parts in which participants were tested with practical tasks. Further, they had the opportunity to discuss with lecturers about the problems they encounter in their work, and to gain tips on how to turn their hypotheses into articles and reports.
Lukáš Diko explored the concept of investigative journalism and then continued with the topic of how to write a compelling story. Zuzana Petková, within the theme of handling investigative work, introduced participants to how journalists should work with confidential sources. Martin Turček guided the attendees through working with open sources and data analysis.
One of the guests was Robert Barca, who specialises in debunking hoaxes and disinformation on the internet, specifically on Facebook. He works as a fact-checker for the French agency AFP in Slovakia, which is the only certified foreign agency in Slovakia performing fact-checking for Meta. In the first part of his workshop, he presented data from a new Globsec survey on the increasing trend of Slovaks’ trust in disinformation, demonstrating the significance of his work. Subsequently, he explained how to fact-check, including a practical component where young journalists practiced determining geolocation based on photos.
Lawyer Eva Braxatorisová brought insight into the legal protection of journalists during investigative activities. Besides the options of defending a journalist in the event of attacks resulting from his investigative activities according to criminal and civil law, she provided information on the protection of the journalist’s resources, its rules, and limits. In her lecture, she also addressed the topic of the journalist’s legal responsibility – freedom of expression vs. protection of the personality of persons/protection of the good name of legal entities.
Saturday evening was enlivened by a discussion between Fedor Blaščák, administrator of the Open Society Foundation, and Henrich Krejča, head of news and journalism at TV Markíza, who discussed the history of Slovak investigative reporting.
We concluded Sunday talking about an international investigation. The debate was led by Dutch journalist Carole Houtekamer. She provided several examples of how to work on investigative projects in an international team. She also offered tips and tricks on where to find crucial data, documents, or statistics. To the attending journalists, she gave valuable advice: to constantly discuss issues and approaches with colleagues who can offer a completely new perspective on the situation being addressed.
In addition to the training blocks, the Academy also offered space for networking – it is the joint work of journalists from different newsrooms that can bring clearer answers to investigative hypotheses.
Our efforts to support promising investigative journalists do not end with the academy. In the coming weeks, we will offer graduates the opportunity to apply in a closed grant call for a grant of 2,000 euros for their investigative projects.