Posts Tagged ‘investigative reporting’
Al Jazeera launched an interactive game this week based on investigating the illegal pirate fishing in the Sierra Leone. Gamers become a reporter, gathering evidence and notes. By watching videos and viewing photos, the “reporter” puts the content in the correct “notebook” and can move up levels.
The game is based on a report called “Pirate Fishing” done by Juliana Ruhfus for the Al Jazeera series People & Power, nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards. An Italian based agency, Altera Studios, partnered with the news organization to create the interactive game, which can be played on a desktop or on mobile. The angle of “building a case” is a nice lesson for younger students or people outside of the field, even; it makes journalism seem adventurous, which it should be. The game focuses on evidence collection, fact checking, and background note taking. Ruhfus is quoted in the release:
Investigative journalism can be seen as quite high-brow, whereas ‘gamification’ can open it up to a new generation of digital-savvy journalists. It’s important for us to push the boundaries and explore new ways to reach audiences…The game highlights how news stories are created, and the benchmarks needed to qualify your reporting. We’ve been encouraged by the response so far.
You can play the game here.
The CIR Is On It: Telling the Story of Solitary Confinement for Teens Over, and Over, and Over Again
This week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released a print story, a short animation, and a photo essay about solitary confinement for adolescents in the U.S. prison system. That’s in addition to a NewsHour and a public radio piece released last month and to a yet unreleased half hour documentary and graphic novel. By the end of the month, there will be around 10 pieces of the adolescent solitary confinement story circling you on one form of media or another.
It’s enough to make you rethink what you’ve been reporting on all year. CIR reporters Daffodil Altan and Trey Bundy started over a year ago trying to gain access into prisons and report on conditions for teens. Altan says that the access issues surrounding the story seemed “almost insurmountable” at a certain point. Instead of being deterred, they pressed on and worked on thinking of different ways to handle the content. Says Altan:
We started of thinking of ways to tell the story even though we were dealing with essentially invisible sights. That’s where the idea for the animation came up. We had met this very compelling young man in New York who told us about his experience at Rikers very powerfully and we had all this tape of him…we decided to try to take 3 hours of interview and see if we could carve that into something smaller and with a narrative arc.
And so the reporting team of two or three turned into a team of somewhere around 15-20, according to Bundy. Bundy says that as they are reporting they’re “always having conversations about what else we can do besides what we’ve already settled on.” In this case, there was a written story in mind, with photos to boot. But a colleague who acts as a liaison between the CIR and KQED “heard radio all over this,” says Bundy. When New York State started talking about banning the practice of solitary confinement for teenagers, NewsHour suddenly wanted the story sooner. “That wasn’t always supposed to be the first piece that was released on this,” Bundy adds. Having the story told across platforms means you reach more people. Says Bundy, “There’s some overlap between people who listen to public radio or watch NewsHour, or read Medium, but it’s not total overlap. The benefit of having multiple platforms is that you are going to catch multiple, different types of audiences, hopefully.”
If not for enterprising and investigative-minded journalists, the recent George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal in New Jersey might never have been brought to light.
Same goes for that stubborn NY1 reporter, whose recent relentless questioning of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm about campaign finance irregularities led to an on-air blowup that revealed the congressman as something of a bully. Read more
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