ICFJ Knight roundup: Knight Fellow criticizes Sean Penn, says Mexican reporters face real danger

by Alyssa Mesich
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital and Physical Safety

Each week as part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

Garza Ramos weighs in on Sean Penn’s visit to El Chapo; a podcast on legal resources for reporters in Africa; and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

Knight Fellow says Sean Penn faced no real danger during visit with El Chapo

Former ICFJ Knight Fellow Javier Garza Ramos takes on Sean Penn in a Washington Post article dissecting the actor’s interview with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the recently apprehended drug lord and two-time fugitive. Garza, a journalist based in northern Mexico and an expert on media safety, offers a clear-eyed portrayal of the dangers journalists confront every day covering the drug trade in Mexico. He says the roving gunmen who threaten Mexican journalists facilitated Penn’s conversation with El Chapo. A must read to understand the risks and responsibilities of being a professional journalist. Garza wrote a similar column for El Pais in Spanish.

Part two of “Africa Investigates” podcast offers legal advice for journalists

Africa Investigates released part two of its “Fatal Extraction” podcast, which focuses on deaths and injuries allegedly linked to Australian mining companies operating in Africa. Hosted by ICFJ Knight Fellow Chris Roper, in partnership with World Policy Institute and ANCIR, this podcast interviews Heinrich Bohmke, ANCIR’s cross-examination advisor, who provides information on how reporters can make the most persuasive and legally justifiable case against those responsible for injustice. Read more about “Fatal Extraction: The Human Cost of Australia’s Mining Empire in Africa” here.

Pakistan’s Tribune Express publishes two new interactive stories produced by Knight Fellow

In collaboration with designers and coders from the Express Tribune Labs, ICFJ Knight Fellow Shaheryar Popalzai has helped to create two visually gripping interactive stories. The first project rummages through musical collections from the 90s in Pakistan to dig up classic cult favorites. Combining text stories and music clips, the Lost Tales project features some of the popular but lesser known musical acts of the time and brings them to today’s audience. The second project takes on the pervasive problem of extortion in Karachi's Central Jail. Using a news game format, this interactive timeline takes viewers inside a typical jail and pinpoints the situations and locations in which a bribe might be demanded.

Mariano Blejman helped Unidiversidad dive into digital journalism

A year ago, Unidiversidad, a digital publication produced by the National University of Cuyo in the Mendoza province of Argentina, decided to boost the use of technology in its reports -- with new formats and digital content, a very different approach to journalism. The problem: just where does one begin? Fortunately, ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman happened to be in Mendoza at the time and he had a few useful ideas to share. Read the whole story about Unidiversidad’s first attempts at creating digitally interactive news here.  [Spanish]

Budeshi: Linking budget and procurement data for public services in Nigeria

What happens after a contract is awarded? How can we be sure how the budget is spent? Seember Nyager, an OpenGov Fellow in partnership with Code for Africa and Open Knowledge, and her team have developed Budeshi, a website that links budgets with procurement data to improve oversight of Nigeria’s public services. Read more in Nyager’s blog on CfAfrica’s Medium.

ANCIR helps navigate the story behind a network of Syrian smugglers

CORRECT!V, the investigative newsroom, published an article called “The Hidden Fleet: How a Syrian network smuggles weapons, drugs, and refugees across the Mediterranean.” This investigative piece explores the story behind the fleet of vessels arriving on the European coast. ANCIR provided key research on African business registries for the article.

InfoAmazonia’s 'map of the day' shows a complex view of land allocation in Brazil

It’s a simple map, but sometimes the simplest visuals tell the most important stories. In InfoAmazonia’s ongoing quest to tell the stories of environmental changes transforming Brazil, this map shows the interwoven patchwork of three kinds of land there: indigenous lands, protected areas and areas of deforestation that have occurred in the last 10 years. In each of those spaces lie dramatic stories of the ongoing contest to preserve Brazil’s environment in the face of economic and urban development. InfoAmazonia is an online data-driven platform that reports on geojournalism stories in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and was created by former ICFJ Knight Fellow Gustavo Faleiros.

Main image CC-licensed courtesy of Knight Foundation