ICFJ Knight roundup: NarcoData conducts deep investigation into Mexican cartels

by Jefferson Mok
Oct 30, 2018 in Investigative Journalism

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.

NarcoData tackles cartels in Mexico, OpenGov Fellows 'liberate' data in South Africa, and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

NarcoData reveals four decades of drug cartel activity in Mexico

Former ICFJ Knight Fellow Miguel Paz helped launch NarcoData, an investigation into the rise and evolution of drug cartels in Mexico. Paz worked with key partners Poderopedia and digital news site Animal Politico, a grantee of ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman’s data journalism incubator Hackslabs.

Using a combination of video, investigative reporting and data graphics, NarcoData’s reports span four decades to chart the influence of drug cartels and their stranglehold on Mexican society. The investigation took one year to produce, and the NarcoData team plans to continue releasing new reports based on information obtained through Mexico’s recently updated government transparency laws.

OpenGov Fellows supply journalists with access to 550 government datasets in South Africa

South Africa's first cohort of ‪OpenGov Fellows have liberated more than 550 government datasets in just two weeks. The four South African fellows are co-managed by Code for South Africa and Open Data Durban (ODD). The fellows are working to support South African government’s Open Government Partnership pledge to make important “civic” information available online. The fellowships are a continental Code For Africa initiative, with fellows building digital technology to strengthen democracies in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.

ANCIR nominated for Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2015

The African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), founded by ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein, is among 100 nominees for the prestigious Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2015. Selected from more than 1,400 participants, ANCIR was nominated for Khadija Sharife’s work exposing the financial ‘dark markets' that make it possible for fraudsters to allegedly milk gullible investors out of millions of dollars. The investigative report, “Catch and Release,” is featured in the journal of the World Policy Institute. Winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 31.  

ICFJ Knight Fellows participate in Open Government Partnership 2015 Global Summit

Open Government Partnership held its 2015 Global Summit in Mexico, October 27 - 29. ICFJ Knight Fellow Juan Manuel Casanueva helped to organize the event and Fellow Justin Arenstein participated as a speaker. This multilateral initiative aims at creating concrete commitments from governments around the world to promote transparency, empower citizens, better harness new technologies and strengthen governance. Check out #OGP15 to see what happened at this year's summit.

Code for Africa seeks refugee-related data sets to boost The 19 Million Project

ICFJ Knight Fellow Stephen Abbott Pugh explains in a new post on Medium how he and Code for Africa colleagues Catherine Gicheru, Serah Njambi Rono and Robin Kiplangat will support The 19 Million Project, a multimedia project involving former ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariana Santos that highlights the various struggles of refugees around the world. Ahead of the project's conference next week in Rome hosted by the Global Editors Network, Abbott Pugh is calling for data sets that Santos and her colleagues can use to create visualizations and reports about refugee movements around African countries. Read his column to learn how you can contribute.

Oxpeckers investigates the Chinese connection to Namibia’s poaching crisis

Shi Yi, a Chinese journalist working as an environmental journalism fellow with the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism reports on the transnational smuggling of ivory out of Namibia. Yi’s article, “Namibia’s secret ivory business” appeared in the Chinese news resource, The Paper. Read it in English here. Oxpeckers, a founding member of ANCIR and a winner of ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein’s 2012 African News Innovation Challenge, is Africa’s first journalistic investigation unit focusing on environmental issues.

Image: Screenshot of NarcoData graphics