In a discussion about the challenges journalists face when reporting on development stories, three reporters showcased their multimedia projects as an innovative way to translate complicated and overlooked issues, into compelling stories.
- Investigation on development topics take a lot of time, financial and human resources.
- Covering development topics is more difficult when countries are affected by conflicts, crisis and epidemics.
- It’s difficult to get development stories published in the mainstream media.
“Despite these challenges, reporting on development issues around the world has grown and journalists have portrayed innovative ways to cover and report on developmental issues,” said Lungu.
The panel’s speakers—grantees of the Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Program—discussed how their investigations in development came about, the challenges they faced while reporting and the techniques they used to overcome them.
“Enthusiasm and energy is what you need for investigative reporting in development issues” said Gilles van Kote, deputy chief editor of Le Monde while talking about Ecocide project, an investigation on environmental crime.
Transforming Data Into a Story
The use of data became a focus of the discussion and van Kote said hat exposing real life experiences has more impact than showcasing figures and reports.
On the topic, Eva Belmonte Belda, project manager at Fundación Civio, spoke about medicamentalia.org—a data journalism project which investigates access to medicines around the world—and said translating specialized medical information into a compelling narrative was a challenge.
“It is difficult to convert academic journals into journalistic stories,” she said.
How to take investigative developmental stories to larger audience?
“Establish alliances not only with the media but also with civil society. Build a campaign; a social media strategy can take the investigation to a larger audience,” suggested Stefano Liberti—author of ‘The dark side of the Italian tomato’ and of the upcoming story ‘Fish for cheap.’
Liberti emphasized that journalists have to use a model of collaboration with civil society, offering them a credible and accountable source of information for their campaigns, while at the same time, being extremely careful not to compromise their editorial independence.
The Multimedia approach
Unlike traditional linear storytelling, all the projects approached their stories with an innovative multimedia approach.
“The idea behind the multimedia format was to touch as many people as possible and to satisfy different interests through different formats,” explained Liberti.