VVOJ2012 verslag: J-Lab: Re-invent investigative journalism

Titel: J-lab: Re-invent investigative journalism
Datum: zaterdag 17 november 2012
Tijd: 14:00-15:30 uur
Sprekers: Stefan Candea and Sebastian Mondial
Aantal deelnemers: 8

Verslag: Arno Moens

The purpose of this workshop is to help people with certain internet aspects of investigative journalism, hence J-lab (Journalism lab).

Stefan and Sebastian are two journalists and web wizkids respectively from Romania and Germany. Stefan works for the Romanian Center for Investigative Journalism and Sebastian works freelance. They have met a few years back at a conference in Geneva and now they collaborate on several journalistic products and once in a while they give workshops.

They gave a workshop on the security of investigative journalists; how to stay under the radar while investigating something. In these modern times it is not difficult to track someone’s traces on the internet. And apparently it is also not that hard to cover those tracks, as long as you listen to these two professionals of course.

This morning they spoke about what to do when something goes terribly wrong when writing a story. For example when your computer crashes or your contact person dies (they are fond of letting their thoughts run free and imagining every possible thing that could happen, after that they add: highly unlikely, likely or very likely to every thought, your contact person dying for example would be called ‘unlikely’).

They recommend creating a ‘fire plan’ before starting your investigation because you never know when a fire could start. The plan includes making a mindmap of possible problems and making back-ups of all the data you gather.

The internet is getting more and more important for journalists and Stephan and Sebastian are here to help them cope with that fact. The people that pop by during this final workshop got inspired by their earlier topics and discovered that they had some questions for them or just have questions in general.

Sebastian calls this an ‘end of conference workshop’ because it is more individual than all the other workshops, not like the other ones they’ve done the past two days.’

You can walk in and out of the ‘J-lab’ and discuss the topics they have talked about with them or ask for help if you have got doubts or problems about using the internet while investigating something.

Naturally the use of Google and social media are hot topics and get a lot of attention. A wide array of new and old tools pass the revue. There is a friendly atmosphere and everyone is thankful and satisfied after having a conversation with either one of the wizkids. It seems you can’t leave the J-lab without feeling enriched.



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