GIJN launches a platform to support video investigations into COVID-19

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by Laura Carrer

The COVID-19 pandemic has had major repercussions also in the world of journalism and in the media industry.

Under these circumstances, there are many obstacles that filmmakers and journalists must cope with in order to keep on producing their work: from the inability to travel to the health risks, not to mention the difficulties of covering the daily outburst of COVID-19 emergency while keep working on other long-term investigations on different topics.

For this reason, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) – an international non-profit organization that supports and promotes investigative journalism and a partner of DIG – launched a collaborative platform to facilitate contacts between freelance journalists and television broadcasters or editors for the creation and publications of video investigative projects television.

International producers and broadcasters involved in the project are Premières Lignes in France, BBC (Global Current Affairs, BBC Africa and BBC Arabia), PBS Frontline in the United States, the Swiss public television (SRF) and CBC Canada, which produces French and English-language content.

GIJN is seriously committed to to handle the submitted materials with the highest confidential standards and to distribute it only to the recipient producers. Although the platform is secure, it is not recommended to share sensitive information or data related to the investigation project that you intend to present.

In case you are interested in submitting a pitch, here are some practical indications that were discussed during the GIJN’s online webinar “Investigating The Pandemic“:

Cover a topic from its own initial stages and following a fresh perspective, original and innovative, as suggested by Sarah Childress, senior editor of PBS Frontline.

Physical and social distancing can be an obstacle but also a resource if they get included in the the storytelling. According to Jean Philippe Ceppi, Executive producer for the Swiss investigative program Temps Présent, there is often a correlation between the value of a film and how difficult it was to understand the facts and use images to tell them. In fact, it is fundamental to recreate the networks that usually connect the various stakeholders involved in investigative journalism and that have been heavily impacted by the explosion of the Coronavirus pandemic in March.

Think long term. Premières Lignes reporter Edouard Perrin suggests to focus on the implications of the emergency from a socio-political point of view. An example is the topic of social control and surveillance, which will probably become central also in Western, European and democratic countries.

Having access to non-public information through the contribution of those those who can testify first-hand. Contribute to the involvement and – hand in hand – to the protection of whistleblowers and leakers who make it possible for readers to have access to more facts and to the ideas of those directly involved in the stories.

Investigate how the health crisis has been misused to distract public opinion from other issues that have been necessarily underreported during the lockdown. (corruption, organized crime) as suggested by BBC Arabia.

This article has been published in collaboration
with the European Journalism Observatory (EJO)