The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is an active global network of reporters who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories. Founded in 1997, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers.
With more than 160 members in 61 countries, ICIJ is dedicated to investigating cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power. Backed by the Center and its computer-assisted reporting specialists, public records experts, fact-checkers and lawyers, ICIJ reporters and editors provide real-time resources and state-of-the-art tools and techniques to journalists around the world.
The need for such an organization has never been greater. Globalization and development have placed extraordinary pressures on human societies, posing unprecedented threats from polluting industries, transnational crime networks, rogue states, and the actions of powerful figures in business and government. The information and communications revolutions have outpaced the ability of law enforcement to keep up with the corrupt and the criminal. The news media, hobbled by short attention spans and lack of resources, are even less of a match for those who would harm the public interest. Broadcast networks and major newspapers have closed foreign bureaus, cut travel budgets, and disbanded investigative teams. At a time of unparalleled globalization, we are losing our eyes and ears around the world precisely when we need them most.
Meanwhile, in many developing countries, investigative reporters are killed, threatened, or imprisoned with alarming regularity. Amazingly unbowed by these life-and-death realities, journalists are in dire need of help from colleagues abroad, many of whom do similar work and can offer support.
ICIJ projects are typically staffed by teams ranging from as few as three to as many as 20 reporters spread around the world. These journalists work with counterparts in other countries and with our Washington, D.C., staff to report, edit, and produce groundbreaking multimedia reports that adhere to the highest standards of fairness and accuracy. Over the years, our teams have exposed smuggling by multinational tobacco companies; investigated private military cartels, asbestos companies, and climate change lobbyists; and broke new ground by publicizing details of Iraq and Afghanistan war contracts.
To release its findings, ICIJ works with leading news organizations worldwide. Our stories have appeared in a dozen languages and with such partners as the BBC World Service and BBC World TV, Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Le Soir (Belgium), Novaya Gazeta (Russia), the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), and the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia).
These unique collaborations have been honored repeatedly. Among ICIJ’s awards: the George Polk Award, Overseas Press Club Award, and Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.
In addition to ICIJ’s in-depth reporting, the consortium plays a key role in bringing together investigative journalists from around the world. Through our website, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter, ICIJ reaches thousands of followers in dozens of countries with news on the latest reporting tools and techniques, awards, fellowships, and journalists under fire. Each week, our Investigations Around the World showcases the finest investigative reporting from Africa to Asia and the Americas. Through the Ujima Project — a series of easy-to-use portals and databases – we are helping give outgunned and understaffed news media in developing nations access to public records. And every two years, ICIJ sponsors a global competition, the Daniel Pearl Awards for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting – the only prize that specifically recognizes the best cross-border investigative journalism.
ICIJ’s support between Jan. 1, 2010, and the present comes from Adessium Foundation, The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Oak Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Park Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Waterloo Foundation.
ICIJ is always open to new story ideas, as well as outstanding investigative journalists interested in collaborating with us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas, at investigations (at) icij.org.