The Media24 investigative journalism unit has launched a website to provide a consolidated home for stories that the investigative journalism team produces for a variety of its daily and Sunday newspaper titles. The site is also a place for whistle-blowers and others to share with tips and documents.
Unusually among South African investigative reporting teams, the unit is not attached to a single title and therefore the work it produce is distributed across many publications and platforms.
A cornerstone of the site will be for the investigative reporters to share documents and other source material with the public. For example, the site included at launch several hundred pages of documents relating to the National Youth Development Agency’s R108 million spending on the infamous “kissing festival”, which the team gained several months ago, using access to information law.
“Many other connections”
“We have already produced a number of stories from these documents but there will most likely be many other connections and names which mean little to us but which a reader may spot as significant,” said Andrew Trench, Media24 investigations editor.
“The Guardian in the UK’s use of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ in sifting through tens of thousands of pages of MPs expense claims there shows that appropriately sharing source material can be an important tool in investigative reporting today.”
Leaked confidential recordings
It also includes audio clips from recently leaked confidential recordings of the National Lotteries Board’s discussions around a security breach of the lottery operator Gidani’s systems. First-day web analytics shows that these audio clips were the second most popular item on the site and would indicate that readers are interested in spending time delving into other material relating to investigative journalism.
“Our primary goal is meeting the needs of our newspaper titles but the web gives us an important arrow in our quiver, as we work to build South Africa’s best investigative reporting team,” concluded Trench.
View the site at http://www.m24i.co.za.