AIJC 2016 Sessions

HomeSessions  |  Speakers  |  Program  |  Carlos Cardoso lecture 

Cross-examination techniques for investigative reporters.

This session discusses how journalists may more forensically expose false denials by respondents in researching and writing a story. It draws on courtroom prosecutorial techniques designed to expose dishonest, unreliable or improbable testimony. Attendees are shown eight techniques with which journalists may weigh a version’s believability. And if it comes up short, how to leave readers or viewers with the impression that the interviewee was not frank and forthright.

Speaker: Heinrich Böhmke

The Panama Papers – how the powerful hide their wealth

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama. The files show how Mossack Fonseca clients, including celebrities, top level politicians and even heads of state, were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax. Will Fitzgibbon of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists talks about how it all started and the groundbreaking reporting on the leak.

Speaker: Will Fitzgibbon

A trail of blood: conflict diamonds laundered in Cameroon
The story tells how Kimberley officials in Cameroon launder Central African Republic conflict diamonds onto world markets. Journalist Christian Locka went undercover to research who is involved in this criminal network. He was able to get hold of the number one Kimberley official in East Cameroon who facilitates the trafficking of CAR’s blood diamonds by changing the origin of stones, knowing that these actions reinforce the war arsenal of militias.

Speaker:  Christian Locka

Boko Haram – in the realm of death

The world talks ABOUT Boko Haram. Award-winning German journalist Michael Obert wanted to talk TO Boko Haram. In early 2014, he and photographer Andy Spyra travelled to Northern Nigeria on a dangerous mission: to meet fighters of one of the most dangerous terrorist groups. Almost nothing was known about the “Nigerian Taliban.” How are they organized? Where do they get their funding? Are they linked to international terrorism networks? Obert and Spyra (see above) set out to find answers.

Speaker: Michael Obert

PANEL: New models of investigative journalism in Africa

The old media models of financing, production and distribution are gone. What will take their place? What are the new models that will support investigative journalism? Are online platforms the solution?
Panellists: John-Allan Namu of Africa Uncensored, Stefaans Brümmer of amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, Hamadou Tidiane Sy Ouestaf News, Alvin Ntibinyane of INK Botswana.

Kanjo Kingdom – abuse of informal traders 

Informal traders are often victims of serious abuse by city authorities, and with the abuse comes extortion. Media house Africa Uncensored in conjunction with Huyo!, an online citizen rights platform, produced a four-part series that exposed a cabal of Nairobi City Inspectorate officers who make millions every year from thousands of informal traders. John-Allan Namu, founder of Africa Uncensored, discusses how citizen journalism helped them expose this network and how active citizens can be powerful partners for investigative reporters.

Speaker: John-Allan Namu

The ABC’s of a hard-hitting investigation

Have an idea for an investigation but not sure how to pull it off? This session will show you how to gather relevant documents, cultivate sources, create databases and stay organized from beginning to end.

Speaker: Cheryl W Thompson

Multimedia storytelling in Africa

Storytelling is a cherished tradition in many African societies and as journalists practising on the continent, we have tapped into that tradition. Today’s world offers journalists a wide array of digital multimedia to enhance storytelling. This workshop teaches how journalists – or modern day griots – can use the latest tools to amplify voices while remaining authentic to the craft of journalistic storytelling in text, audio and video.

Speaker: Chika Odua

Investigating the globalization of law enforcement agencies

It’s not just the CIA and MI6; increasingly law enforcement agencies like the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency, even the US Fish and Wildlife Service are expanding their footprint into African countries. This session will discuss some of the operations of these agencies in cooperation with African law enforcement agencies and the broader implications of information-sharing between them. It will discuss how to track what these agencies are doing.

Speakers: Ron Nixon, Susan Comrie

Investigative reporting for documentaries

In this session, French investigative reporter Jean-Baptiste Renaud will share some basics about how to start an investigative documentary, how to find good stories and what methodology to use to build a comprehensive investigative piece. Based on his experience, he will establish a step by step process using all the tools available to make a good investigative documentary: from the choice of sources and documentation to the way the filming equipment should be selected to give a specific touch to the pictures.

Speaker: Jean-Baptiste Renaud

Follow the money – how to do a financial investigation

We are offering a crash course in following the money. John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network and journalist George Turner of Finance Uncovered will talk about uncovering illicit finance, financial secrecy, tax avoidance and asset recovery. Please start at the beginning and follow it through to get the maximum possible out of this course. If you follow all three sessions you will get a free copy of the book, The Greatest Invention: Tax and the Campaign for a Just Society.

Session one – Where has the money gone? Introduction to offshore banking
Session two – Writing stories about offshore
Session three: Bankers, accountants, lawyers and the families that use them

The Panama Papers – finding stories 
There is a wealth of documents in the Panama Papers. Find out how to search the almost 320,000 offshore companies and trusts from the Panama Papers and the offshore leaks investigations. This is a practical session and will give you a starting point for your own investigations.

Speaker: Will Fitzgibbon

How to investigate wrongful convictions ­

Carolyn Raphaely and Ruth Hopkins, journalists with the Wits Justice Project, will share their methods, ideas and insights on how to investigate wrongful convictions. Carolyn and Ruth will discuss how they go about investigating cases: accessing court transcripts and police dockets, interviewing witnesses, visiting crime scenes and prisons.

Speakers: Ruth Hopkins, Carolyn Raphaely

Networking – cross border collaborations

An informal session for journalists that would like to work together with other journalists across borders or want to connect with media organisations already doing this.

Join Will Fitzgibbon of the ICIJ; Hamadou Tidiane Sy of Ouestef News; Khadija Sharif, formerly editor of the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR); George Turner of Finance Uncovered; Drew Forrest of AmaBhungana; and Evelyn Groenink of the African Investigative Publishing Collective.

Killing Kenya – police brutality

Kenyan investigative journalist Mohamed Ali will show his documentary Killing Kenya, an investigation he did for Al Jazeera into claims that the government of Kenya has been running secret police death squads tasked with assassinating suspected terrorists and criminals. Ali discovers that over 1,500 Kenyan citizens have been killed by the police since 2009, and Kenyans are five times more likely to be shot by a policeman than a criminal.

Speaker: Mohamed Ali

Chasing the poachers

Veteran Namibian journalist John Grobler will take us though his experiences in chasing after an elusive rhino poaching syndicate that stretches from Africa to the mouth of the Yangtze River in China, and reaches into the highest echelons of government. Chinese journalist Shi Yi will talk about her investigation into poaching and how she works with Grobler from China.

Speakers: John Grobler, Shi Yi

PANEL – Reporting on terrorism in Africa

How do you report on terrorist organizations in Africa? How do you get close to the story and how do you stay safe?  Perspectives from Kenya and Nigeria.

Panellists: Mohamed Ali, Kassim Mohamed, Michael Obert, Hamzi Idris

The baby factory cartel

Nigerian investigative journalist Rosemary Nwaebuni went undercover to expose the trade in newborn babies by a cartel of doctors, nurses and midwives. Under the guise of operating a shelter for less-privileged women, the cartel held girls captive and paid young men to get them pregnant. The babies were taken away from the mothers and sold to childless clients.

Speaker: Rosemary Nwaebuni

Keeping up with the Guptas

South Africa investigative unit AmaBhungane first identified South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma’s close ties to the Gupta family in 2010. The Guptas had employed Zuma’s children, there was the attempted hijacking of an iron ore rights, a smelly dairy project in the Free State, employing Zuma’s wife and seemingly paying off the bond on her house, links to a Transnet board member and a Transnet tender, even allegations of meddling in ministerial and board appointments. Sam Sole and Craig McKune will tell you how “state capture” became a national issue.

Speakers: Sam Sole, Craig McKune

How to tell your story – narrative journalism crash course

This crash course of three sessions will stimulate your creativity as a writer. Narrative journalism is used to captivate readers by drawing them into a story with greater detail than is found in traditional news stories. Unlike straight news stories – which offer readers the basic who, what, where, when and why of a story – narrative news pieces are longer and allow the writer to employ more elements of prose writing. In this practical creative writing course by South Africa journalist and novelist Jo-Anne Richards, you will learn how to better package your investigations. It will give tips and tricks to those who have already been writing for a long time.

Trainer: Jo-Anne Richards

China in Africa

Reporting on China in Africa is often based on stereotypes, generalizations and ideological positioning. China has been portrayed as a pernicious force taking advantage of a weak but resource-rich Africa and as a country offering Africa an alternative developmental model at a time when Western powers had abandoned the continent. Lately, with the economic downturn in China, there has been less attention for the relationship between Africa and China. Was the Africa-China phenomenon a flash in the pan? What should Africa-China journalists look out for as China changes its economic structure? Where are the stories?

Panellist: Shi Yi, Vivien Marsh, Gérard Guedegbe

Climate change: multinationals’ big bluff

French journalist Jean-Baptiste Renaud will speak about and show parts of his last investigative documentary Climate change: multinational’s big bluff. In this story he shows how an EU scheme to make big CO2 emitters pay for their pollution turned into a cash machine for those companies. He will explain how he transformed a data-driven investigation into content suitable for TV. He will talk about how to take a large amount of data to the screen and what kind of field reporting is needed to deepen the data investigation.

Speaker: Jean-Baptiste Renaud

Legal attacks: how to bulletproof your story 

How to you publish allegations without being accused of defamation? And what and how can you use certain information without breaching privacy laws? This session will also look into the right to reply. How to question respondents so that they are fairly treated and have a full opportunity to react to your allegations.

Speaker: Dario Milo

The Lunatic Express – Where did the rail line money go?

The Rift Valley Railway, a 2000km track meandering through Kenya and Uganda, is one of the most important infrastructure projects in East Africa. After being neglected for years, construction was restarted by Qalaa Holdings, which raised $287m, half from international development funds.

George Turner (UK) will talk about how he worked together with  journalist Patrick Mayoyo (Kenya) and investigated how Qalaa spent the development funds, and how they found several tax havens.

Speakers: George Turner

Physical security training

This is a session not only for those working in conflict zones, but also for those covering protests and riots. It will focus on the skills needed for investigative journalists to reduce physical risk. How do you analyse threats, vulnerabilities and strengths and how do you behave when crossing checkpoints, covering demonstrations, riots and public unrest? This session includes a battlefield simulator that trains journalists on what to do and how to take cover in a crossfire situation.

Speaker: Jorge Luis Sierra

Surviving as a freelance journalist

This workshop is aimed at students and people just starting out. Two experienced freelancers will talk about how you build a profile and market yourself, find stories the media want and will pay for, engage with news desks, what to charge and will also look at other options to make ends meet, like doing stories for NGOs.

Speakers: Raymond Joseph, Zoe Flood

Exhibition Unequal Scenes
Tour with the photographer

During apartheid, segregation of urban spaces was instituted as policy. Roads, rivers, “buffer zones” of empty land, and other barriers were constructed and modified to keep people separate. 22 years after the end of apartheid, many of these barriers, and the inequalities they have engendered, still exist. This photography project of Johnny Miller shows Unequal Scenes in South Africa as objectively as possible. By providing a new perspective on an old problem, I hope to provoke a dialogue which can begin to address the issues of inequality and disenfranchisement in a constructive and peaceful way.

Carlos Cardoso Memorial Lecture

‘If we give up, this world will deteriorate’

Five years ago we began an annual lecture in memory of Carlos Cardoso, a Wits University student. He was expelled by the apartheid government in 1974, returned to Mozambique, and became known as a relentless investigative journalist. He was murdered in Maputo in 2000. The theme of the lecture is the importance of freedom of expression for journalists

This year it will be delivered by Bob Rugurika (38) of Radio Publique Africaine, Burundi. Rugurika is an investigative journalist and the director of the private and independent radio station Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) in Burundi. It frequently broadcasts information viewed as critical of the government, including detailed accounts of alleged human rights abuses and financial scandals.

The most recent investigation looked into the murder of three Italian nuns. The station broadcasted an interview in which a guest claimed to be involved in the murder of the nuns and implicated several intelligence and police officers in the murders. After refusing to say where the guest was located, Rugurika was arrested on January 19, 2015 and held for one month. He was charged with complicity in murder and breach of public solidarity. Rugurika was forced into exile after his release and continues to work as a journalist from Rwanda.

Networking – Financial investigations

If you are interested in financial investigation join Will Fitzgibbon of the ICIJ, George Turner of Finance Uncovered and Derek Thorne of the Wealth of Nations project of Thomson Reuters.

Undercover in an American private prison

American investigative journalist Shane Bauer went undercover as a guard in Louisiana’s privately-run Winn Correctional Center. His story and videos, published in Mother Jones, give insight into prison conditions, poor medical healthcare for prisoners, working conditions for prison staff and violence among inmates. He will tell you how he landed the job, how he tried to stay safe while people stabbed each other in front of his eyes and how he documented in detail what he saw.

Speaker: Shane Bauer

Narcotic school boys – Growing drugs to pay for tuition

This investigative radio story from Stephen Nartey from Ghana shines light on how parents in a farming community introduce their children to illegal marijuana cultivation. The children use the proceeds to fund their education and cater for their basic needs. After they complete their education, the lack of jobs means that many go into full-scale marijuana farming and smuggling. Nartey talks about how he got his sources to talk, how he reported undercover and the equipment he used.

Speaker: Stephen Nartey

Panel – Working undercover

Working undercover can be a powerful tool for an investigative journalist. Journalists that have worked undercover explain when to use it (and when not). They give tips and tricks on how to prepare.

Panellists: Rosemary Nwaebuni,  (Nigeria), Shane Bauer (US), Christian Locka (Cameroon)

The trafficking of young soccer players in Nigeria

This story investigates the trafficking of young soccer players out of Nigeria by rogue football agents who defraud the families of these boys of thousands of dollars. It is estimated that some 15,000 young boys – some as young as 12 – are trafficked out of West Africa to Europe each year. Through the use of data journalism and analysis, the report unravelled a wider story of the football agency, contracts and trafficking of young footballers, a lot of the time, children who are particularly vulnerable.

Speaker: Ogechi Ekeanyanwu

Panel – Panama Papers – African Stories

African investigative journalists that have researched and written about the Panama Papers share their stories.

Panellists: Koami M Domegni (Togo), Momar Niang (Senegal), Shinovene Immanuel (Namibia), Khadija Sharife (South Africa). Moderator: Will Fitzgibbon

Investigating global security firm G4S in Africa

Ruth Hopkins, of the Wits Justice Project, will talk about her investigation into a private prison run by the giant security firm G4S, Africa’s biggest private employer, with operations in 29 countries. She uncovered widespread use of electroshocks, forced medication with anti-psychotic drugs and lethal assaults on inmates at the Bloemfontein prison. Hopkins will discuss ways of investigating G4S in other countries.

Speaker: Ruth Hopkins

The art of interviewing

Mastering the techniques of interviewing is crucial for any reporter. Learn how to prepare for an interview, establish a rapport with your subject, ask the right questions, maintain control of an interview and become a better listener.

Speaker: Cheryl W. Thompson

How to do an access to information request

If the legislation exists where you live and work, use it. Learn how to use South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and international laws. Avoid the pitfalls, reap the rewards.

Speakers: Ron Nixon, Karabo Rajuili

Panel – How Africa loses a fortune

Africa loses billions of dollars every year to the abuse of tax laws, smuggling and corruption. Increasingly, journalists in Africa are finding out how the money goes missing and where it has gone. This session, organised in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s pan-African Wealth of Nations programme, will feature three African journalists explaining their investigations into illicit money trails.

Panellists: Lawrence Seretse (Botswana), Pauli van Wyk (South Africa), Rex Chikoko (Malawi). Moderator: Derek Thorne

Dirty tenders and smelly toilets

The winner and runner-up of the South African investigative journalism prize, the Taco Kuiper Award, Pieter-Louis Myburg and Siphe Macanda, will share their winning stories. An anonymous tipoff led Myburgh on a months long investigation into the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) multi-billion rand acquisition of new locomotives that were too tall for South Africa’s rail infrastructure. Macanda exposed how public money to build toilets in rural areas was misused.

Speakers: Pieter-Louis Myburg, Siphe Macanda

WORKSHOP – Reporting with your mobile phone

Despite carrying an exceptionally powerful computer in their pocket, too few journalists know how to fully exploit their smartphones to produce any form of journalism they can imagine. This practical workshop will take you through the basic equipment needed to become a mobile journalist, or mojo, right through to how to produce a quality video. We’ll also show you some of the best mobile apps for video and audio production.

Speaker: Seamus Reynolds

Networking – Investigations in Francophone Africa

Working in Francophone Africa? Make new friends and discuss working together. Join Hamadou Tidiane Sy and Momar Niang of Ouestef News and Christian Locka from Cameroon.


The floor is yours. We select stories from delegates to give a lightning talk, a short presentation of five minutes. It is an opportunity to hear from your peers. Email the story you would like to present to before noon on Tuesday.


Data stories: how to get started

Data journalism can be overwhelming: even experienced journalists often don’t know where to start. This session will focus on the methodology, the steps that guide any project, the three different ways to get started, how not to get drowned in the data and an explanation of the most desired skills in the overseas media industries for data journalists.

Speaker: Daniela Lépiz

Social media verification: when images lie

From memes to Instagram, Periscope, or YouTube … whether still or moving, images are highly shareable media – and, also, vulnerable to abuse. We will learn how to fact check visual content, the risks of (re)publishing even seemingly innocuous images, how visual hoaxes are created and distributed and how to use a variety of free online tools to fact-check and verify multi-media.

Trainer: Raymond Joseph

Security workshop – how to protect the data on your computer
The session will focus on how investigative reporters should protect their information: strong passwords, updated software, computer and mobile device encryption, hidden files and folders and safe internet navigation.

Speaker: Jorge Luis Sierra

Don’t fear numbers – 10 easy calculations you can do for better stories and to uncover lies

We are often flooded with numbers that seem overwhelming. This session will show how to do and use basic calculations such as median, rates, ratios and percentage change to find the real story and to expose misleading statements and falsehoods by governments and businesses.

Trainer: Brant Houston

Getting Connected: finding Help Across Africa and worldwide

The bad guys went international a long time ago, able to move people, money, and contraband across borders at the push of button. Fortunately, the good guys are finally catching up. Join GIJN’s director and Africa editor as they give a tour of global resources available to African journalists: data, documents, sources, funding, and more.

Speakers: David Kaplan, Safeeyah Kharsany

Security workshop – how to communicate safely and secretly

The session will focus on the best digital security tools that you can use to protect your communication via email, instant messaging, video and audio calls. It gives you a wide toolkit for you to talk safely to your sources and give them protection.

Speaker: Jorge Luis Sierra

Online searching and data sources

Thanks to the impact of the open data movement, journalists in South Africa and across the continent now have access to an abundance of data for stories. This session deals with different kinds of data sources; advanced search techniques to find original documents and data and finding readymade data for stories.

Trainer: Izak Minaar, Michael O’Donovan

How to work together on a data story

Sitting on a pile of documents and don’t know where to begin? In this session, dive into tools that can help you to share information. From the basics like Google Drive to more advanced sharing with DocumentCloud, there are tools that can help you to store, analyse and share public documents.

Trainer: Jeff Lowenstein

When they won’t give you data, just scrape it!

Web scraping basically means how you can best extract information from websites. It helps you to structure unstructured data and gather large amounts of data for stories. In this session you learn how to harvest the Web and PDFs and turn data into visual stories with a variety of tools and techniques.  This can be followed as a single session but is useful to have for the infographics and interactive visualisations sessions on day three.

Trainer: Siyabonga Africa

Decolonising African data

Many journalists choose data sources that carry international credentials – from agencies like the UN, WHO, or World Bank to non-profit and non-governmental organisations. But these sources can create an inherent selection and confirmation bias that elides much of the African reality. This session looks at why it’s time to challenge our notions of African data, and how to find and interrogate local data sources.

Speaker: Nechama Brodie

Security desk

Security expert Jorge Luis Sierra will give one-on-one security advice for journalists dealing with questions that have not been tackled in his security workshops or are confidential queries. This can relate to digital or physical security. Please sign up at reception. Consultations will be 20 minutes each.

Old and new tools for data journalism   

A quick overview of the tools for doing data analysis ranging from the traditional Microsoft Excel to the latest in data visualization and text mining. There will also be a discussion on how to choose the right data tool for the right data job.

Trainer: Brant Houston

Twitter for investigative journalists

How do use Twitter as a tool for investigations. We look at contact-building, finding sources, using lists and hash tags, basic search and verification. Find out about free tools like twXplorer, TinEye, RevEye, Google Reverse and Image Search, advanced search and verification, including setting up your browser for quick searching and verifying content, using lists and hash tags and tracking people without them ever knowing about it.

Trainer: Raymond Joseph

10 datasets to get you started

No matter where you live and work, there are always some basic datasets to find and analy to begin your work in data journalism. This session will show how to find the datasets you need for your reporting on the Web that will provide context and story ideas.

Trainer: Brant Houston

Turning data into stories (3 sessions)

Knowing how to use spreadsheet program Excel is essential for any investigative reporter. It can help you tremendously with your data analysis. This is a hands-on introduction to data journalism. In three sessions we will look at basic and advanced calculations and data analysis and at how you can visualise your story. Start at the beginning and follow through to the end for skills that will benefit you in your work as an investigative journalist.

Trainers: Anina Mumm, Sibusiso Biyela & Daniela Lepiz

Cleaning data

How to clean data using different tools, the usual types of dirty data and how to fix it. The class will be working together with one dataset, cleaning it with Open Refine basic features and experience how to start thinking about a story. Participants should have knowledge of Excel.

Trainer: Daniela Lepiz

Social media: finding people

Tips and tricks on how to quickly find people online and make connections on social networks.

Trainer: Tegan Bedser

Using social network analysis to see connectio

Whether it is understanding the networks of terrorists, the interlocking corporate boards of directors, or money laundering, social network analysis allows you to see the often hidden connections between people and institutions. This demonstration will show all the ways it can be applied.

Speaker: Brant Houston

Free tools that do the heavy lifting

Technology has made it easier for journalists to do their research and generate original story ideas. These tools do the heavy lifting, leaving more time to do the reporting. They include Open Gazettes, Wazimap, People’s Assembly, OpenBylaws, Protest Map, Churnalism, #GreenAlert and #MineAlert, GOTTOVOTE and Dodgy Doctors.

Trainers: Raymond Joseph, Wellington Radu

How to build your own database

Although we live in a world full of data, we often find that the one dataset that could make the difference in our reporting does not exist. That means we have to build our own and this session goes over the guidelines for when you should do data entry and the principles of building a reliable database.

Trainer: Brant Houston

Coding workshop (2 sessions)

This workshop will give journalists an introduction to programming in Python and how it can be used to grab information from the web, parsing data into usable formats and even how programming can be used to analyse a dataset. The workshop is for beginners who have no experience with programming. Knowledge of spreadsheets, databases and basic computer skills is needed.

Trainer: Ron Nixon, Siyabonga Africa

Infographics and visualisations (2 sessions)

Infographics and interactive visualisations are not just pretty pictures – they have the power to convey complex information and make it easily accessible to an audience. In the first session, we will show you how to tell stories with a wide range of visualisation tools, such as infographics and charts.  In the mapping sessions you will learn the basics of tools such as Google Maps Engine and Fusion Tables that can help you to map places such as dams or mines, or events such as accidents or floods. You will need the beginners’ session to participate in the advanced session.

Trainers: Tegan Bedser and Siyabonga Africa

Geolocation and mapping

If you want to go a step further, also follow this session where you will learn how to use Open Refine to geolocate and plot using CartoDB. This is a practical workshop session.

Trainer: Daniela Q. Lépiz

How to check your facts

A session for journalists and editors from all on fact-checking: everything from avoiding simple mistakes to finding the best data sources and identifying key questions to ask about public claims.

Speaker: Nechama Brodie