Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2009

Global Investigative Journalism: Strategies for Support

David E. Kaplan

December 2007

National Endowment for Democracy


Fueled by globalization, international aid, and the efforts of journalism groups, the worldwide practice of investigative reporting has grown dramatically since the fall of communism began in 1989. The field’s emphasis on public accountability and targeting of crime and corruption has attracted millions of dollars in media development funding from international donors, who see it as an important force in promoting rule of law and democratization. Support of investigative journalism, however, has been identified as a major gap in international media assistance, marked by funding that is largely uncoordinated and episodic and that makes up but a small fraction of that spent on overall media development. Veteran trainers and organizers broadly agree that sustained programs, support of nonprofit investigative journalism centers, and adherence to high standards can produce impressive results both in fostering public accountability and in building a professional news media.