Investigative journalism increases insight into social issues. However, since existing revenue models and reporting are being fundamentally challenged by digitization, financing this labor-intensive type of reporting is becoming increasingly difficult. At the same time, digital technology offers new ways to gather and analyze data and share good quality stories. Bellingcat is an example of how online research and collaborating with civilians can lead to unique results.

Bellingcat’s unique method is based on researching online sources. Volunteers based all around the world research social media posts, dissect videos posted online, and analyze geo-data. Bellingcat is currently developing manuals and training materials in order to encourage others to use the same methods.

Over the last 10 years the way people share information with each other, and the ability for people to work with each other to understand that information, has changed dramatically. Bellingcat has worked to harness those changes, engaging with online society on different levels, and investigating an ever-broadening range of topics. This not only affects journalism, but a range of fields, from justice and accountability to advocacy and activism, and Bellingcat aims to lead the way in how open source investigation is used and spread.

Through our continued involvement with Bellingcat, we hope to learn about improving the collaboration between reporters and other parties, like scientists and citizens.

Bellingcat proves that such collaborations can lead to unique and important stories about society.

About this partner

Bellingcat is an international civilian research collective. They first became famous through their reports on the Syrian civil wars and their research on the MH17 plane crash. The results of their research have been quoted by a number of established media organizations as well as by official research commissions, like the Onderzoeksraad voor de Veiligheid (Dutch Safety Board).

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