Should journalists change the world?

Should journalists change the world?

Journalism and social change are inextricably linked. After all, without journalists no Panama Papers or Dieselgate. But, what are the difficulties faced by investigative reporters in pursuing stories that challenge powerful parties? And what are the boundaries of journalism’s role in social change? Should a journalist focus on potential outcomes or leave that to others? How and when do reporters hand off information to parties that help fix things that are broken in society? And how do you get your story to the right people?

At De Balie we discussed the role of investigative journalism in social change with two Pulitzer Prize winners: investigative journalist Ian Urbina from The New York Times and Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Ian Urbina spoke about a journalist’s social responsibility based on the experiences from his Outlaw Ocean series. Afterwards, Gerard Ryle joined the conversation, and shared how the Panama Papers dealt with the relation between investigative journalism and social change. The discussion was moderated by Yvonne Zonderop.

credits: Arthur Jones

Ian Urbina has gained worldwide attention with his Outlaw Ocean series: a set of critical articles in which he centralizes the lawlessness of the oceans and addresses daily but illustrious practices on international waters: piracy, environmental damages, murders, the use of unregulated private security forces and even slavery. Urbina’s groundbreaking articles that have been published in among others The New York Times, The Guardian and Harper’s, address various important societal and environmental issues – from slavery in the fishing industry to the illusion of clean coal technology.

Gerard Ryle is the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ): an international network of investigative journalists. After publications as LuxLeaks and SwissLeaks, the ICIJ was responsible for the publication of the Panama Papers. These documents revealed a world of tax evasion, fraud and other illegal practices and had serious consequences: the people involved were forced to take up their responsibility, tax authorities started important investigations and a start was made with changing legislation.

Keynote and discussion

September 18th 2017

Adessium Foundation is committed to conserving valuable nature and to increasing sustainable use of it. We also greatly value investigative journalism. In this context this evening with two major investigative journalists is organized. This keynote and discussion is a cooperation between De Balie, centre for discussion and debate, and Adessium Foundation.

This program is organized in
cooperation with:

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