Promoting accountability of public institutions by creating a network of investigative reporters and trainers was the title of CIJ’s investigative project from July 2008 to December 31, 2009. The project was supported by a grant from the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe .
In implementing the project CIJ’s partners were: the Hungarian Publishers’ Association (Magyar Lapkiadók Egyesülete), Gőbölyös József “Soma” Foundation (Gőbölyös József “Soma” Alapítvány), Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Társaság a Szabadságjogokért) .
The project aimed to improve investigative reporting to strengthen media’s role as public watchdog of society and thus contribute to a more transparent, accountable system of public institutions in Hungary. The project combined training, production of investigative stories, networking and advocacy activities to improve public accountability. The trainer training program and production of new training resources on investigative reporting are essential to disseminate a modern concept of investigative reporting, adjusted to changed media needs. The project initiated a network of investigative reporters to increase impact, encourage the culture of investigations in print, broadcast and online media. The project targeted not only media professional and organizations, but drew the attention of the public at large to the necessity to advocate more transparency of the public institutions. The results of the project will strengthen the professional and operational capacities, and thus the sustainability of all partners involved, and will set up a structure to continue this work after the end of the project.
As part of the project, CIJ’s activities were the following:
1. methodology workshops organized for investigative journalists from the national and regional print, broadcast and online media. Internationally acknowledged lead trainer Luuk Senger from Netherlands conducted the program won using the online public data and documents (computer assisted reporting) and creative writing tools for investigations. A special workshop tackled the availability of and the access to online documents in Hungary with Hungarian experts and editors as guest speakers. (October-December 2008)
2. Elaboration of educational materials and curricula on investigative reporting: a handbook for trainers and a manual for journalism students and journalists – online, CD and print, both books with annexes and model curricula. Authors are leading investigative reporters Eva Vajda and Attila Mong. The book was launched on 12 November 2009. Copies are available at the Center for Independent Journalism.
3. Pilot workshops conducted for groups of students and journalism professionals (February-December 2009).
4. Production of investigative stories using techniques of computer assisted reporting in cooperation of CIJ with HCLU’s professional and legal support structure for investigative journalists. (November 2008-June 2009)
5. Encourage networking among investigative reporters - to use good international practices of investigative reporting to influence journalism as a whole; help cross-border investigations through collaborating with similar networks abroad. (January-December 2009)
6. Webpage at CIJ website on investigative reporting, project events, publications, media coverage. (September 2008-December 2009)