Going undercover to reveal a secret meeting of Germany’s far-right, AI is a big opportunity for the news media, and Israel-Gaza war propelled 2023 journalist killings to near-record high

The International Journalism Festival weekly round-up. Stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletterby following our Telegram channel, or by joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

Going undercover to reveal a secret meeting of Germany’s far-right. At a pretty lake not far from Potsdam — a picturesque city of Prussian palaces 20 miles southwest of Berlin — a breathless runner enters a neo-Baroque villa built in the Weimar era and tries to order a cup of coffee. The runner — actually an undercover reporter working with investigative journalism newsroom CORRECTIV — has deliberately gatecrashed a secret meeting in the historic Landhaus Adlon hotel.

AI is a big opportunity for the news media. Let’s not blow it. Generative AI is an epochal development—less like social media and more like the advent of the internet itself. Much like that moment, this technology is transformative because it empowers people in how they create and find information.

Israel-Gaza war propelled journalist killings to near-record high. More than three quarters of the 99 journalists and media workers who perished worldwide in 2023 were killed in the Israel-Gaza war, according to a report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

How India’s government uses Pegasus to spy on journalists. When a joint investigation published in December 2023 by Amnesty International and The Washington Post revealed that journalists in India were being targeted by the hacking spyware Pegasus, Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, wasn’t surprised his phone was among those being surveilled. “Considering the current milieu, I was not shocked when my name appeared on the snooping list,” he said.

Crowdfunding investigations: lessons learned about harnessing audience buy-in from Ireland, Brazil, and Portugal. Investigative journalism is expensive. Partnerships and grants can help but can also introduce conditions or stall proceedings. Could crowdfunding, where audience members donate to support an investigation, offer an alternative?

Independent media under attack in Kyrgyzstan as court shuts down OCCRP member Kloop Media. The purported reason for the order was that Kloop was practicing journalism without a license. Prosecutors also presented testimony from psychiatrists who accused the media outlet of “affecting people’s mental health” by “upsetting” them with negative information. OCCRP publisher Drew Sullivan described this as “ludicrous.”

Content from our partner McKinsey & Company

In an era of unprecedented change, organizational health
—or how effectively leaders “run the place”—is crucial amid geopolitical shocks, technological advances, economic uncertainty, competitors’ bold moves, and other disruptions. In a new article, McKinsey’s Alex Camp, Arne Gast, Drew Goldstein, and Brooke Weddle explore the latest findings of McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI) and why organizational health is “required for sustained performance and organizational success.”

The plight of journalists in Gaza. More media workers have been killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict than in any country in a year. A Financial Times editorial.

The International Fund for Public Interest Media 2023 grantee cohort. IFPIM announces its new cohort of 17 grants across nine low-and middle-income countries in Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. Together with its inaugural grantee cohort announced in 2023, IFPIM has now committed more than $8 million in grants and direct portfolio support in its focus regions.

Hungary: media curbs harm rule of law. The Hungarian government’s interference with media freedom and pluralism, part of its systematic attack on the rule of law, obstructs the work of independent journalists in holding the authorities to account and prevents the public from accessing information, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch.

Local news in the UK is in deep trouble. But this band of radicals could change everything. While legacy publishers and broadcasters grapple with economic headwinds and blame social media platforms for their woes, a new generation of independent news providers is emerging.

European Journalism Centre’s nine free resources to boost your freelancer skills. Committed to supporting European journalism, EJC is sharing more helpful insights for freelance journalists.

Report for the World opens global call for newsroom applications. RftW invites independent news organizations across the globe to join its growing network of host newsroom partners, as it deepens its presence in different regions through editorial collaborations and professional development of its reporting corps. Deadline for applications: 27 February 2024.

Image credit: homepage of CORRECTIV website.