The site of a new nitrogen fertilizer plant in Tuscola, Ill. The plant is slated to be built on 240-acres of farmland and bring 2,000 construction jobs and 175 permanent jobs to the area.

Construction of Cronus fertilizer plant delayed as costs soar

In October 2014, state and local officials and Cronus Chemicals CEO Erzin Atac donned hard hats in an empty farm field to announce a deal to bring a $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant to central Illinois.

Atac said he hoped to break ground in 2015 in Tuscola, Ill., with plans to complete the plant by early 2017.

But this spring Cronus Chemicals quietly announced on its website that the estimated cost is now $1.9 billion – more than 30 percent above the original estimate. The website also says the plant will not be finished until the last quarter of 2019 – or at least 30 months later than the initial completion date.

Investigative journalism and the specifics of crime coverage of a murder in ‘Jornal de Santa Catarina’ (Portuguese)

Based on the analysis of the police coverage of the murder of Elfy Eggert, a young ‘Blumenauense’ (somebody from Blummenau) from Santa Catarina, this article discusses the need for specific procedures to follow journalism about crimes. This is reflected in the research that is part of everyday life of the journalist, particularly in the city of Blumenau, with approximately 300,000 inhabitants in southern Brazil. This confirms gaps are found, as the knowledge of the peculiarities of police reports, noticeable in the case of death of the civil servant, Elfy Eggert .There have been two years of materials and consequences of the fact, that resulted in the conviction of the accused as co-authors of the crime through evidence. The research involved 127 texts.

Charles Lewis, American University

Accountability Information, Across Borders

This paper explores the efficacy and potential of increased journalistic and academic data, research and reporting collaboration, in the context of credible, accountability information. Investigative journalists throughout the world understandably cherish their independent “watchdog” function.

Professional news organizations and individual journalists traditionally have not been particularly collaborative with scholars in the academic community (beyond perfunctorily quoting them in their stories), even though their interests, expertise, research and writing are often about quite similar subject matter. And of course, at the same time, the university milieu, the “academy,” has seemed distant and disengaged from civic life and current events issues because, too often, it is.

African-Western cooperation in investigative journalism

The AIPC’s goal is to table African investigative journalism on international platforms. ZAM wants to be an enabler for this mission. It does this by ‘translating’ the work of African colleagues to fit with international – ‘Western’- media preferences re length, style and angles. This does not always go well.

We find that there are ‘taboo’ subjects in the West. AIPC stories have been refused by Western media for reasons from ‘that is racist’ (about a mention of witchcraft) to objection about the exposure of a quack abortion doctor in Ghana ‘because we must legalise abortion.’

This cultural challenge can be called ‘do-gooderism.’ Do-gooderism sees helpless trafficking victims instead of migrating sex workers. It sees happy noble primitives living side by side by gorillas in Virunga, instead of farmers angry at the environmental ‘protectors’ who fence off their lands. Do-gooderism blames local people for the failure of development projects, but blames (or praises) Shell for everything that happens in the Niger Delta. Do-gooderism never questions ‘fair trade’.

It is difficult for a ‘Western’ journalist to find truths hidden under the layers of dominant narratives about Africa. (Also, Africans have 300 years of experience in telling white people what these want to hear.)

We have developed a process for African and Western colleagues to overcome this cross-cultural challenge together.

Rutas Del Conflicto: Storytelling from Data

Rutas del Conflicto, a project created in 2014 that collected information from more than 700 massacres committed in Colombia, has worked on a methodology that seeks to incorporate citizen journalism based on an exercise of data journalism.

Through a combination of tools including an app for mobile devices, partnerships with radio and television stations in remote areas, and making their publications available on the Internet, the team behind Rutas del Conflicto, which is comprised of a group of students from the University of El Rosario (Bogota) and the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Santander), created a methodology that has enabled dozens of victims to tell their stories and to participate in confronting the data related to the massacres. Witnesses and relatives of victims have recounted their version of events and how they have survived the displacement.

The preliminary investigation of the facts is based on different sources, but their information is often unclear, as most crimes occurred in remote areas, where there is little presence of the judicial system. In the mass media, the main source of information, there are testimonies of the perpetrators, most of which are demobilized in the process of transitional justice operated by the Colombian government and paramilitary groups.

For these reasons, it was essential to build a channel of communication with affected communities in order to allow their participation in the project.

The research and the mapping data have allowed the team to focus the spread of information in the most affected communities through cross-media production of journalistic products. Most massacre victims have no access to the Internet for different reasons, so the project created a series of alliances with local media and social organizations to disseminate information. More than 300 people have contacted Rutas del Conflicto to verify data, which is then compared by the team of journalists, and to send their testimonies, which give a human face and story to the statistics.

Manipulation in Philippine News Reporting: Real or Imagined?

This study examines from the lens of Critical Discourse Analysis the presence of manipulation in news reporting in the three leading online English broadsheets in the Philippines.

It attempts to describe using the conceptual categories proposed by Teun van Dijk (1989/2006) how the macrostructure or the schematic structure of news reports can contribute to the attainment of manipulation in news discourse. The data of the study consists of 75 news reports on the alleged cheating during the 2004 presidential elections involving the President and an unidentified Commission on Elections officer, which first surfaced on June 6 and reported until June 20, 2005.

It is hypothesized that the sequencing of these categories helps promote or perpetuate a particular value, belief, or ideology that both the journalists and readers implicitly use in the production and understanding of news. In view of the above findings, there is a need to look at how lessons on reading newspapers are taught in the classrooms. It may also be helpful to impress upon the learners that news reports, like any accounts of any events, are the reporters’ interpretations or versions of the events and situations that would require close and critical reading.

Bringing data into journalism: the IndiaSpend project

IndiaSpend is India’s first data journalism initiative. And is now rapidly growing to become an `agency of record’ when it comes to data and facts on the Indian economy, particularly in areas like education and healthcare as well as data on Indian states. We utilize open data available on the internet to analyse a range of issues, to generate awareness among masses (netizens) as a means of computer assisted reporting.

The National e-governance plan of the government of India launched in 2006 with the objective to provide easy & reliable access of government records and data to public, has enabled computer assisted reporting in the country promoting of data journalism.

The idea of IndiaSpend (data journalism) emerged from the Jan Lokpal (Citizen’s Ombudsman) movement in 2011 against corruption and bringing in transparency and accountability among government officials and agencies. The Right to Information Act (RTI) 2002, passed by Indian Parliament, too helped strengthen this notion.

The field of Data Journalism and computer cased journalism is fairly new trend in India. Data has been used in the newspapers, but it was mostly limited to the press releases given out but the government agencies. The interest in data journalism and the computer assisted reporting has come about since 2011 onwards. So far in India there are no newspapers, TV news channels that are solely focused on data. When it comes to websites too, 2015 has seen the rise a few websites centred loosely on data journalism. This makes the study IndiaSpend as a data journalism initiative very essential as it can be said as a premiere organization in the field.

The paper will look at IndiaSpend to see the trends in computer assisted journalism and data journalism. IndiaSpend is one of the first initiatives in India for data journalism, using computer assisted tools for its reach. We want to take up a case study of this organization to show the growth of data journalism through computer assisted journalism through the growth of IndiaSpend.

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Study on financing and sustainability of high quality journalism models

The question of how to produce and disseminate high quality news reporting while attaining financial stability and making the most of what digital technology has to offer is perhaps the most pressing question facing journalists today. Many of the new outlets are successful in one of these areas but not in all three (Massing 2015). Much of the current literature that media practitioners could learn from is focused on US media outlets and emphasizes financial sustainability rather than quality of news. While we will draw on the literature of innovation and social network analysis in order to understand how ideas are spread we are mostly interested in the diffusion of news and information as a public good rather than an as an expansionary commercial venture.

In order to expand the discussion of how digitally-minded journalists can successfully launch and grow high quality news outlets, we are assembling a large data set of international online news initiatives around the world in order to see if there are discernable points in common and to understand patterns of success and failure.

metze

The simultaneous development of a Teaching Lab and a non-profit platform for investigative journalism in The Netherlands: An integrated practical and methodological approach

Four years ago an experienced investigative journalist (the author), and a small, re¬spected weekly magazine in The Netherlands, started a program for training young journalists called The Investiga¬tive Teaching Lab, which was subsequently em¬bedded in a new non-profit organisation for investigative journalism called De Onder¬zoeksre¬dactie (The In¬vestigative Desk).

Flickr user  bradadozier, who writes he found it "at ... a skate spot under a highway in cincinnati"
https://flic.kr/p/67VNSL

Indiana’s heroin pipeline has unclear beginnings

The latest drug to take hold of the state doesn’t make as much sense, though. Heroin, the highly-addictive drug derived from the opium plant, has worked its way across Indiana, even into some of its most rural regions. But unlike meth, home-grown heroin doesn’t exist in the state.
So where is it coming from? The answer depends whom you ask.