With much of the intense scrutiny focused on national campaigns, political financing at the state level can be an afterthought. But state elections constitute an enormous share of the campaign finance complex, and often the reporting and regulation of contributions is lax at best.
ByKendall Gilbert, Anne Halliwell and Katherine MacDonell/The Media School, Indiana University |
The influence of political action committees in Indiana politics in recent years readily can be spotted in the state’s campaign finance database. The largest single contribution, in fact, is from a PAC, the Republic Governors Association Ohio, or RGA Ohio PAC. The organization made a $1 million gift to Mike Pence during his campaign for governor in 2012. RGA Ohio PAC is one of hundreds of PACs that have contributed more than $51 million to Indiana political campaigns between 2010 and 2015, according to the state’s database. Before 2010, the state did not track the type of contributors, and irregularities in the data make it impractical to assess the full extent of PAC activity in the nearly $1 billion worth of campaign contributions since 2000.
ByConnor Faul, Emily Koval and Sarah Panfil/The Media School, Indiana University |
Under Indiana law, any candidate, party committee, or political action committee must report its contributions and expenses at least once a year (candidate and party committees must file more frequently during election years). Committees file their financial reports with the Election Division either electronically or on paper.
ByNoah Deitchley, Lindsay Moore and Mary Jamerson/The Media School, Indiana University |
It’s been said that money is the mother’s milk of politics. In Indiana politics, the milk is abundant thanks to what critics say is one of the loosest regulatory systems in the nation.
According to a review of campaign finance data from 2000 through 2015, state-level political committees have taken in a total of $942 million in contributions. That’s nearly a billion dollars raised to run campaigns and influence election contests for the Indiana General Assembly, the governor’s office and other statewide positions such as state superintendent of public instruction.
ByNicole Anderson Cobb and Lois Yoksoulian/ For CU-Citizen Access |
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.