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Covering the Extractives Industry: Big Data, New Tools, and Journalism

“This paper by ANYA SCHIFFRIN AND ERIKA RODRIGUES was presented during the professor’s track at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in October 2013 in Rio De Janeiro.

  • The extractives sector (oil, gas, and mining) continues to be an important subject for journalists, particularly in developing countries. Revenues from oil, gas and mining contribute substantially to GDP and in many cases make up the bulk of government revenue….This paper will look at some of the new initiatives and tools, highlight some of the successes and failures in covering the sector and map out possible areas of coverage.  We will consider how technology can help journalists overcome some of the standard barriers to exposure reporting.  Technology, of course, is not a cure-all but can help counter the geographical barriers, resource constraints, pressure from government and advertisers and lack of knowledge and sources that have in the past impeded exposure journalism on the extractives. New technologies can both increase the effectiveness of coverage and the ability to disseminate information once it has been gathered.  This paper will also briefly touch on the role international non-governmental organizations play in disseminating information and the impact of donor-funded networks.”

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