Not long ago, investigative journalism was mostly seen as a solitary pursuit. For most journalists, sharing your findings with a colleague was not a common practice. But in recent years, empowered by the digital revolution, many reporters around the world have started collaborating on a large scale. As they dive into complicated problems and unsolved mysteries, they work towards the same goal in the hope of getting there much faster.
When Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bombing in 2017, the murder left her investigative work unfinished. Galizia’s death prompted Forbidden Stories, an international network of journalists, to continue her reporting. On the third day of Listen Up: The Power of Podcasting, Bulgaria’s first podcast festival, French investigative journalist and filmmaker Jules Giraudat, who is a member of the network, explained that his team didn’t think twice about keeping Galizia’s story alive.
“It was a spontaneous reaction. We said that we have to do something,” Giraudat told the audience in a panel discussion. “She was pointing to a very sensitive issue. And that’s perhaps the reason why she was killed.”
While Forbidden Stories was digging into Galizia’s work, her son Paul, a reporter at London-based Tortoise, also wanted to find out more about his mother’s death. He produced an audio mini-series entitled My Mother’s Murder. In the four-part podcast, Paul seeks the truth about who ordered the assassination.
“The decision to do this as a podcast was made for me. I thought I’d rather just write, which is what I’m used to,” he told journalist Maeve McClenaghan. “The nice thing about audio is that you can walk somewhere and talk about what you’re looking at. Expressing a scene in audio is so much more efficient than doing it in words.”
Although he was new to podcasting, Paul ended up satisfied with the final product. For him, one of the crucial lessons was finding a good audio producer who can contribute with a different perspective and skillset.
McClenaghan who moderated the discussion also highlighted the importance of good sound design. But the British reporter didn’t have much experience with audio production when she created The Tip Off – a show, which takes listeners behind the scenes of exceptional investigative storytelling. In the second panel discussion, McClenaghan shared techniques about structuring an investigation and adapting it to a podcast.
“You don’t need a huge budget. You don’t need a huge organization backing you to do podcasts,” McClenaghan said. “The beauty of the format is that they really are an equalizer. They let anybody tell their story. And if you have an interesting enough story to tell, then hopefully people will catch on and listen.”
Join us today to learn more about podcast production and the power of narrative audio storytelling. First, Katy Lee from The Europeans will lead a crash course on how to get a new podcast off the ground in her Podcasting 101 workshop. Then, four journalists from Central and Eastern Europe will talk about their shows and podcasting in this region as a whole.
After them, Jorge Caraballo Cordovez, growth editor of Radio Ambulante, will tell the story of the only Spanish-language podcast distributed by NPR, which has won the hearts of millions of listeners. Finally, Maeve McClenaghan, Slovak journalist Nikola Bajanova and Amira al Madami of the Bulgarian Oh, Yes! podcast will discuss the importance of female voices and women’s issues in podcasting.
You can still register for the event here.
The event is supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and America for Bulgaria Foundation.