100Reporters represents a new take on a familiar mission: using the power of the pen to hold government and business accountable. Every year, corrupt leaders and their cronies siphon more than $900 billion from the national economies of developing nations, according to the nonprofit Global Financial Integrity. For every $1 that enters Africa in development aid, some $10 leaves the continent in illegal cash transfers. This is money that could be used to build roads, schools, water treatment plants, and hospitals.
Dedicated to forging new frontiers in responsible journalism, 100Reporters joins scores of the planet’s finest professional reporters with whistle-blowers and citizen journalists across the globe, to report on corruption in all its forms. The organization, spearheaded by veteran correspondents of top-tier news outlets, aims to raise the caliber, impact and visibility of citizen-driven investigative journalism, as a means of promoting transparency and good government.
Thanks to advances in technology and heightened transparency among international institutions, we are in an unprecedented position to know and report more than ever before on both the flow of illicit cash, and on the spending habits of government officials and their friends.
At a time when dictators regularly employ the latest technology to plunder their nations–wiring ill-gotten gains to offshore accounts, buying lavish properties far from their countrymen’s eyes, using family and friends to skim a percentage off government contracts–we believe that the only effective challenge to that corruption is through a similarly global effort, uniting the observations and experiences of citizens the world over with the most solid journalistic skills.
Our goal is to embrace technology’s potential to build new forms of journalism around a towering, intractable global issue. We’re working with citizens–the first victims of graft and cronyism–to expose the corruption around them, and bringing these citizens into the reporting of stories where possible.
With initial backing from The Ford Foundation, we are building a multiplatform site where sources can submit—anonymously, if necessary—news tips and evidence of corruption. These can become the raw material for stories reported and written by our professional journalists, and presented in hard-hitting news reports available to a worldwide audience. Where feasible, our 100 reporters will work hand-inhand with citizen journalists, sharing bylines and payment. Such partnerships will provide invaluable on-the-job experience, and raise the level of citizen reporting in countries lacking in formal journalism education.
Demonstrations from the Middle East to India to the Kremlin and beyond demonstrate the power of transparency to move nations. In entrenched dictatorships, evidence of massive corruption among autocrats, their families and allies has sparked astonishing popular rebellions that have challenged rulers once thought invincible. Often, evidence of graft was hiding in plain sight: known, presumed even, but never organized and packaged to have any impact. (Only as the government of former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt began to collapse did established news outlets expose its massive corruption – using evidence that turned out to be surprisingly easy to gather from quasi-public sources.)
We have formed partnerships with other news operations, and belong to the 60-member Investigative News Network, which offers our stories through Thomson Reuters to a select group of Reuters subscribers. We are eager to form partnerships with other news outlets.
Our mission is to cover corruption of all sorts, from the pervasive bribery that raises the cost of ordinary government services, to extortion, to the sweetheart contracts that perpetuate poverty and strangle competition.
Beyond foundation support, we have secured legal representation on a pro bono basis from the Washington, D.C.-based legal firm Arnold & Porter. We are seeking additional funding from donors and foundations interested in the future of journalism, and in promoting democracy and government accountability. Over the long term, we plan to raise revenue through syndication, reader donations, conferences, training and fundraising events.
Please contact us for additional information.