Parth Nikhil covered the last leg of Rahul Gandhi’s march across India to explain his effort to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dominance.
Gagandeep Singh examined an economic survey of Punjab to explain where India’s far north state is leading and where it is lagging behind.
Somesh Jha explained why the rich get richer during a global economic downturn.
And Jody Garcia delved into a diplomatic dispute concerning a Colombian minister who led a Guatemalan corruption inquiry.
The 2022 fellowship graduates reported and wrote these in-depth stories for the world’s top news media outlets:
The Los Angeles Times placed Nikhil’s article on the World and Nation Section front.
BBC News posted Gagan’s piece in Punjabi and English.
Al Jazeera published a series of Jha’s macroeconomic analyses in its section called The Big Question. Each includes a boxed paragraph called The Short Answer, such as this one from Jha about the rich:
“Many countries adopt policies such as tax breaks and financial incentives for businesses to boost economies amid crises like the pandemic. Central banks flood the economy with money to make it easier to lend and spend. This helps the wealthy grow their money through financial market investments. But widening inequality is not unavoidable.”
Explanatory journalism puts more emphasis on the “how” and “why” of the basic news story, going beyond the “who, what, when and where” answers to help readers understand issues and events as they unfold.
After the advanced reporting lessons from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and at the Missouri School of Journalism, the fellows practice their craft while working for months in U.S. newsrooms: Nikhil and Jha at the Los Angeles Times, Garcia at the Miami Herald and Singh at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Chencho Dema, who worked for a public broadcasting station in Kansas City during the fellowship, got a new job at a bigger news outlet after her return to Bhutan in 2022. She wrote a story this month that looked into the lack of female political candidates in her country.
“There are 17 candidates who have registered to contest the upcoming NC elections from Gasa, Punakha, and Wangduephodrang as of January 27,” Dema wrote. “However, all of them are men except the member of parliament … who decided to recontest.”
Her article included a startling pie chart showing that 93.6 percent of candidates for top offices from 2008 to 2023 were men. (She learned data visualization skills in the Missouri journalism school).
While working at the digital investigative news outlet WisconsinWatch, Tanka Dhakal spent more than a month reporting what turned out to be a story of more than 3,000 words about an environmental problem in the Great Lakes.
After returning to Nepal, Dhakal wrote a story for NepalCheck’s Explainer section, with this subhead from the digital fact-checking website: “We explain difficult-to-understand issues in easy-to-understand ways.”
Dhakal’s story explained the four biggest environmental and climate change challenges the new government faces:
“For an impoverished and disaster-prone country like Nepal, where about 80 percent of the population lives under risk of natural and climate-induced hazards, both good governance and economic growth are intertwined with environmental issues. However, previous governments don’t seem to have understood this. Most of the government programmes and plans don’t account for the impacts of climate change and other environmental risks. For example, the Melamchi drinking water project was severely impacted by an extreme weather event, unforeseen by its planners.”
Saurav Rahman, another member of the Class of 2022 and one of the OCCRP Fellows, recently launched a fact-checking and research outlet in Bangladesh called Dismislab. A recent item in the Bengali-language website showed how videos of earthquake damage in Turkey shown on television in Bangladesh were actually filmed in 2017.
NepalCheck was founded last year by another alumnus from the Alfred Friendly fellowship program, Deepak Adhikari.
Rahman wrote in his final evaluation of the program that the fellowship “is the best thing that has happened in my journalism career,” while Dhakal said it “was an eye opener for me to know how to develop the story idea and do reporting in depth.”
Singh wrote, “The Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship completely transformed my career as I have gained ample skills throughout the program, results of which I have got more confidence to deal with the challenges and make decisions related to my stories and professional work.”
Jha wrote, “The hands-on experience that I got in the fellowship has added to my critical thinking skills, while helping me become a business journalist who can empathize with a common reader when it comes to writing complex economic stories.”