The TRACE Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports projects that encourage greater commercial transparency, announced that it will sponsor two highly accomplished reporters from Colombia and India to participate in the six-month journalism fellowship program administered by Alfred Friendly Press Partners.

Castro’s reporting targets corruption

The TRACE Investigative Reporting Fellows for 2020 are Daniela Castro, a multimedia journalist for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Bogota, and Abhishek Waghmare, a data journalist with the Business Standard in New Delhi. They will train at the Missouri School of Journalism for five weeks beginning in March and work on the staff of a major U.S. newsroom for five months as part of the Alfred Friendly program’s Class of 2020.

Castro coordinated cross-border projects for OCCRP that investigated the flight and capture of a drug cartel leader, fraud linked to the president of Romania’s ruling party that involved a resort in Brazil, and corruption by the Venezuelan president’s family. Castro, 31, previously covered organized crime in Latin America for InSight Crime’s Spanish-language website.

“Investigative journalism is for me one of the best weapons we have to fight corruption and the crimes that have extended their tentacles to different parts of the world,” Castro wrote in her application essay.

Waghmare, 31, specializes in reporting about public finance in India. He won a national award for financial journalism with his story on the National Small Savings Fund. He’s written how demonetization disrupted the economy and lowered incomes, how the government was using outdated methodology to set floor prices for farm produce, how contraception practices in India compared with other countries, and why tax reforms led to revenue reductions.

Waghmare specializes in public finance reports

Waghmare was a research writer for IndiaSpend, a public interest journalism nonprofit, and switched to journalism to have a broader impact through his work.

“I tell stories through numbers,” Waghmare, who has degrees in engineering and political science, wrote. “I enjoy going deep into understanding public and private data, and connecting data insights to real happenings in the business world.”

TRACE President Alexandra Wrage said, “Following our sponsorship of Fellow Lily Dobrovolskaya in 2019, the TRACE Foundation is pleased to support Daniela and Abhishek as they enter this year’s fellowship class.”

Dobrovolskaya, an investigative reporter from Transparency International in Moscow who specializes in money laundering by Russians, worked at the Wall Street Journal’s data investigations team. “The TRACE Foundation invests in free press and objective, high-quality journalism around the world because it is a pillar of our larger mission to promote transparency and good governance,” Wrage said.

The TRACE Foundation was established to promote, support and fund research, investigative journalism, publications, videos and related projects that encourage greater commercial transparency and advance anti-bribery education.

“We are proud to partner with the TRACE Foundation and its leadership,” said Alfred Friendly Foundation President Randall Smith, who also is a professor and endowed chair in business journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. “Alfred Friendly Press Partners has long realized that the best way to fight corruption is to shed light on it. We share the belief with TRACE that excellent journalism is the lifeblood of well-informed societies.”

The TRACE Fellows are obligated to share key lessons learned with colleagues when they return home in September.

“I wish to lead a team of young journalists from diverse backgrounds, to produce quality journalism based on data and multimedia; ranging from health to agriculture, from mutual funds to sovereign deficit financing,” Waghmare said.

Since 1984, Alfred Friendly Press Partners has trained 330 journalists from 82 countries and placed them in more than 60 news organizations across the United States, from newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times to broadcasters including CBS 60 Minutes and affiliates of National Public Radio and PBS. The nonprofit was founded in 1984 by Alfred Friendly, the Pulitzer-Prize winning correspondent and former managing editor at The Washington Post.

Castro gets a medical examiner’s interpretation of an autopsy report for her investigation into the kidnapping and murder of three employees of the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio