Black Waters

A Collaborative Investigative Journalism Project into Corruption and the Environment

Covering complex topics such as environmental injustice calls for novel reporting approaches. If a topic needs the skills of social scientists, environmental experts and investigative journalists, why not gather those skills in a team? The results might transgress the boundaries of traditional journalism or academia, but they do justice to issues that are otherwise inadequately covered.

Black Waters, run by the Center for Media, Data and Society in partnership with Atlatszo and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and funded by Open Society Initiative for Europe, is a hybrid investigative-research and advocacy project that responds to the need for engaging reporting on environmental damage, corruption and the consequences for social justice in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Over twelve months, a team of researchers, journalists and audio-visual artists developed novel multimodal methodologies, conducted mixed-methods research, and reported their findings.

From the beginning, the project’s team worked with affected communities and local experts.

THE TEAM

The partners

Atlatszo is a watchdog NGO and online newspaper for investigative journalism to promote transparency, accountability, and freedom of information in Hungary. Established in 2011, atlatszo.hu – “atlatszo” means transparent in Hungarian – produces investigative reports, accepts information from whistleblowers, files freedom of information requests, and commences freedom of information lawsuits in cases where its requests are refused.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) is a network of local non-governmental organizations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values. The group is dedicated to creating a strong, professional, independent media in Southeast Europe as an essential component of developing democracy and a market economy in the Balkans.

THE OUTPUTS

  • Editorial introduction: Environmental Injustices in Central and Eastern Europe – in English
  • Article: Hazardous Waste Deposit at the Red Sludge Reservoirs in Almásfüzitő Was Issued a New Permit – in English / in Hungarian
  • Article:  Decimated Danube: Sturgeon Revival Efforts Neglect Roots of Poaching – in English / in Romanian
  • A podcast series of interviews with fisherfolk on the Danube Delta – in Romanian
  • Interview with Alexandra Czeglédi and Ian Cook – in English / in Hungarian
  • How Can Investigative Journalists and Researchers Work Together? - a report written by Alexandra Czeglédi documenting the work experience in the project (in English)
  • Article: In a Romanian Fishing Village, Caviar is a Distant Memory - in English 
  • An article aboout how environmental protection is bypassed in Hungary for the sake of the economy - in Hungarian
  • The Life and Times of Red Mud Reservoir № VII - A cartoon about the bauxite tailings storage facility in Almásfüzítő - in English / in Hungarian