Stephen Handelman Discusses Some of the Most Powerful Recent Examples of Investigative Journalism (Part 2)

Stephen Handelman

If you read the first batch of examples of impactful investigative journalism from Stephen Handelman, you will understand why such work continues to be important. If not, there’s plenty of time to go back and check them out after reading through this blog! Each post is dedicated to showing the power of investigative reporting and how it can help shed light on abuses that are otherwise concealed by the powerful. Such journalism also provides a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard.

For example, some of the best recent investigative reporting has focused on inhumane working conditions in certain areas of the world and in industries which otherwise make our lives comfortable. Reporting for Public Eye, Timo Kollbrunner was able to provide a detailed look at the way one of fashion’s biggest companies was treating its workers. Following the trail of his reporting, Timo traveled to Guangzhou, China, where he found workers were spending 12 hours a day sewing clothes for the fashion giant Shein. Workers would receive one off day a month and seamstresses were not provided contracts. They were working in factories that did not meet basic safety standards. This reporting helped countless customers not only turn away from Shein but start to grow more aware of where their clothing goods were coming from.

Another example provided by Stephen Handelman is the exposure of poor working conditions within the fishing industry by award-winning New Zealand journalists Eugene Bingham and Paula Penfold for Stuff. In their 2018 multimedia expose, “Caught,” the journalists used interviews with fishermen, global organizations, and private investigators, to provide riveting and disturbing details of the fishing industry . Overseas workers would be hired to fish at an agreed upon price and often go unpaid after completion of the job.

Stephen Handelman notes that the story documented which retail sellers of tuna and other fish to show which companies were particular about where their product was coming from and which companies would turn a blind eye to the conditions facing overseas fishermen. The story also revealed footage from undercover cameras on fishing boats that helped drive home just how inhumane fishermen from around the globe are being treated.

Investigative journalism has seen a focus in recent years on informing the public about the impact climate change is having on the planet. Sky News had a team of reporters use a satellite monitoring system to show rapid deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon Forest. While those in the country are supposed to report deforestation plans, the report showed that local governments and businesspeople were clearing the land without alerting the proper channels. As we have learned that poor environmental practices in one part of the world impact the rest of the globe, it’s important to call out any instances of environmental malpractice.

Finally, Stephen Handelman encourages readers to look into the work of Ian Urbina, the director of The Outlaw Ocean Project, a non-profit journalism organization based in Washington D.C.. whichj exposed in the words of the headline “How China’s Expanding Fishing Fleet Is Depleting the World’s Oceans.” This violated sanctions from the United Nations and caused the squid stocks of North Korea to drop by more than 70 percent. The captains were evading detection by turning off their transponders on their vessels. Only through investigative reporting were Chinese ships revealed to be breaking the law.

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