Diving Deep Into Stories

Ștefan Cândea / 18 October 2013
We carry out in-depth investigations on a multimedia platform into subjects of relevance to the Black Sea region. We have established this platform for journalism to thrive, while traditional media institutions are in decline
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Fishing in the Black Sea (copyright: Petrut Calinescu)

We choose the topic of our articles by observing over a long period of time issues which have importance at a local, regional and international level. We don't chase news. We find the story, research further and this story then becomes new.

Our authors have strong experience in the region and extensive knowledge, sources and contacts in areas such as organised crime, financial scandals, the energy sector, religious disputes, frozen conflicts, smuggling and human rights abuses. We alternate hardcore watchdog journalism with recording the colour of daily life.

Usually we investigate under-reported stories or taboo subjects. These are areas the mainstream media in the Black Sea countries will not touch because of a lack of expertise, time, vision or strategy - or because of pressure from media owners who have vested political and economic interests.

Meanwhile western media outlets fail to report on these subjects because they do not have the insider knowledge and the boots on the ground to carry out frontline research.

A reporter will file a story, which then goes to an English-language COPY EDITOR, then a fact-checker and finally to a lawyer for legal screening.

If this is a visual story, which includes a photo-story or use of multimedia and info-graphics, it passes to our photo editor or graphic journalist.

At the end of this process, the story is put on page by an information designer or maybe a coder. The coders we work with have convinced us about the importance to build everything on free source code, so you can take this platform and improve it or use it on your own.

Our blogs are a clippings board full of information and research that journalists in the greater Black Sea region can share as a basis for stories for future investigation.

We rely on sources to come to us with stories. If you think you're on to a story, or you want to share some information, you can contact us and we will provide complete anonymity (beluga@theblacksea.eu).

In some cases larger media organisations will ask us to be partners in publishing (such as the Wikileaks project where we were the only publishing partner in Romania) and researching cross-border investigations (such as the ICIJ Offshore Leaks project, where we were the coordinators of a research hub covering Eastern Europe). We are open to this kind of collaboration (contact baracuda@theblacksea.eu).

You can engage with our platform in many ways. First read our work and give us feedback. Or we may offer you to participate in our crowd funding campaigns.

Authors who cannot publish with other media in the region can come to us. We will make an assessment of all pitches, but we are open to publishing new work that can help journalists build up their own portfolio. And we have A a strong stance against censorship and corruption in media, and an interest in taboo topics.

We always look to strengthen our network. We receive regular proposals for projects and freelance jobs. If you feel The Black Sea is the right fit for you, get in touch; we maintain a database with journalists, coders, information designers and editors for potential projects. We can also assist in applications for research grants.

While we value traditional text and photo stories, we understand the importance of stories told through information design, code, electronic tools, mapping and any innovative techniques. We are also interested in cartoons and illustrations. We will maintain a strict quality control - so we won't publish everything. We do follow a code of ethics and we don't serve as a PR channel: we hold power structures accountable and give a voice to people.

We are also open to offer internships in research, community organisation, fundraising, communication, project management, coding, mapping, info-design and translation.

Maybe you have a better idea than us. We want you to have better ideas than us.

Write to us.

Let us build a magazine.