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Tucson Sentinel tapped for prestigious Global Investigative Journalism Network

Tucson Sentinel tapped for prestigious Global Investigative Journalism Network

'Just take a look at the gutsy work these folks are doing'

The Tucson Sentinel is one of just nine journalism organizations around the world chosen as new members of the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

The international organization announced the Sentinel's joining the exclusive network Tuesday, along with news outlets reporting on Lebanon, Belarus, Spain, Indonesia and other countries.

"If you get depressed about the state of the world’s news media, just take a look at the gutsy work these folks are doing," said GIJN Executive Director David E. Kaplan.

"These are impressive newsrooms and networks committed to accountability journalism," he said.

The Sentinel was unanimously approved by the group's board of directors, and the nine were chosen from among more than 60 applicants around the world, GIJN representatives said.

Only about 30 news outlets in the United States have been approved for membership in GIJN, which now includes 244 organizations from 90 countries. The Sentinel was the only locally focused U.S. news outlet chosen to be a new member.

The Sentinel being tapped as a GIJN member "is a result of the sustained commitment to digging into the desert dirt, and the skills of our team at watchdog reporting," said Editor & Publisher Dylan Smith. "We provide context about Southern Arizona and the Borderlands that isn't found anyplace else."

"Being chosen to be part of this important international organization is a reflection of the support and investment the Sentinel receives from people right here in Tucson, said Co-Publisher Maria Coxon-Smith. "The members of our Watchdog Club recognize just how important our independent nonprofit newsroom is, at providing news and information to local residents, and telling our stories to readers across the country and around the world in an authentically local way."

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GIJN said the new members are "a diverse group of nonprofit newsrooms from eight countries that are bravely holding individuals and institutions to account in tough press environments."

The Tucson Sentinel is "a recognized pioneer in rebuilding local news in the United States," GIJN said. "Based in the U.S. Southwest, it offers bilingual coverage, in English and Spanish, and is frequently referenced by national news outlets. This 12-year-old newsroom is a mission-driven organization committed to independent journalism and investigative reporting. Its investigations into the treatment of migrants in this 'borderlands' region of Arizona are especially notable."

The Sentinel joins other U.S. members of GIJN such as our friends and colleagues at Wisconsin Watch and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and The War Horse, an outlet reporting on the military and veterans issues.

GIJN was founded in 2003 and is the world's leading international association of investigative reporting organizations.

In addition to the Sentinel, these organizations were announced as new members of the group Tuesday: Investigative Media (Bulgaria), a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), has produced several award-winning investigations in recent years. Working on both local and transnational accountability stories, Bivol has contributed to major collaborative investigations such as the Panama Papers, the FinCen Files, Russian Laundromat, Offshore Leaks, and Troika Dialog projects.

The Outlaw Ocean Project (U.S.) is an innovative young watchdog nonprofit that focuses on one of the world’s most critical and under-covered topics: criminal activity on the oceans. It has already collaborated with major outlets like The New Yorker, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde, on topics ranging from human trafficking to smuggling to environmental crimes.

Environmental Investigative Forum (France) is a global consortium of environmental investigative journalists. EIF comprises six volunteers, dozens of members, and a network of contributors from the Balkans to the US and East Africa. Focused on covering all things environmental, from water privatization to illicit mining, the organization works collaboratively to dig into some of the world’s most complex and important issues.

The Public Source (Lebanon) is an independent, Beirut-based publication that focuses on structural inequities, and on the rights and plight of poor and dispossessed communities.

Belarusian Investigative Center is the only specialized investigative media outlet for Belarusian audiences, despite being forced to report from exile in the Czech Republic. An energetic member of OCCRP, BIC won the Belarusian Association of Journalists’ investigative Free Word prize for three consecutive years after its founding in 2018, and has contributed to international projects like the Pandora Papers.

Indonesian Data Journalism Network is a nonprofit organization that promotes and teaches data journalism in Indonesia, and also actively collaborates with news organizations. (Spain) is a center for investigative reporting, journalism education, and fact checking in Spain, with a reputation for integrity and support from major European institutions. In addition to collaborations with Spanish media, has worked with groups like Germany’s CORRECTIV and Tactical Tech, while its data project (Maldita Dato) has dug into COVID-19 hoaxes.

JournaFONDS (Switzerland) is a small news organization that plays an outsized role in promoting and developing investigative journalism in Switzerland. With a primary focus on quality financial stories — and a deep interest in empowering diversity and young reporters — JournaFONDS supports watchdog projects, and promotes collaboration and reporting skills.

The Sentinel and its newsroom have undertaken roles in other vital journalism organizations.

Dylan Smith was the founding chairman of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, growing that educational support network from a dozen active local news pioneers to what is now a membership of more than 400 entrepreneurs who are changing the way local journalism operates across the United States and Canada.

The Sentinel was among the first 40 members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, which has grown to include more than 400 nonprofit journalism organizations across the United States. Smith is engaged in several INN initiatives to broaden support for nonprofit news organizations.

Smith also serves as a member of the national Professional Standards and Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, convening discussions about the importance of upholding ethical practices in the evolving world of reporting.

Along with Smith, senior reporter Paul Ingram serves on the board of the Arizona Press Club.

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