Gothenburg, Sweden- Emilia Díaz-Struck, the executive director of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), addressed attendees at the GIJN conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden, from September 19 to 22. Díaz-Struck's journey from the classrooms of the Universidad Central de Venezuela to her leadership role in Washington's premier organization supporting investigative journalism worldwide highlights the importance of collaboration and networking in addressing the challenges faced by the field of journalism.
Díaz-Struck, who took over from David Kaplan, the founding executive director of GIJN, brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise. GIJN, an association comprising over 240 non-profit investigative journalism organizations worldwide, plays a pivotal role in promoting and producing resources for investigative journalism.
With a participation of 2000 journalists representing 130 countries, the four-day event turned out to be a hub of knowledge exchange, networking, and exploration of cutting-edge journalism trends.
Among the attendees, six distinguished journalists from India, including Meena Kotwal, the Founder and Editor-in- Chief of The Mooknayak, were granted fellowships to partake in this globally renowned conference.
Among others who participated were three former journalists of The Mooknayak namely Poonam Masih, Kashish Singh and Freelancer scribe Satish Bhartiya.
In a conversation with the participants Díaz-Struck emphasized the significance of international collaboration. She highlighted the valuable contributions of board members like Syed from India, who shares his extensive knowledge and expertise about the country with the organization. She said, regional editors and Hindi editors further help GIJN understand the specific needs of different regions like India and Asia, fostering a strong sense of community and collaboration.
Díaz-Struck expressed her excitement about the combination of resources, stating, "This combination is wonderful. We will take our work forward by staying in touch with relevant communities in India and Asia as a whole. Together with our board members, regional editors, and our communities, we will continue to generate research and content and work to advance our policies."
Importantly, GIJN intends to work closely with local communities to discern the real and fundamental needs of Asian and African regions. The organization aims to ensure that its research and resources are not only accessible but also tailored to facilitate the development of these areas.
Moreover, GIJN plans to broaden its engagement in these regions through participation in conferences such as the African Investigative Journalism Conference slated for November. The organization recognizes the importance of local engagement and collaboration in fostering growth and sustainability in investigative journalism.
Emilia said,"Asia and Africa are central for GIJN. We have regional editors for these areas. Some of our mentorship programs are already running in Asia. We have newsrooms in Asia that are constantly being given mentorship coaching to move forward. There are similar programs in Africa and we are helping to develop investigative journalism curriculum. We will work closely with our communities to understand the real and basic needs of these areas. We will make efforts so that our research and materials are also useful in the development of these areas. We will also share our research material at the African Investigative Journalism Conference to be held in November. There have been some conferences in Asia in the past years, there will be such work in future also and we will look at the possibilities of how we can take our programs and objectives forward in Asia and Africa in the future."
Stressing on the need for knowledge spread, Díaz-Struck said, " All the people who come to this conference are great ambassadors. More than 2 thousand people from 130 countries have come to participate in the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. The knowledge that all these people have acquired from our colleagues by coming to this conference, they will share that knowledge with others after returning to their countries. That's what I did in 2010 when I first came from Venezuela to attend the GIJN conference. After returning, I told my people about what I learned and shared the research. Our social networks convey our messages to the audience not only in English but also in other languages. In this way, the people who have come here will share the information and knowledge received here with as many people as possible. Apart from this, we will also try to reach our message to the communities in different countries through our regular channels."
Díaz-Struck stated, "GIJN Women is a very important program for us which we will continue so that we will not only connect more women with it but will also give them an opportunity to shine and thrive by giving them research and training to move in the right direction."
In the dynamic world of investigative journalism, Emilia Díaz-Struck, advocates a strategic approach built upon three pillars: listening, planning, and action.
Díaz-Struck recognizes that effective leadership begins with attentive listening. To this end, GIJN places great emphasis on gathering insights and feedback from its extensive network of organizations and individuals. This process of active listening serves as the foundation upon which GIJN shapes its future plans.
Crucially, GIJN views planning as a collaborative endeavour. The organization leverages the collective wisdom of its members, conducting internal meetings that encourage open dialogue and the exchange of ideas. Through these discussions, the team harnesses the power of collective intelligence to chart the course for GIJN's continued growth and impact.
One hallmark of GIJN's commitment to the global journalism community is the accessibility of its resources. Díaz-Struck highlights that the organization provides research and investigation reports free on its website. Furthermore, GIJN maintains a responsive help desk, ensuring that anyone seeking guidance or assistance is promptly connected to the appropriate contact person.
Importantly, the organization derives great satisfaction from knowing that its research benefits communities worldwide. Díaz-Struck emphasizes their dedication to providing help whenever possible. Even when a query falls outside their expertise, GIJN takes the extra step to connect individuals with the right experts, demonstrating their commitment to supporting those in need.