Because corruption is global, confounding national and regional responses, journalists often work in networks, and across borders, to challenge these abuses of power. The commercial marketplace for sustaining this kind of journalism is completely inadequate. However, existing national and regional funding mechanisms also fail to sustain the watchdogs who are our front line of defense against injustice and impunity.Working together, rather than on parallel tracks to create multiple global funds that compete for the same money, is necessary. The timing, potential, and urgent need for a journalism fund are clear.
Collaborative global reporting projects like the Panama Papers raise anew the difficult question of how to measure and analyse the social impacts of journalism, and especially of investigative or ‘accountability’ reporting. Professional norms make journalists reluctant to weigh their work in terms of the results it produces, for fear of being seen as activists, but the question becomes more urgent as public affairs journalism increasingly relies on nonprofit newsrooms supported by charitable giving or other subsidies. Meanwhile, global investigative projects are a new phenomenon and have rarely been studied in terms of impact.