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The Challenge of Cross-Border Reporting in Europe
‘Through networking, journalists contribute their part in shaping this European public sphere by investigating and illuminating its common issues.’
By Brigitte Alfter Under this banner, theEuropean Fund for Investigative Journalismfeatured reportingthat it financed in Ireland and Latvia on human trafficking.They are poor women who come mostly from Latvia, a country on the easternmostborder of the European Union. What they hope to find in Ireland is a better life forthemselves and their families. Instead, they experience abuse and threats, and soonthey are powerless and trapped. The assaults against them are committed bymembers of organized crime groups who lured the women—with the promise of $1,300 to $2,600—into sham marriages to obtain E.U. residence permits for men,many of whom are from the Indian subcontinent. The rules and loopholes that enablethe women to be brought here were decided in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, andBrussels, the headquarters of the E.U.Aleksandra Jolkina, a young and committed Latvian journalist, had been researchingthis topic in Latvia since 2007 when she worked for the daily newspaper Diena ("TheDay"). Likewise, Jamie Smyth, a social affairs reporter who is the former Europeancorrespondent for the Dublin-based Irish Times, had been working on the samestory. Last summer, with assistance from theEuropean Fund for InvestigativeJournalism, Smyth and Jolkina joined forces to stitch together the beguiling chain of supply and demand. "Working together enabled both of us to identify contacts ineach other's countries that would have been difficult or impossible to source whileworking on our own," Smyth has observed.In October after Smyth traveled to Latvia for Jolkina's assistance with reporting, TheIrish Times published a series of three stories about sham marriages. In turn, Jolkinawent to Ireland to report on the story from angles she hadn't been able to cover fromLatvia. By working together to connect the two ends of the Latvian women's journey,Jolkina and Smyth produced stories that made big headlinesin Ireland and werenoticed throughout Europe. Early this year, Jolkina's book on the subject waspublished in Latvia.
Side 1 af 3Nieman Reports | The Challenge of Cross-Border Reporting in Europe26-03-2011http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitemprint.aspx?id=102600