Special Report

Journalist spotlight: Brian Winter on his special report

Last week, Reuters published a Special Report looking at Brazil’s complex relationship with race as reflected in the candidacy of Marina Silva, who despite being black herself trailed President Dilma Rousseff among black voters. The reasons behind Silva’s struggles speak volumes about Brazil’s history, its complex relationship with race and the recent social progress that has made Rousseff a slight favorite to win a second term despite a stagnant economy. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Brazil Correspondent Brian Winter offers an inside look at the reporting behind the story.

Q. How did you get started on this story?

A. This has been one of the craziest presidential campaigns in Brazilian history. One of the candidates died in a plane crash just six weeks before the election, and his running mate, Marina Silva, replaced him. Silva then soared in the polls and it looked like she might become the country’s first black president. But even when Silva was doing really well, we saw buried deep in the poll data that she was actually losing among the half of Brazilian voters who are of African descent. We found that surprising, especially when you consider that Barack Obama had support from more than 90 percent of African-American voters when he was elected. Above all, we thought that would be a fresh and compelling way to explain this volatile election – and why President Dilma Rousseff was still in front.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved?

A. We spoke to nearly 30 people for this story. We interviewed Silva and asked her about what it would mean to be Brazil’s first black president, and asked her why she thought she was trailing among black voters. We also talked to three ministers in Rousseff’s government, who gave us insight and data showing why she was still ahead in the polls and doing particularly well with this demographic. I talked to a few historians and sociologists, who explained why race has always been viewed differently in Brazil compared to, say, the United States. And finally, I talked to voters of color in three different cities to get their views on Silva and this election.

Q. What was the hardest part about reporting this story? (more…)

Stephen Grey on the Reuters Investigation into how Russia does business in the Putin era

Recently, Reuters produced a series of investigations into how Russia does business in the Putin era. The three-part series exposed, among other findings, how millions of dollars from Russian taxpayers were paid to a company secretly owned by two associates of President Vladimir Putin – money that appears to have helped fund a palatial private estate on the Black Sea known as “Putin’s palace.” In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, investigative reporter Stephen Grey, who appeared on BBC and other outlets to discuss the investigation, offers the story-behind-the-story of the Reuters series, “Comrade Capitalism.”

Q. How did you get started on this story?

A. The idea for this story came from Tim Heritage, the Moscow bureau chief, who said: why not aim high and examine the wealth of Putin and those around him. We know that many well-connected people in Russia have got fabulously wealthy under Putin and there have been various rumours about his own assets. But there have been few details of exactly how the Russian elite do business in the Putin era. So we decided to investigate.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing is involved in covering this story? (more…)

Multiple Sclerosis – graphic of the day

In recognition of World Multiple Sclerosis Day (May 28th), we produced an infographic illustrating the global footprint of MS ten years ago, today and what it is anticipated to be in ten years’ time. We have also created a special report on recent clinical trials with investigational agents for MS. Multiple sclerosis is chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that is pathologically characterized by demyelination and neurodegeneration, resulting in the accumulation of irreversible disabilities such as muscle weakness, visual disturbances and other neurological impairments. MS is an extremely variable illness, ranging in severity from relatively benign to devastating. Read more on the Life Sciences Connect blog.

multiple sclerosis

 

High-speed money – graphic of the day

A Reuters investigation found that the state-owned rail giant, run by an old friend of President Vladimir Putin, awards vast sums to contractors who disguise their ownership. Today’s graphic shows how Russian Railways paid state funds to Setstroienergo, it’s main contractor for upgrading a line from St. Petersburg to Finland, and how Setstroienergo often paid the same or similar amounts straight on to another company, StroiMontazh, at another bank. Read part three of the Reuters Investigates special report on how Russian Railways paid billions of dollars to secretive private companies.

special reports

 

Closing in on Zhou’s circle – graphic of the day

After former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang fell from grace, many of his aides and associates have been placed under investigation. He and his wife are currently under house arrest. In a campaign unprecedented in modern China, Chinese President Xi Jinping is determined to bring down Zhou for making a behind-the-scenes grab for power, the sources say. Today’s graphic diagrams Zhou Yongkang’s inner circle.

Zhou Yongkang

Read the Reuters special report on the power struggle behind China’s corruption crackdown.

Journalist spotlight: Brian Ellsworth on Venezuela’s communal giveaway program

Auto mechanic Juan Freire stands next to the headquaters of El Chaparral neighbourhood in La Guaira

Earlier this month, Reuters exposed a major lapse of accountability in the way Venezuela spends its oil money on social programs – a community assistance program that has given away nearly $8 billion, but faces little or no financial scrutiny. Reuters calculated that a network of more than 70,000 community groups has received the equivalent of at least $7.9 billion since 2006 from the federal agency that provides much of the financing for the program, but exactly how much money passes through this system, who gets it and how it’s used are largely a mystery. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Reuters correspondent Brian Ellsworth offers an inside look at the reporting behind his special report. You can read our previous Journalist Spotlight Q&As here.

Q. How did you get started on this story? (more…)

Journalist spotlight: Dan Flynn on his special report on Areva and Niger’s uranium fight

REUTERS/Joe Penney

Last week, Reuters published an extensive Special Report that offered an in-depth look at how Niger – the world’s fourth largest uranium producer but one of the poorest countries on earth – is demanding a better deal from France’s state-owned nuclear company Areva. The story, by West and Central Africa Bureau Chief Dan Flynn and EMEA Utilities Correspondent Geert De Clercq, reports that Areva’s mines pay no export duties on uranium, no taxes on materials and equipment used in mining operations, and pay a royalty of just 5.5 percent on the uranium they produce. Niger’s president says the deals are a throwback to the post-colonial era and he now wants to cut the tax breaks and raise the royalty rate to as much as 12 percent. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Dan offers a look at the reporting behind their revealing Special Report.

Q. How did you get started on this story? (more…)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Armed agents from Brazil’s environmental protection agency, backed by police and military units, have cracked down on illegal lumber mills in remote regions of the Amazon rainforest. Reuters correspondent Paulo Prada rode along with them.

Read the full special report.

Read the Journalist Spotlight Q&A with Paulo Prada.

Financial Regulation in 2014: The Dust Hasn’t Settled For Compliance

The year 2013 saw a raft of new legislation stemming from regulators worldwide and 2014 looked like the year in which the dust would settle and that compliance professionals could spend focusing on implementing those changes. However, this has not been the case and compliance staff are still operating in a changing environment, where political pressures and cultural inertia mean that it is hard to pause for breath.

This year will still be one of implementation in a world that in some respects has not changed over the past seven years. A number of serious challenges will have to be tackled in 2014. They range from the international reach of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Volcker rule and cross-border derivatives regulations, to the minute complexities of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation.

Read this in-depth special report from Thomson Reuters that looks at an array of regulatory initiatives and their impact on the current global economy and political world. Gain a better understanding of what 2014 will bring to market participants and how businesses should prepare to face the regulatory changes.

Download the Special Report: State of Regulatory Reform 2014.

Journalist spotlight: Paulo Prada on the work of the police who protect Brazil’s rain forests

In late September, Reuters accompanied agents from the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, known as Ibama, for the start of a month-long sting against people felling the Amazon rainforest. During the operation, Ibama shuttered and leveled numerous unlicensed facilities, levied more than $1.7 million in fines, seized machinery and confiscated roughly $2 million worth of lumber. Most of that wood came from a nearby Indian reserve, a swath of virgin forest that, like much of Brazil’s protected woodland, is increasingly besieged. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Senior Correspondent Paulo Prada discusses his special report published last week, in which he explored the cat-and-mouse game being played between those tasked with protecting the rainforests and those who profit by clearing them on the wild-west-like frontiers of Brazil.

Q. How did you find this story?

A. I have always been fascinated by the Amazon and troubled by the problem of deforestation. One of the benefits of reporting in Brazil for me has always been the opportunity to go there and look into it further. Some basic reporting over the past two years led me to understand that the destruction is on the rebound and I wanted to show the challenge Brazil faces trying to stop it. That meant profiling the folks who battle deforestation out on the front lines.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)