A non-profit project launched in Germany to help small newsrooms with big investigations has published its first story in collaboration with a German weekly.
CORRECT!V, which announced its first collaborations in July, was established to fill a gap in the country's journalistic landscape, according to David Schraven, the renowned German investigative journalist who leads the newsroom.
"We set it up because we think there's a lack of deep journalistic investigations in Germany," Schraven told Journalism.co.uk, "and I think it's a good way to do big, data-centric journalism.
"You need an approach where data journalism is not a plus to your investigation, but the cornerstone of the investigation."
He said CORRECT!V's collaboration with smaller newsrooms throughout the country would result in stories the local newspapers would not have the resources to cover on their own, but would be needed in the local community.
CORRECT!V establishes relationships with other newsrooms by either approaching them with a finished investigation, or inviting them to collaborate on a project.
With their first story, "Business Cheats: How Fraudsters Turn Forged Bonds Into Cash", CORRECT!V gave weekly newspaper Der Freitag the finished investigation and a one day exclusive, before publishing on their own site last week.
Screenshot from correctiv.org
Schraven said they publish investigations in three different lengths, both in German and English. The stories would then be made available for free to any news outlet interested in republishing them.
He said the team would collaborate on stories with local journalists and give them access to materials and databases, but would also work with citizen journalists.
"We are crossing lots of borders of journalism because we're trying to give ordinary people access to this information and these databases, so they will be able to do their own investigations.
"In some towns or villages there aren't any journalists left, so citizens themselves do journalistic work."
In his opinion, there is no distinction between professional journalism and citizen journalism.
"Everybody is able to collect information, everybody can learn to do a story, and I think now in the time of the internet everybody is able to publish.
"We need to teach people how to do this, and especially give them access to databases so they find good stories by themselves."
CORRECT!V will publish datasets from stories, including instructions on how to use them, and Schraven said his team would also offer training sessions in German towns and villages in the future.
He said working with CORRECT!V gave him the freedom to present his journalism in the best way he thought was necessary.
"I can focus on the data journalism side of the investigation, I can focus on graphics if it's needed, I can focus on whatever needs to be done.
"We did an investigation on fascist terrorists and I thought the best way to put the story would be to do it as a comic book, and now we are publishing this as an investigative graphic novel."
CORRECT!V is funded by a German nonprofit called the Brost Foundation, as well as donations from members. A third possible method of funding would be to seek specific financing for each investigation, according to Schraven, who said CORRECT!V would "always be a mixture".