Carlotta Indiano - “Trying to have a community”

Exposing the Invisible talks to Carlotta Indiano about her transition from environmental activist to investigative journalist covering corruption in Italy and about how early-career journalists can improve their skills through intensive research, dedication and peer support. This interview was conducted in June 2022.

About the Interviewee

Carlotta Indiano is a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), a centre for investigative journalism based in Italy which is part of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) Network. Carlottastudied International Cooperation and Development in Rome and Buenos Aires and obtained a Master in multi-media and investigative journalism at the Lelio Basso School of Journalism in Rome, Italy. Her work is based on a cultural intersectional, feminist, and decolonial approach. She writes on social issues, climate change and energy with a special eye on the ecological transition.

Interview Transcript

Exposing the Invisible in conversation Carlotta Indiano from the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI)

(Note: the transcript includes minor edits for clarity reasons.)

Carlotta Indiano (CI):

My name is Carlotta Indiano, I live in Rome. And I work for IRPI Media – investigative reporting project in Italy – which is a newsroom of collaborative journalists based in Italy who are investigative journalists.

I started as an environmental activist. So I was, I was trying to advocate civil society toward climate issues. But I think in Italy, there is a very big division between, not between the people who wants of course to fight climate change, but... in the method. Like, there are some people that are protesting, some people that are writing about it, they are trying to advocate government. But at a certain point, it was too... it was too important to expose what was going on because one thing is like, make a protest about something, and the other thing is like writing about it.

  • Exposing the Invisible (ETI): What can you tell us about the challenges that investigative journalists face in Italy?


I think there is still a lot of space for investigative journalism in Italy because it's not something that journalists in Italy cover a lot. It's very difficult because there are a lot of issues related actually to corruption and organised crime that are very difficult to cover. Also, because the level of corruption, I think, is still very high. So it's difficult to be an investigative journalist in Italy. And there are not a lot of schools that can teach you how to do it. There are a lot of schools of journalism in Italy but no one is covering that sector.

  • Exposing the Invisible (ETI): What can you tell us about your recent “Recovery Files” investigation?


As a collaborative journalist, I'm working with IRPI and also with Follow the Money that is coordinating a Pan-European organisation that is covering this project that is called "Recovery Files". We are trying to understand the decision-making process of the European Commission towards the European recovery funds for all the countries. We made some freedom information requests to our governments as IRPI, but also to the European Commission, in order to understand how the decision making process was going on, at the European commission level, at the government level, so what was the kind of discussions they were having at a state level, but also the European level.

  • Exposing the Invisible (ETI): What do you enjoy most about investigative journalism?


Of course, I think the most enjoyable part is the fieldwork, when you go to a place and you really understand what is going on, like talking to the people doing the interviews, also having the chance to know another place. And this is… when I started to be a journalist, there was the pandemic. So it was impossible to go like outside to have a field work, and I had to work from my room basically. So, it's been a few months that I am able to, like, do my fieldwork, and it's something that adds value to your work.

Recently I’ve been to Sicily, trying to cover environmental issues related to big companies, because we also trying to expose the lobbying effort of oil and gas companies towards the European Commission, that they are making in order to achieve laws that can help them to grow their business. So we are trying to make some field work in the places where this kind of companies are very big and present and are operating right now.

  • Exposing the Invisible (ETI): What advice would you give to people who are trying to get into investigations?


I think, one of the most important things is trying to have a community as a journalist, because I am growing as a journalist, because of my colleagues, and I think this is very important. Without them, I would not know what to do actually. So try to know more journalists, try to do networking... this is one of the things I would suggest. And also study a lot, do a lot of research but this is because I'm investigative one. So I need to study a lot and do research. And, of course, travel. If you are passionate about a country, go there and try to do some field work.

Credits and Licensing

CC BY-SA 4.0

This content is produced by Tactical Tech's Exposing the Invisible project, and licensed under a *Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license

  • Speaker: Carlotta Indiano

  • Video production: Laurence Ivil

  • Editorial support and coordination: Wael Eskandar, Lieke Ploeger, Laura Ranca

  • Animation and graphic design: Yiorgos Bagakis, Paulina Rams, Jack Wolf

  • Music: “Chill Abstract (Intention)" by Coma Media

This video series is part of the Collaborative and Investigative Journalism Initiative (CIJI) project co-funded by the European Commission under the Pilot Project: "Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU" (DG CONNECT), September 2021 - August 2022

The content reflects the speaker’s views and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

First published on October 6, 2022