[Registration closed] “Exposing the Invisible" Online Investigation Talks | 23 January - 12 February 2024

Are you interested in investigating issues in the public interest or learning how investigations are done? Do you want to explore cases, methods and lessons-learned shared by experienced investigators based on their recent work? Exposing the Invisible invites you to join an online talk series that covers diverse topics and techniques including: geolocating images and verifying sources, investigating water pollution while navigating cumbersome climate policies, tracking online disinformation networks in a constantly shifting information landscape, investigating deadly ship incidents costing hundreds of migrants’ lives, or diving into the political influence industry that impacts our elections. The sessions delve into methods, tools, and challenges, providing practical insights and ethical considerations for investigators.

[Registration for this event series closed]

Overview of the series

This series of talks consisted of five separate events on different topics. Each talk is two hours long, taking place online on the following dates:

The talks require sign-up and attendance is free of charge. The language of the series is English.

Check the details about each session below at: "What are the sessions about?"

Who are these events for?

  • This series addresses journalists and other media professionals, researchers, community investigators, activists, artists, and others conducting research and investigations in the public interest.

  • The sessions require no previous knowledge or experience of the topics included.

How do I sign up and join?

[Registration for this event series closed]

  • You can sign up to join one or more talks in this ETI series by filling out [this brief form - form closed] and selecting one or more sessions you'd like to attend. - Make sure you sign up at least one day before the talk you wish you join.

  • Please leave a valid email address where you can receive sign-up confirmations and the event links.

  • You will receive the link to the talks you sign up for on the day before the event, and a reminder one hour before the start of each talk.

  • The events are free of charge.

What are the sessions about?

"Geolocating Images: Verification Methods, Tools and Creativity"

23 January 2024 | 10:00 - 12:00 CET

With Robin Taylor

Geolocating photos and videos is key to verifying and identifying where in the world they were taken. It is a method and a process that can provide valuable evidence when investigating events and incidents, from natural disasters to conflict contexts. In this talk, open source researcher Robin Taylor will walk you through cases and practical examples from past geolocation and verification work, and explain how to establish facts in a world of information chaos. You will hear about open-source intelligence (OSINT) methods and free tools, which enable you to verify information based on images. You will also discover how to identify and verify the geographic location where certain images were taken, using online maps and free mapping tools. The session will cover basic as well as more advanced techniques and skills applied to different case studies. It will also discuss certain ethical issues with geolocating images in conflict areas and address aspects related to investigators’ mental health when verifying harmful material .

About the speaker:

Robin Taylor is an open-source researcher with a human rights NGO with experience in conflict and environmental analysis, and a side-interest in tracking ships.

"Anatomy of ‘The Pylos Shipwreck’ Investigation”

30 January 2024 | 15:00 - 17:00 CET

With Iliana Papangeli and Stavros Malichudis

In this talk, journalists Iliana Papangeli and Stavros Malichudis from the Greek investigative outlet Solomon will present findings, methodology and challenges of investigating the award-winning story on the Pylos shipwreck, which caused the death of over 600 migrants on June 14, 2023. A team of over 15 journalists and researchers from Solomon, Forensis, The Guardian and ARD/STRG_F, worked collectively on the project combining different tools and methodologies, from traditional reporting to OSINT, and created the most complete tracing, to date, of the course that the fishing vessel Adriana took until it ultimately sank. The two journalists will also discuss the impact and what followed after the publication of this story: “Under the unwatchful eye of the authorities’ deactivated cameras: dying in the darkest depths of the Mediterranean.”

About the speakers:

Iliana Papangeli is the managing director of Solomon. She has participated in several cross-border investigations and her work has been published in media across Europe. She has a focus on migration and the environment. From her position as a manager, she is interested in how media can create a healthier working culture in journalism. She has been nominated for the European Press Prize ‘21 and won the IJ4EU Impact Award ‘22 and the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize ‘23. She has served as a jury at the IJ4EU Impact Award 2023 and the Evens Journalism Prize 2021. She has a background in Psychology and Social Anthropology.

Stavros Malichudis is Solomon’s editor-in-chief. He has worked for the Agence France-Presse and inside story, and has participated in cross-border investigations with Lighthouse Reports and Investigate Europe. His reports have been published in European media. He was shortlisted for the European Press Prize ‘21 and won the IJ4EU Impact Award ‘22 and the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize ‘23. In 2019 he was selected as a fellow for BIRN’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence (BFJE). He has been trained in data journalism at Columbia University in New York on a fellowship.

"How to Track and Investigate Online Disinformation Networks"

2 February 2024 | 10:00 - 12:00 CET

With Nicola Bruno

Online disinformation campaigns aim at manipulating the public, creating widespread opinion and attitude shifts, leading to uncertainty, confusion, chaos. But behind this chaos there are rules, methods, drivers and clearly established hierarchies helping to make disinformation campaigns effective. These elements provide us with clues to find entry points and paths to investigate networks of disinformation and their enablers. This talk introduces the essential methods and concepts of networked disinformation and manipulation campaigns and the actors behind them. We will explore a methodology for discovering, mapping and tracking online networks of disinformation in different contexts, looking for connections on multiple platforms and using accessible online resources, tools and study cases.

About the speaker:

Nicola Bruno is a journalist and digital culture expert. He is one of the founders of the award-winning organization Dataninja where he manages Open the Box, a project for the dissemination of media and data literacy including three thematic paths on disinformation, social media and artificial intelligence. Since 2010 he has been a partner of Effecinque, where he has worked on several digital investigations using OSINT techniques. He is a visiting lecturer of Visual Storytelling at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy and he was a Journalist Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

"Troubled Waters: Investigating How Intensive Agriculture Pollutes our Waters”

6 February 2024 | 10:00 - 12:00 CET

With Jelena Prtoric

Across the European Union, around 60% of surface waters are in poor chemical and ecological condition. Many scientists and environmentalists point out that we probably underestimate the levels of water pollution due to insufficient data and current methods of testing. Agriculture has a great impact on water bodies. Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a system of lavish subsidies that suck up one-third of the EU’s overall budget has, by supporting intensive agriculture, fueled the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. This has had harmful consequences on aquatic environments across the continent. It also means that EU taxpayers are de facto subsidising both the pollution and the cleaning of their waters. The investigation “Troubled Waters”, which included a collaboration between journalist Jelena Prtoric and freedom of information activist Luisa Izuzquiza, looked into the pollution of European water sources - both freshwater and groundwater - by agriculture, focusing on pollutants such as pesticides and nitrates.

In this talk, Jelena Prtoric will speak about how the investigation unfolded and about its findings. She will discuss the challenges of navigating a complex interplay of different EU legislations that regulate water protection, and provide an overview of the data available for such research. You will also get an insight into the research methodologies used (i.e. working with scientific sources or right-to-information requests), and explore the challenges and pitfalls that come with such cross-border and cross-disciplinary work. And, because the troubles with water never end, you will get to explore potential stories and topics left to investigate.

About the speaker:

Jelena Prtoric is a freelance journalist from Croatia and currently based in Berlin, Germany. She is working in English, French, and Croatian and her topics of interest include the environment/climate, migration, press freedom, and women’s rights. As of 2020, she has been working with the Arena for Journalism in Europe, where she first set up and coordinated the Arena Climate Network. She is now the director of Dataharvest - the European Investigative Journalism conference, and editor with the Arena Climate Network. When she is not doing journalism, she translates graphic novels, and dabbles in podcasting production (do contact her if you want to work on a podcast together!)

"Mixing Methods to Investigate the Influence Industry in Elections Campaigns"

12 February 2024 | 10:00 - 12:00 CET

With Amber Macintyre

In this session we will explore how our team of researchers from Tactical Tech's "Influence Industry Project" uncovered over 500 firms working in election campaigns, the tools and services they offer to political parties, and the mixed method approach necessary for documenting this opaque industry. We will look at the benefits and disadvantages of each method, and how to work with other experts to produce comprehensive research. We will share the tools we used, as well as our findings, as a foundation for researching the industry profiting from political influence in upcoming elections in 2024.

This session is a collaboration with The Influence Industry Project: "Investigating Digital Influence in Elections" series.

About the speaker:

Dr. Amber Macintyre is a researcher, facilitator, and currently the project lead of The Influence Industry Project at Tactical Tech. She has conducted unique research on private firms working in elections, as well as providing training to journalists and advising election professionals. Before this project, she completed her PhD at Royal Holloway on the effectiveness and ethics of the use of personal data in civil society campaigns.

Contact us

If you have questions about this series of talks, reach out to us at (GPG Key / fingerprint: BD30 C622 D030 FCF1 38EC C26D DD04 627E 1411 0C02).

About us

Tactical Tech is an international non-profit organisation that engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society. Exposing the Invisible is a Tactical Tech project that develops resources, training and collaborations promoting investigation as one of the most important forms of public engagement.

This event is part of the CIJI project co-funded by the European Union. 


Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.