How to use data journalism to investigate cross-border crime

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Online, instructor-led, two hours

Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism is Africa’s first journalistic investigation unit focusing on environmental issues. It combines traditional investigative reporting with data analysis and geo-mapping tools to expose eco-offences and track organised criminal syndicates. This way of working allows Oxpeckers to encompass an ever-growing set of tools, techniques and approaches to storytelling.

In a world fraught with disinformation and a news cycle that never sleeps, we build easy-to-access data sets that assist journalists and provide certainty. This training will equip reporters with some of these skills, within the context of cross-border environmental reporting. We will teach participants how to take large bits of information, collate and analyse the data, and spot a story.

On this training, participants will learn:

– How Oxpeckers’ tools work and how to use them in their work;

-How to work with data;

-How to identify trends, patterns and outliers within a dataset;

-How to identify story ideas in a dataset;

-How to use data within an investigation, from conception to publication.

Data wranglers and journalists from Oxpeckers will highlight several mapping tools (#WildEye, #MineAlert and Rhino Court Cases) to demonstrate how participants can incorporate data into their work. We will showcase successful examples from reporters in Asia and Africa, and teach participants how to work with data. This will include basic practical training on identifying trends, patterns and outliers, as well as how to spot a good story angle within a dataset.

The programme will run according to the following structure:

  1. Introduction to Oxpeckers (15 min)
  2. Using data for journalism (30 min)
  3. Introducing tracking and mapping technologies (20 min)
  4. Case studies (30 min)
  5. A brief overview of current and future Oxpeckers work (10 min)
  6. Q&A (15 min)

Participants will also receive a comprehensive set of resources, and a tip-sheet.


#WildEye: Track environmental crime across the globe

#MineAlert: Track and share mining licenses and applications

Rhino Court Cases Map: Track developments in rhino poaching court cases across South Africa

Oxpeckers Learning Kit


Google Charts

Tableau Public


Trainer Bio

Roxanne Joseph is a data journalist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her focus is on digitally-enabled wildlife trafficking and illicit financial flow. She has experience in research, writing, content creation, videography, photography, editing, project management and social media engagement. She graduated from the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand.


Fiona Macleod is a seasoned investigative environmental journalist who is pioneering the use of new media tools to expose eco-offences in Southern Africa, and to track offenders around the world.

As editor of Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism, she heads up journalistic collaborations that have changed lives, policies and laws. Several of the unit’s benchmark projects have been replicated in other parts of the world, and have received global recognition


Andiswa Matikinca is an award-winning journalist with a passion for writing, storytelling and broadcasting. She manages the Oxpeckers extractives digital tool, #MineAlert, and is an associate journalist across all our mobile and web-based tools. She is also a researcher and reporter for Viewfinder, an Accountability Journalism unit that exposes abuses of power which impact on the public’s interest.


Hsiuwen Liu is a journalist based in Hong Kong. Her reporting focuses on geopolitical developments, human rights and social justice around the region. Topics she has covered range from political trauma, disinformation, illicit trade and wildlife trafficking. She has covered a variety of investigations for the Oxpeckers environmental crimes platform #WildEye, and for publications in Hong Kong.

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