How to Cover the World: The Promise and Peril of Journalism in the Digital Age

Joel Simon and Gerard Ryle
In Conversation With Alex Cohen
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Episode Summary

Technology has made possible new forms of transnational investigative journalism and fueled the rise of new digital media organizations in the US and around the world. Yet more journalists are imprisoned around the world than at any time in recent history; censorship is on the rise; and government-run disinformation campaigns are undermining public understanding and fueling distrust in the media. Two leading figures in global journalism help make sense of this confusing and contradictory environment, and discuss how their organizations find unique opportunities to make an impact within this challenging and ever-changing landscape. Gerard Ryle is the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which collaborates teams of journalists to pursue groundbreaking investigations, like the Panama Papers. Joel Simon is the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which fights for press freedom and the rights of journalists in the United States and around the world.

Co-presented with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Participant(s) Bio

Gerard Ryle is ICIJ's director. He led the worldwide teams of journalists working on the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers investigations, the biggest in journalism history. Under his leadership over the past seven years, ICIJ has become one of the best-known journalism brands in the world. Reporters Without Borders has described Ryle’s work with ICIJ as "the future of investigative journalism worldwide" when naming him as one of "100 information heroes" of worldwide significance. Before joining as ICIJ’s first non-American director in September 2011, Ryle spent more than 20 years working as an investigative reporter and editor in Australia. His work as a journalist began in his native Ireland. He was later a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan, and in 2013 he accepted an honorary doctorate from the University of Liege, on behalf of ICIJ. Ryle is a book author and TED speaker, and he has won or shared in more than 50 journalism awards from seven different countries, including the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, three George Polk Awards, and honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, Overseas Press Club of America, the New York Press Club, the Barlett and Steele Awards, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and Harvard University. He and his ICIJ colleagues also shared an Emmy Award with the U.S. television program 60 Minutes.

Joel Simon has been the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists since 2006. Simon has led the organization through a period of expansion, helping to launch the Global Campaign Against Impunity, establishing a Journalist Assistance program, and spearheading CPJ's defense of press freedom in the digital space through the creation of a dedicated Technology Program. Under his leadership, CPJ has been honored with the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and a News & Documentary Emmy for its work in defense of press freedom, and numerous other awards. Simon has written widely on press freedom issues for publications including Slate, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. His analysis of press freedom issues is featured regularly in major media. He is a regular columnist for Columbia Journalism Review. Prior to joining CPJ in 1997 as Americas program coordinator, Simon worked for a decade as a freelance journalist in Latin America. He covered the Guatemalan civil war, the Zapatista uprising in Southern Mexico, the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the economic turmoil in Cuba following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A graduate of Amherst College and Stanford University, he is the author of Endangered Mexico: An Environment on the Edge (Sierra Club Books, 1997) and The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom (Columbia University Press 2015).

Alex Cohen was formerly the local host of Morning Edition, NPR’s most popular show. Prior to that, she was co-host of KPCC’s Take Two and All Things Considered. Currently, Cohen has joined Spectrum News as one of its morning anchors and to host a prime-time evening public affairs program.