Investigating real estate and documenting ruins in downtown Beirut

With environmental disasters and public service dysfunction everywhere you look, there’s never been a better time to investigate Lebanon and a greater need for investigative reporting. Next week, I’ll be teaching a course on investigative journalism at AUB and I encourage all students who are interested in producing work with a social impact to sign up.

We’ll look at some of the past investigations I and other journalists have been involved in, investigations that have often led to real changes in policies and government practices, yes even in Lebanon.

These include investigations that revealed information that was hidden from the public including the destruction of priceless ruins in favor of real estate projects, and some projects that have been halted due to public pressure that followed reporting.

We’ll also look at how to investigate infrastructure projects such as the Boutros Highway, which was halted after reporting and public pressure campaigns that followed it, as well as the Janneh Dam, which remains ongoing despite the serious threat it poses to the national water supply and essential ecosystems protected for thousands of years. We will also look at the ongoing destruction of the coast and reporting and activist campaigns that intervened in contesting massive projects and pushing for new laws to protect public lands and hold politicians and business owners accountable.

With the garbage/airport/pollution/seagull massacre issues continuing, there will be plenty more to investigate as well as follow up on the issues mentioned above with more ruins, coastline and heritage threatened every day. For AUB students interested in the class, the CRN number is 22167.

UPDATE: For Fall 2017-18 the CRN is 10959 / MCOM244B

And for those who are not students,  Beirut Report is always looking for contributors. I walked through the process behind a couple of previous investigative stories during this TEDx talk last year and offered tips on how anyone can start an investigation, even if you are not a trained journalist:

So what are you waiting for, let’s investigate! You may not change the world (at least on the first try), but you may change your perspective on an issue and be able to share that with others to make an impact in your community, as some of these previous stories did.

For those interested in contributing to Beirut Report click on the “submit a story idea” tab on the top menu bar or get in touch via the “contact us” option if you don’t have a story yet but would like to get invovled.


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