DigLab Foundation trains and mentors teams of citizen investigators to dig where they stand. We also help NGOs strengthen their fact-gathering.
Each of us witnesses – and may be a victim of – wrongdoing around us. The cavalry isn’t coming to save us – there aren’t enough journalists and government regulators to protect us. When the stream behind your home starts to smell toxic but your local newspaper has been decimated by layoffs and your local environmental protection agency is stretched thin, it may be time for a DIY investigation.
You don’t need a journalism degree to find water-quality data. You can interview an environmental official without a private-eye license. You needn’t be a lawyer to present evidence at a public hearing.
We focus not just on the investigation, but on the investigator. Learning to find and present evidence empowers people to change their world.
“We see investigation as a journey in the literal sense, but also in the broader sense of what it can achieve and the impact it can have on the investigator.”
— Exposing the Invisible: The Kit, a recent guide for citizen investigators posted by Tactical Tech
A citizen-investigation community is coming together. Organizations and individuals are helping citizen investigators dig deeply into what concerns them. Some NGOs are starting to offer training in open-source and other research. Other NGOs recently published guides for citizen investigators. There is even a helpline where anyone digging into wrongdoing can now go for advice.
It has never been easier for regular people to conduct investigations using online access to information and research tools.
Accuracy, Fairness & Transparency
Investigation cannot be captured in a step-by-step guide. Fact-gathering is a mindset.
It starts with curiosity and a desire to dig into what’s really going on, and to tell peoples’ stories.
We train and mentor people to do that digging with strict dedication to accuracy. And basic fairness is crucial. Being meticulously accurate and fair increases your credibility. Unsourcable or anonymous allegations, and information-as-revenge, does the opposite.
The credibility of your evidence depends on its transparency. Get ready to explain how you gathered each piece of the puzzle. You want others to be able to retrace your steps.