In my 30-year career as a journalist, I’ve spoken with thousands of potential sources, some of them with interesting tips or insider knowledge, others with massive datasets to share. Conversations often start with questions about the basics of whistleblowing. If you’re thinking about leaking information, here are some of the things you should keep in mind:
Q. What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is someone who has evidence of wrongdoing, abuse of power, fraud or misconduct and who shares it with a third party such as an investigative journalism organization like the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
By blowing the whistle you can help prevent the possible escalation of misconduct or corruption.
Q. Can a whistleblower remain anonymous?
Yes. We will always go out of our way to protect whistleblowers. You can remain anonymous for as long as you want, and, in fact, this is sometimes the best protection that journalists can offer whistleblowers.
Q. What information should I include?
To enable a thorough investigation, you should include a detailed description of the issue you are concerned about. Ideally, you should also include documents or data. The more information you provide, the better the work the journalists can do.
Q. Why leak to ICIJ?
ICIJ is a nonprofit organization that has built a network of some of the best investigative journalists in the world – journalists who make it their mission to investigate wrongdoing. We have a global organization of more than 220 journalists from 83 countries who collaborate on in-depth stories. Together, we produce investigative journalism in the public interest that is driven by data and technological innovation. Our unique model is collaborative, based on the idea that journalists who work together and share information will have vastly more impact than one journalist working alone.
Recent examples of our work include the Paradise Papers and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers, which investigated the shadowy offshore industry. These investigations have generated powerful long-lasting impact. For a behind-the-scenes look at how such a large investigation works watch this HBO/Vice documentary on the Paradise Papers.
We also do regional investigations. One recent example was West Africa Leaks, the largest-ever collaboration of journalists from West Africa. Al Jazeera produced a documentary on this project that goes behind the scenes on how a collaboration like this comes together.
Leaking information to ICIJ ensures that it will reach the eyes of journalists from reputable news organizations – such as The New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian and Le Monde, to name just a few. Your information may lead the journalists to work together to produce big stories and big scoops that most of them could not afford to work on separately.
Under the ICIJ model, the story becomes more important than any one media brand, with clear public interest and public service results.
Q. How do I get in contact with ICIJ?
There are a number of ways to contact ICIJ. Here are some secure methods.
If you are trying to contact us from inside a government agency or corporation we recommend that you access the communication channels from a device that is not connected to your employer’s intranet.
To speak with one of our reporters, you can use one of the contact methods here or send us an email: