International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The World’s Best Cross-Border Investigative Team

Journalist Profile

Justin Arenstein

Justin Arenstein, South Africa, is investigations editor at the African Eye News Service (AENS) in South Africa.

Arenstein established AENS as southern Africa’s only investigative wire service in 1994, after being fired from the Caxton Group for campaigning for equal pay for black and white journalists. AENS has since grown into the sub-continent’s largest independent rural wire service, winning a string of international journalism awards for its investigative reports on corruption and social justice. Arenstein’s own investigative work has resulted in the jailing or dismissal of a senator, two speakers of the Legislature, provincial cabinet ministers, and senior government officials. One transnational story, on money laundering and rogue intelligence agents, prompted arrests of suspects in the United States, Kenya, and Switzerland.

Arenstein is among the founders of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters and the Association for Independent Publishers, which seeks to improve business models at watchdog media in the region. He also cofounded the Southern African Freelance Association, which helps protect independent investigative reporters.

He has co-authored a number of books on investigative reporting, business models for independent media and data journalism, and is co-creator of the Investigative Dashboard helpdesk that gives all journalists forensic assistance in tracing companies, their shareholders and financial interests.

In addition, Arenstein is a director at the Open Democracy Advice Center and advises Google and the African Media Initiative on digital media and data journalism strategies. He also manages the $1 million African News Innovation Challenge and is helping seed a network of Hacks/Hackers chapters across Africa.

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