Gerard Ryle: How the Panama Papers journalists broke the biggest leak in history
Gerard Ryle - Investigative journalist
As director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Gerard Ryle is one of the key figures behind the Panama Papers. Full bio
to figure out the information
had to face late last year.
calling himself John Doe
nearly 40 years of records
in offshore tax havens
who like to keep secrets.
every spreadsheet from this firm,
into the tax haven system
to investigative journalism.
11.5 million documents,
from more than 200 different countries.
with such a vast resource?
into every corner of the globe,
any person in any language,
they don't even know yet.
to two journalists
by -- and I quote --
that the documents would reveal."
of Investigative Journalists.
that was the very opposite
to do as journalists:
reporters are lone wolves.
we tell them what we have,
that we live in a shrinking world,
been slow to wake up to this.
are more and more transnational.
on a global level.
crises are global.
and financial crises.
that journalism has been so late
that journalism has been so slow
that technology brings,
are scared of technology is this:
are going through tough times
that people are consuming news.
that have sustained reporting are broken.
journalism into crisis,
to reexamine how they function.
known as the Panama Papers
searchable and readable.
to be scanned and indexed,
and other kinds of documents.
in a safe and secure location
to have a look at the documents.
than 100 media organizations
we called it, the idea being,
who was important to Nigeria
for everyone who was invited:
that we found with everybody else,
together on the same day.
previous smaller collaborations
that jumped out from the documents.
of less than 20 people
reporters from 25 language groups.
journalism collaboration in history:
what journalists normally never do,
the biggest kind of noise,
the biggest kind of silence.
over the many months it would take,
designed search engine.
around the themes
or exotic art, for instance,
the offshore world was being used
of those commodities.
could share information
were putting their image rights
where they plied their trade.
and elect politicians
of Vladimir Putin in Russia
David Cameron, who is linked
were secret offshore entities,
to the sitting Icelandic prime minister.
we invited to join the project,
over the windows of his home
during the long Icelandic winter.
to explain his many absences,
the leader of his country.
and you make an amazing discovery,
to a secret offshore company,
interest in Icelandic banks --
is to scream out very loud.
that he could speak to,
a kind of gallows humor.
wanted to scream,
those screams into stories
to court records,
to those that we intended to name.
the reporters to look at the world
from everybody else.
happened in Brazil.
the world of professional soccer.
actually had unique insights
and the ego dramas
what we were trying to do.
in 76 countries.
one of the biggest stories of the year.
the day after we published.
had to resign.
such as Lionel Messi,
soccer player in the world.
of a Mexican drug cartel were arrested
about their hideout.
in what we've been able to do.
that has broken the business model
of transparency and impact.
can effect change across the world
and old-fashioned journalism techniques
around what was given to us by John Doe.
media organizations allow these days,
from just about anywhere,
battleground to defend your work.
of a story in 76 different countries.
I got a three-word text from Johannes:
has a new era for journalism.
that applause to the 350 journalists
I would like to ask.
in secrecy for over a year
from all over the world --
releasing some information
of crises along the way,
was happening in the world,
wanted to publish right away.
was a week before publication.
to the associates of Vladimir Putin,
a press conference and denounced us,
as being, I guess, a plot from the West.
it was just about him.
around the world
was going to get out.
of time they'd spent,
money spent on this.
the last week calming everyone down,
where you're holding your troops back:
of course, they all did.
as an open database
via keyword, essentially.
about the offshore world
the underlying documents
such as the name of a person,
and the name of that company,
of its kind basically is out there now
About the speaker:Gerard Ryle - Investigative journalist
As director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Gerard Ryle is one of the key figures behind the Panama Papers.
Why you should listen
Gerard Ryle is the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, DC.
When journalists at the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Germany got hold of the documents from a whistleblower, their volume and complexity pushed them to turn to the ICIJ, which brought together 376 investigative journalists from more than 100 news organizations in 76 countries.
The reporters spent months collaborating in researching and checking the documents, using protected communication channels, bespoke search engines and other specialized tools built by ICIJ, and ICIJ coordinated the release of the information across the world. It was the biggest cross-border collaboration in journalism history. The Panama Papers resulted in resignations or political outcries in Britain, Iceland, Spain, Malta and Pakistan and triggered dozens of official inquires around the world.
Before joining as the ICIJ's first non-American director in September 2011, Ryle spent more than 25 years working as an investigative reporter, author and editor in Australia and in Ireland. He has more than 60 journalism awards from six countries, including honors from the George Polk Awards, Harvard University and the University of Liege. Reporters Without Borders has described his work with ICIJ as "the future of investigative journalism worldwide."
(Photo: Le Monde / Melissa Golden)
Gerard Ryle | Speaker | TED.com