I’m changing banks this week. How about you?
If the last decade has proven anything, it's that our financial system is broken. However, our Progress Correspondent Rutger Bregman wasn’t satisfied with pointing fingers at Wall Street. He decided to take matters into his own hands. No longer willing to support unethical investments in industries like military technology and oil drilling, Bregman decided to move his money to a sustainable bank. This article laid out his rationale and provided readers with tips on finding an ethical place to store their own savings. Nearly 6,000 people answered his call, providing a model for how journalists can help promote social change.
This week, we're taking steps each day towards better privacy. Are you in? #Privacyweek
Your privacy is under attack, but you have the power to protect yourself. That’s why Maurits Martijn and Dimitri Tokmetzis organized De Correspondent’s #privacyweek. This series of articles clued our audience in to easy-to-use software and apps to help them call, text, and browse the Internet securely. Changing apps, however, is simpler than changing a mindset. For this reason Martijn and Tokmetzis also wrote a letter, which members could show their bosses and use to raise awareness of privacy at work. These tricks demonstrated that protecting your privacy need not be difficult or expensive, thereby inspiring thousands of readers to take steps to defend themselves and their information.
What we give away when we log on to a public Wi-Fi network
Maurits Martijn and Dimitri Tokmetzis
How much do you put at risk when you check your email at the train station or work on your laptop at a cafe? To find out, we took a hacker out for coffee. Within 20 minutes, he was able to find out where the other customers were born, their passwords, and even their sexual orientations. This article, one of our most shared of all time, resonated with readers by dramatically demonstrating the real world stakes of maintaining digital privacy, and showing the ways that we make ourselves vulnerable every day.
This family has stayed in temp housing for asylum seekers for 13 years now
Joris van Casteren
In 2001, the Aliyeva family fled Azerbaijan for the Netherlands to escape the hostilities in their home country. But after 15 years of navigating a bureaucratic jungle, their application for asylum remained undecided. In a heartrending profile, Joris van Casteren shows how this forgotten family spent a decade and a half mired in red tape and uncertainty. This article did not just help readers understand the plight of refugees; it also inspired former Undersecretary of Security and Justice Fred Teeven to take up the case, leading to the Aliyevas finally receiving a residence permit.
How a law firm lobbied on behalf of patients against lower drug prices
Patient organizations advocate on behalf of those receiving medical care and inform them about prevention and screening. So far, so good. But behind the scenes, things can get ethically murky. After months of investigation, Correspondent Lucien Hordijk found that a Dutch law firm was simultaneously consulting for a patient group and helping pharmaceutical companies promote their high-priced drugs to these very same organizations. With such a flagrant conflict of interest, Hordijk asks, who was the firm really fighting for? This investigative piece provides a glimpse into a secretive, billion-dollar industry that literally means the difference between life and death. It also proves the real-world power of shoe leather reporting: The law firm in question was forced to declare bankruptcy, shortly after and in large part because of the publication.
We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump
Published the week after Donald Trump’s victory, this piece by our Flyover Country Correspondent Sarah Kendzior offers a clear-eyed assessment of the threat that the President Elect poses to American democracy. Kendzior is a longtime expert on authoritarian states, and she frankly discusses the challenges that lie ahead and how Americans can survive and fight back. At once an analytic dissection of the current political situation and a rallying cry for the nascent resistance, this article quickly became one of our most-read of all time. It even inspired neveragain.tech, a public pledge issued by thousands of tech professionals to refuse collaboration with any government efforts to build a database of people based on their race, religion, or national origin.
To the Zambian government, even children’s news is considered a threat
Every evening, an average of 280,000 Dutch children watch Jeugdjournaal, or Children’s News. Eighteen other European countries have similar news broadcasts designed for kids. But in developing countries, such programming is rare. Zambia is one of the few exceptions. There, an estimated 750,000 children watch each episode of Z-Kids. When Conflict and Development Correspondent Maite Vermeulen travelled to Zambia, she discovered a surprising political maelstrom surrounding the show. Last year, for example, the government shut down the program to prevent it from influencing the national election. At the same time, the production staff struggles to make ends meet. Reading this, De Correspondent’s members were compelled to help, raising over €2,000 to provide Z-Kids with new equipment, apparel, and other resources. One reader even provided a study grant so that a teenage mother featured on the show could continue her education.
Refugees on their struggle to look ahead while worrying about those left behind
The ‘New to the Netherlands’ initiative exemplifies De Correspondent’s ideals of connectivity, compelling storytelling, and member engagement. We asked our readers to find a refugee who applied for asylum in the previous year and to conduct monthly interviews to find out what life is like for them in their new country – issues that are often ignored by mainstream media. Nearly 2,000 members of De Correspondent’s audience applied, and over 300 succeeded in finding a refugee willing to open his or her life to them. The result is a string of group interviews, providing unique perspectives that often remain invisible to native Europeans. Correspondents Dick Wittenberg and Greta Riemersma send out monthly questionnaires to all participants, and turn the responses into news stories and profiles that we run on our site. This article is one of many resulting from the project, shining a light on the often neglected worries of newcomers.