AI, Cybersecurity, and Collaboration: Insights from the Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2023

Bojan Stojkovski
3 min readDec 19, 2023

Near the end of this summer, the Swedish city of Gothenburg was the host for investigative journalists from around the world at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2023, where each had a story to tell, while also learning a new skill for what is about to follow.

Among the myriad of sessions that captivated my attention, Russian journalist Elena Kostyuchenko’s account of being poisoned while reporting on sensitive topics in her homeland served as a chilling reminder of the risks and challenges faced by investigative journalists in hostile environments.

Kostyuchenko’s own experience opened our eyes to the dangers inherent in the pursuit of truth, particularly in regions where governments actively suppress dissent. However, it also served to boost determination among attendees to equip themselves with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate such perilous waters.

One crucial session delved into the intricacies of investigating in Russia, drawing from Kostyuchenko’s firsthand experiences. Journalists were provided with valuable insights into the resources available for investigative reporting in restrictive environments, emphasizing the importance of building a network of reliable contacts, leveraging encrypted communication tools, and employing secure data storage methods.

GIJC23 session

The conference also shed light on the evolving landscape of investigative journalism, with a focus on cutting-edge technologies, such as AI. Emerging as a powerful tool, showcased in sessions dedicated to its applications in investigations, AI can be of great help for journalists when it comes to data analysis, pattern recognition, and even predictive modeling, enhancing the efficiency and depth of investigative work.

Digital threats and cyber investigations took center stage, highlighting the importance of cybersecurity for journalists. Sessions explored the vulnerabilities present in online communications and strategies to safeguard against hacking attempts. Journalists left with a heightened awareness of the need for encryption, secure passwords, and digital hygiene in an era where information is both a valuable asset and a potential liability.

Social media investigations and case studies on platforms like X (Twitter), Telegram, and Whatsapp were also one of the hot topics during the conference, and these sessions provided valuable insights into uncovering hidden truths. Attendees learned how to navigate the complex web of social media, distinguish between genuine and manipulated content, and leverage these platforms as valuable sources of information.

A particularly intriguing session explored the collaboration between journalists and ethical hackers in investigative reporting. This unconventional partnership revealed the symbiotic relationship between those seeking the truth and those skilled in exposing digital vulnerabilities.

The future of data journalism took center stage as the conference explored emerging analytical tools, data visualization techniques, and the role of AI in shaping the industry. Journalists were encouraged to embrace innovation, adapting their storytelling methods to engage with increasingly data-savvy audiences.

Almost all of the sessions from the Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2023 were there to showcase a clear path ahead for investigative journalism, and one that is continuously evolving, demanding adaptability and resilience.



Bojan Stojkovski

Freelance journalist based in Skopje, Macedonia. Contributor for @ZDNet and @ForeignPolicy