Listen on the go: Four Days investigation, narrated by Kevin Donovan.
In April 2011, Kevin Donovan, the author of the four-part Four Days investigation, took a trip to Kenya. He was accompanied by his wife, the investigative journalist and activist Naomi Ragen, as well as a team of four reporters: Peter Davenport, the director of the Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism, and John D. McKinnon, an editor at the nonprofit ProPublica, whom Donovan met through his work as a reporter; Scott Shane, the New York Times’s foreign reporting editor; and Jennifer Jacobs, a senior reporter for ProPublica. The trip, in conjunction with an investigative reporting contest, was named the “Investigative Reporting Trip of the Year” by the Society of Professional Journalists.
This article examines how Donovan and Ragen went to Africa and how they covered the news as they traveled there during four days of reporting.
“It was the first time I was taking a journalist on a trip out of the country,” Donovan said. “I’d been reporting out of Africa on my own for a little over a year, in part because I wanted to write about it. But I didn’t think anybody could really write about Africa until you went out there on your own.”
Donovan had interviewed dozens of activists, including Kenyans and Ugandans, who were involved in the global social justice movement, and he wanted to give “context to their movements.” He wanted to write about human rights issues “because I don’t think people are interested in human right issues unless they actually face them,” Donovan said. “My hope was that I’d actually be able to write about it.”
Ragen, his wife, had a similar perspective. “If you really want to show impact” to a topic, she said, “you have to make sure you put yourself into the story.”
“I was just hoping to see the problems of corruption in Kenya.”
“I was just hoping to see corruption