UPDATED: Leaked survey revealed shocking levels of sexual abuse in the army

Kris Jepson

Kris Jepson, investigative reporter for Al Jazeera

By Caroline Grandjean

Kris Jepson, investigative producer of Al Jazeera told young journalists exclusivity is the path to success.

Speaking at Leeds Trinity Journalism Week today, he described some of the controversial stories he broke as a producer, including the revelation in 2012 that every female officer asked in an army survey claimed they had received “unwanted sexual attention”.

He said: “I got the story from a leaked Ministry of Defence document. In separate stories some soldiers were accused of raping and sexually abusing female officers, and we managed to get some of the women to talk to us on camera.”

Kris said he and his online team were given exclusive access to secret files on the Afghan and Iraqi wars – two weeks before it was disclosed by Wikileaks.

“We knew those leaks were about to make the headlines, that was exciting,” he said.

One of his outstanding stories was a documentary he made last year, Inside Kenya’s death Squads, which uncovered the murders of Muslim radicals in the country. It was hugely controversial and his team were threatened with prosecution over the story.

He said: “I think it was a successful trip. There is a real buzz to finding and investigating your own stories. That is what sets you aside from anyone else.”

He also outlined the roles of charm and persuasion to gain people’s trust.

Kris explained that working as an investigative journalist was an adrenalin-filled occupation.

He also said reporters had to watch their own backs – describing how his team were followed while investigating in Mombasa.

Kris also told journalism students that accuracy was a big deal, insisting on the necessity to be cautious: “To be a good journalist, you’ve got to be cynical, don’t trust anybody and double check. Be persistent, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”

 

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