September 23, 2009

Money makes the world go 'round

Story ideas pop up in the strangest places.

Transparency International looked at 180 countries and came out with its latest report on corruption in the world.

Go to my blog to see a few choice comments and to get all the links to look over the 500 page document.

So how does this fit in with students and student journalists in the United States?

To begin with, the U.S. is no angel. We came in below Canada (#9) at #18. And seven other countries are less likely top pay bribes than the U.S.

But reporters could look at the cost of corruption and corrupt practices. The could look at:
  • What rules and regulations are in place to prevent corruption in the bidding process to do business with the university.
  • What local laws are on the books to prevent corruption in city, county and state purchases.
  • Have there been any cases of corruption or questionable dealings in university or local government contracting.
A lot of this will require use of the freedom of information act. Good exercise for the students.

BTW, Chile (#23) was praised for enacting whistle-blower and freedom of information laws. The TI said these laws are a big help in fighting corruption.

How successful has the use of whistle blower or FOI laws been in finding corrupt practices?

Good hunting!

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