Our journalists

Joseph Gathecha

The silent disappearance of Nairobi’s green lungs

Decades ago at its most vast, the Ngong forest outside Nairobi stretched across 29,000 hectares, or about 112 square miles. Rapid development has cut it down to a fraction of that size, and poverty and corruption threaten the remaining 1,200 hectares. The forest literally helps Nairobians breathe, filtering copious carbon emissions, and it serves as a refuge for wildlife and harried city dwellers alike. Joseph Gathecha aims to make a documentary series on the forest’s plight and efforts to save it.

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Hicham Mansouri

A lucrative, illicit trade thrives in Morocco’s prisons MF

Corruption is stubborn and widespread in Morocco. During his 10 months in a Moroccan prison, Hicham Mansouri, a respected free-press advocate, saw evidence of a thriving black market behind bars, run by inmates and guards, likely with protection from the police and judiciary. Now in exile in France, Mansouri aims to use Press Start funding to build on the research he’s already done and compile a comprehensive investigation.


raised $3,190 out of $1,900

Max Sarychau

Torture Victims in Belarus: A Country’s Open Secret MF

Inhuman conditions, coercion, and violence are rife in Belarus’ police and prison systems. Victims face retribution if they file a complaint, which is virtually guaranteed to be ignored anyway. Some prisoners – whether opponents of the regime or criminals – even die with no one held accountable. Photographer Max Sarychau, who has a biography stuffed with awards, wants to create a series of portraits of those who have endured cruel and degrading punishment in Belarus.


raised $2,150 out of $1,420

Maxim Polyakov

Vanishing lives: Moldova’s abandoned countryside

In villages across Moldova, most able-bodied adults have left for jobs in the cities or abroad, leaving only the elderly and children to preside over the villages’ deaths. Education, health care, and even human companionship are becoming scarce in the country’s rural areas. Max Polyakov and his crew of multimedia journalists want to create an interactive feature to show what it’s really like to be deserted in your hometown.


raised $1,500 out of $1,500

Elham and Hussein

The (mis)use of personal data in Lebanon: an investigation

Lebanon is increasingly a “watched” society. Security agencies have recently gained access to the telecom data of all residents and visitors, while security cameras have sprouted across Beirut. Little is known about how all this private information is used. Elham Barjas and Hussein Mehdy will investigate and make suggestions for reform.


Amindeh Blaise Atabong

Deprivation in Cameroon’s land of abundance MF

Amindeh Blaise Atabong is a freelancer in Cameroon who has covered corruption and terrorism. For this project, he will travel to the southwestern corner of his country, a region rich in resources but lacking in the basic conditions for a dignified life. Atabong fears the poverty and despair of the Ndian division could breed the type of unrest that plagues Nigeria’s Niger Delta, just across the border.


Ray Mwareya

“Gold forest” babies languish in limbo between Mozambique and Zimbabwe MF

Ray Mwareya has won international recognition for his reporting on Zimbabwe’s environment and southern Africa's marginalized people. Now he seeks to tell the story of the indigent women who give birth in the subsistence-gold-mining zone on the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe and are not allowed to register their infants as citizens of either country.


José Acho

Argentina's native peoples pushed off their ancestral lands MF

Jose Acho has covered Argentina’s poor and powerless for years. For Press Start, he aims to travel to one of the country’s most deprived regions to document the theft of land from indigenous people and the poverty and hardship it has caused.



raised $660 out of $1,520

Ruslan Harbachou

Secrets behind the construction of Belarus' first nuclear power plant MF

Veteran journalist Ruslan Harbachou has repeatedly won awards for his investigations into abuses of power in Belarus. He is now looking into reports of safety and environmental problems linked to the construction of Belarus’ only nuclear power plant, a project that has many on edge given the country’s suffering after the Chernobyl disaster.


raised $590 out of $560

Tatiana Kozak

Preventing another “frozen conflict” in Ukraine MF

Tatiana Kozak has covered Ukraine’s pivotal protest movement, the fall of a president, a secessionist war, and the seizure of Crimea, Now she plans to seek clues to the fate of war-torn eastern Ukraine in the experience of other post-Soviet countries that have endured decades of secessionist hostilities. Press Start will match all contributions made to Kozak’s campaign.


raised $1,804 out of $1,725

Chantal Flores

The science behind the search for Latin America's disappeared

Chantal Flores has walked the desert with desperate Mexican families searching for clues to the fates of their missing loved ones. Now as Colombia's civil war nears an end, she asks what lessons that country's long, grim experience with disappearances can offer the legions of bereaved in Mexico, and how forensic science is advancing the search for unmarked graves.


raised $950 out of $950

Wendy Funes

Uncovering the Facts Behind Honduran Gang Rapes

A seasoned investigator recognized by the country’s EU delegation and others for her human rights reporting, Funes aims to look into the alleged cover-up of the links between a local official and a series of gang rapes of young women.



raised $1,120 out of $1,120

Armen Melikbekyan

Listening to Those With HIV/AIDS in Armenia

Co-founder of the Independent Journalists’ Network as a vehicle to circumvent the pervasive influence of political and business figures on Armenia’s media. Melikbekyan is working on a documentary about the stigma and discrimination suffered by the rising number of HIV-positive people in his socially conservative country.


raised $450 out of $450

Douce Namwezi N’ibamba

In Congo, Millions for Water Projects, but not a Drop to Drink

Editor in Chief of Mama Voice magazine. Recognized for her writing on conflict and women’s empowerment, Namwezi N’ibamba proposes to report on why her eastern Congolese province lacks potable water even after donors have poured millions of dollars into local water projects.


raised $790 out of $780

Zaklina Hadzi-Zafirova

Putting Macedonia's Hospitals Under a Microscope

Founder of SCOOP Macedonia, an independent investigative reporting network whose work has been recognized repeatedly and has resulted in reforms championed at the highest level of government. Hadzi-Zafirova proposes to undertake an ambitious assessment of the state of Macedonia’s hospitals.


raised $560 out of $560

Habib Battah

Why are Lebanon’s Ancient Sites Disappearing?

A two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press whose work has helped save artifacts of Beirut’s Roman past. Battah proposes to investigate why efforts to preserve his country’s archeological record so often give way to development projects backed by well-connected business people or even government officials.


raised $1,730 out of $1,680