What the Podcast “Caliphate” Will Teach You About Investigative Journalism

Photo from nytimes.com

Caliphate” is the New York Times riveting 10-episode audio series highlighting foreign correspondent and resident terrorism expert Rukmini Callimachi‘s experience infiltrating all things ISIS. Her extensive narrative is bound to teach you a thing or two about good investigative journalism.

The thought of investigating the Islamic State may strike most as daunting, but not for Callimachi. This podcast will expand your wildest imagination as to what truly goes on behind closed doors with the war on terrorism.

Callimachi is accompanied by resident terrorism expert and the series producer, Andy Mills, whose voice acts as Callimachi’s sidekick throughout their Islamic State ventures. Between the two, they cover quite a bit of ground regarding the war on terrorism, literally and figuratively, ranging from the recruitment process for ISIS members to the intricate and dangerous steps of breaking away from that seemingly fulfilling lifestyle.

“Look, every reporter that covers conflict and war knows that you have you have to be there,” Callimachi tells Mills in the series’ first episode. “You have to be on the ground if you want to try to understand the story.”

Exploring the nature of terrorism, Callimachi goes beyond the extreme and pushes ordinary boundaries to unfold the secrets of the Islamic State. Through various social media platforms, she manages to find a former ISIS member, also a Canadian citizen, and develops a working relationship with him to delve deeper into the inner workings of the violent organization and reveal an unthinkable reality.

The “paper trails” Callimachi follows, the people she speaks to, the extremes that she goes to in order to verify her stories and discover the truth truly indicate her dedication to the field. Gathering thousands of secretive documents, files and artifacts from the organization put her in the presence of plenty danger, but also allowed her to draw clearer conclusions about how ISIS functions.

Her reporting comes full circle after 10 episodes further broadening the audience’s understanding of the general goals and motives of ISIS. Following and investigating war-stricken battle grounds and formerly occupied buildings is not something any ordinary journalist may be cut out for. Callimachi delivers answers that so many people want and deserve to know.

She relays her deep interest in terrorism and tendency for curiosity into a career. This series leaves listeners with a constant desire to know what comes next. Each episode ends with suspenseful sense of urgency to get more answers.

Caliphate” is a prime example of the various hardships that the press faces on a daily basis — not to mention investigative journalists who dedicate their lives to constantly searching for answers and delivering the truth for the good of the common people.

VALLEY looks up to the efforts of successful journalists and those who fight for their right to relay important information to the public — Callimachi certainly does not have it easy, nor does she try to glamorize her job, but her passion for what she does shows through in this captivating series.


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