RIGA - Two journalists, one story - but how to achieve impact? In the story about the Latvian Brides, cooperation of journalists from two countries led to research so important that the story was quoted in various European countries.

Aleksandra Jolkina from Latvia and Jamie Smyth from Ireland have been researching the story of sham marriages in each their end of the EU. Latvian women were lured into marriages with non-EU males, in order to get them residence permits – possible under Irish and EU legislation. Some of the women experienced appalling abuse.

Last year they decided to cooperate. With the help of a research grant from Journalismfund.eu they could cover the necessary travelling and other costs, to do the research.

"Working together enabled both of us to identify contacts in each other countries that would have been difficult or impossible to source while working on our own,” Jamie Smyth said about the cooperation, when he published the common research for an Irish target group in the Irish Times, where he is a staff writer.

The first publication was done for an Irish target group in The Irish Times in October, the second publication was done in book format for a Latvian target group recently.

Publication in Ireland (Irish Times)
Irelands sham marriage scam
Trapped in a sham marriage
Couple go to High Court with sham marriage decision
Comment: Ireland must take action to stop sham marriages

Publication in Latvia
Misis Eiropa
Misis Eiropa (e-book)
Misis Eiropa (order)

Book launch and book reviews in Latvia
Latvian News Agency LETA
Zvaigzne Publishers
Newspaper Latvijas Avize
TV5 (RU)
Gramata 24
Newspaper Diena  

Quotations of the story in other countries
Austria: ORF 
Poland: Rzeczpospolita
United Kingdom: BBC, BBC2, Journalism.co.uk
Germany: Süddeutsche Zeitung, Badische Zeitung, Eurasisches Magazin, Berliner Zeitung
Europe: EUobserver.com
Canada: CBC Radio
USA: Center for Investigative Reporting

By Brigitte Alfter

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Earth Investigations Programme

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