ILAGAN, Karol Anne M.

ILAGAN, Karol Anne M.

Karol Anne Ilagan is a Filipino journalist and a journalism educator. She co-manages the Editorial Desk of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a Manila-based investigative nonprofit. She is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Santo Tomas, where she teaches investigative reporting, data journalism and international reporting.

Karol is also a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. In 2021, she was among the first cohort of reporting fellows of the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network.

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Academic Qualifications

Research Highlights

Research Interests

Academic Qualifications

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Journalism, University of Missouri – Columbia, United States, 2016
  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 2004 

Research Highlights

  • Co-author, Journalism, public health, and COVID-19: some preliminary insights from the Philippines, Media International Australia, 2020.
  • Co-author, Data Journalism in the Philippines: New Trends, New Practices for Old Media Organizations, Data Journalism in the Global South, edited by Bruce Mutsvairo, Saba Bebawi, and Eddy Borges-Rey, 2019. Part of the Palgrave Studies in Journalism and the Global South book series.
  • Co-author, Mirroring Duterte, 2019. This case study focuses on the role of the local media in creating an environment favorable for forwarding the political propaganda against illegal drugs in Davao City. Published by the University of the Philippines Third World Studies Center.
  • Author, Public Contracting in the Philippines: Breakthroughs and Barriers, 2018. Open contracting is not the norm in the Philippines despite a long history of transparency initiatives and reforms launched and implemented to improve the integrity of procurement. Published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Open Contracting Partnership.
  • Country Peer Reviewer, Right to Education Index, 2018. The Right to Education Index is a global accountability initiative designed to ensure that all people, no matter where they live, can enjoy their right to a quality education. Published by RESULTS.
  • Author, Independent media in Asian democracies wrestle with internet rules, 2016. Independent news organizations in Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea are experiencing both direct and indirect challenges in cyberspace, from content blocking to censorship and self-censorship. Published by the Investigative Reporting Workshop and the Global Investigative Journalism Network.
  • Country Researcher, Open Budget Survey: The Philippine Report, 2010-2015. The Open Budget Survey is a survey of the availability of key budget documents in the Philippines. Karol was the country researcher from 2010 to 2015. Published by the International Budget Partnership and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
  • Lead Researcher, MoneyPolitics.PCIJ.org, 2012-2014. A data journalism project of PCIJ, MoneyPolitics is a citizen’s resource, research and analysis tool on elections, public funds, and governance in the Philippines. Published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
  • Country Researcher, Asian Media Barometer: The Philippine Study, 2011. This is the first Philippine report of the Asian Media Barometer, a locally based analysis of the media landscape in the country. Published by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

Research Interests

  • Journalism
  • Journalism Studies

Courses Handled

Major Recognitions

Professional Activities

Courses Handled

Undergraduate Level

  • Investigative Reporting
  • Data Journalism

Graduate Level

  • International Reporting

Major Recognitions

  • Winner, Large Division, Energy/Natural Resources, Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW)’s 27th annual Best in Business Awards, March 2022. The collaboration of NBC News Investigations, The New York Times, PCIJ and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting on Rainforest Destruction: The Supply Chains To U.S. Consumers won the award.
  • 1st Place, Best Investigative Report, Excellence in Election Reporting Awards 2019. The Indonesian Association for Media Development (PPMN) awarded PCIJ’s story titled “A billion-peso blunder: 6 in 10 machines to verify voters conked out, not used at all” as best investigative report. 
  • 2nd Place, Best Investigative Reporting, Missouri Press Association Awards 2016. Karol’s report on technology discrepancies in locating calls made to 911 won second place in the Investigative Reporting category.
  • Member, Kappa Tau Alpha, national honor society in journalism and mass communication in the U.S., 2016.
  • Recipient, Fulbright scholarship, Philippine-American Educational Foundation and U.S. State Department, 2014-2016.
  • Recipient, White House Correspondents’ Association scholarship, 2016.

Professional Activities

  • Member, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 2021-present

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • How the rise of electric cars endangers the ‘last frontier’ of the Philippines
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and NBC News (2021)
    A mine that supplies nickel for the batteries that power electric vehicles are on the verge of a major expansion into the pristine rainforest.
  • For banks that backed PH coal boom, the path to renewable energy comes with roadblocks
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2021)
  • Banks in Asia and the Philippines are moving at a snail’s pace in defunding coal. At least 10 Philippine banks gave $841 million in loans and participated in $1.3 billion worth of underwriting activities involving at least five coal companies since the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
  • PH money remitters flagged in millions of dollars in ‘suspicious’ transactions
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (2020)
    In a collaboration with more than 400 journalists in 88 countries, PCIJ examines the Filipino subjects in the FinCEN Files and why the Philippines continues to attract financial crime.
  • A billion-peso blunder: 6 in 10 machines to verify voters conked out, not used at all
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2019)
  • Two in three of the 27,747 voter verification machines that the Commission on Elections had leased for pilot-testing in as many precincts did not work at all. The contract price or taxpayers’ money potentially wasted on this deal: P987,146,922 or some 18 percent of the poll body’s total expenditure for the May 2019 elections.
  • Ferdinand Marcos’s daughter tied to offshore trust in the Caribbean (with Roel Landingin)
    International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2013)
  • Financial records show that Imee Marcos, the eldest child of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a provincial governor is the beneficiary of a secretive offshore trust. Philippine law requires government officials to disclose their assets no matter where they’re held, and Imee Marcos’s disclosure statements do not list this offshore entity. This story is part of a global investigative reporting project led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
  • Can President Arroyo explain her wealth? Gov’t spends P45M on road to lot Arroyo sold for P42M
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2009)
  • The report reviews the sale of a three-hectare rice land that the Arroyos acquired for P100,000 (about $2,000) in 1996 in Bulacan province in the Philippines. The couple later sold it for P42 million (about $900,000) to a businessman who said he wanted to dig for pozzolan there. The sale was made at a time when land prices have gone down in the province. A review of public works data, meanwhile, shows that five road projects worth P45 million (about $970,000) were implemented in the area, including the improvement of the road leading to the ex-Arroyo property.
  • Chronic illnesses on the rise in Marcopper towns
    Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2008)
    Twelve years after a major mining catastrophe, toxic mine wastes still choke key waterways in Marinduque, an island province in the Philippines. The threat of more mine tailings pouring into Boac and Mogpog rivers and Calancan Bay also remains, as abandoned mine structures are in need of repairs. Despite these, there is renewed talk of opening up the province to mining again, upsetting many locals and concerned organizations. 
  • Karol’s reporting portfolio can be seen on the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism website and blog or on her LinkedIn profile. Her reports for the Rainforest Investigations Network can be seen here.

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