Sputnik for Sale is about a Dubai sheikh, a Norwegian businessman previously charged with money laundering, and Steven Seagal, together they have a plan to sell overpriced Russian made vaccines to countries with otherwise little access to vaccines elsewhere. The story by VG, a Norwegian newspaper, is one that highlights the issue of Covid vaccine accessibility in countries like Ghana, as a result of excessive hoarding of vaccines by western countries. Together, VG tells us the story of how eventually 3.4 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine eventually ended up being re-sold to Ghana at a premium. By identifying similar trades elsewhere, the authors showcase how this sale had a potential profit of $250 million. This cross-border investigation is a fascinating read that takes you across four continents and interviews some of the main protagonists and even vice presidents.
What I wish to highlight with this story is its presentation; the visual and audio elements that accompany the text. It helps to simplify a complex storyline but also draws the reader in. Along with illustrations that draw you from one section to another, images, videos, and recordings, visualize exactly what the authors are talking about. Credit to the designer of the investigation, Jonas Nilsson. Furthermore, an additional element I enjoyed was the inclusion of the secret voice recording the journalists had acquired incriminating one of the protagonists. In many investigations, the recordings are left out and we are left to make up our own mind if the recording exists. It is a simple, but a convincing element of transparency in storytelling that should be included more often where possible.
Read the story here: