This Weekend We’re Taking the Ghost Boat Search to New York

Bobbie Johnson
Nov 3, 2015 · 3 min read

So far we’ve seen some amazing participation, as we’ve detailed over the past few weeks. But we’re really feeling the need to advance this investigation to a new level: That’s why, this Saturday, we’re teaming up with a group of students at Columbia University and CUNY in New York for a one-day Ghost Boat workshop. Rachel Glickhouse has been putting together an exciting program: Our own Bobbie Johnson will be there, along with investigation and verification experts Claire Wardle, Pete Brown (emhub), Eliza Mackintosh (Storyful), Giannina Segnini (Columbia) and others.

We’re going to do some deep diving into a handful of topics — including dredging up what we can find on the social web. So we’re asking you to help us make that process as successful as possible.

Here’s a spreadsheet of common words we might use in our searches for messages, information or social profiles. We’re asking anyone who can do even a little translation — particularly experienced Arabic or Tigrinya speakers — to take a moment or two to add dictionary, slang and informal words for things like “boat,” or “smuggler,” or even expressions of astonishment.

If you have your own suggestions of keywords to use, add them at the bottom. If you have a translation that is different from what you already see, don’t overwrite somebody else’s entry, just put them in at the end of the relevant row. Having a great lexicon will really help us when we kick off the event this Saturday.

Meanwhile, if you have any other thoughts about the NYC workshop, please respond to this or email us:

White Rabbit mentions some names of interest that came up during a search through the Italian legal documents: Mahmud Seid Mahamud Kar and Yemane Andemarian, who were both named in reports on the Tokhla case. “Maybe an Italian speaker could find more about it in Corte di Cassazione documents?”

Another great piece from the Wall Street Journal, this time mainly from Morocco, with Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw on how “the Mediterranean shore of Africa is becoming a vast waiting room” for people trying to migrate to Europe.

And finally, some much-needed moral support for everyone who’s pushing ahead here. First, praise for Cyril Chen (see yesterday’s update) from Ross Whiteford, who says “kudos” for finding out information on the defense lawyers; and then a lovely note from Eugene Costello, who says “This is incredible work of the kind we used to expect our newspapers to do.”

Meanwhile, a few friends of Matter—two amazing journalists—couldn’t help themselves from sharing.


Sent to our 1,299 followers.

Ghost Boat

An open investigation into the disappearance of 243 men, women and children.

Bobbie Johnson

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Causing trouble since 1978. Former lives at Medium, Matter, the Guardian.

Ghost Boat

An open investigation into the disappearance of 243 men, women and children.