CNN explains the Panama Papers


The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaked several documents Sunday citing illegal activity of an offshore Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca. The papers are being referred to as the “Panama Papers” and allegedly exposes a tax haven used by some of the world’s wealthiest and most well-known individuals

Several current and former public officials have come under fire following the leak after the papers exposed their ties to the firm. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the prime minister of Iceland are two political leaders involved in the scandal.

The firm itself quickly responded to the papers shortly after their release, noting that the information is “inaccurate.”

While the investigation is still ongoing, CNN News Desk editor Jethro Mullen published “The Panama Papers: 7 things to know” to the site on Monday.

Over the years, I’ve seen several crash-course articles similar to Mullen’s on the CNN website and, at first, these types of articles struck me as unprofessional. The titles sound similar to articles posted on blogs or news and entertainment sites like Buzzfeed. Over time, however, I learned to appreciate this type of reporting.

Whenever I’m struggling to understand the details of a complex news story, I tend to look for articles similar to Mullen’s to break down the information piece by piece.

The average American does not have an extensive background in every subject that makes news. Breaking down the background of a story and its general information is a great way to help people understand a variety of important topics.

Though these stories may defy the standard inverted pyramid formula of news writing, I find them to be the most effective way to convey multifaceted stories to the general public. In retrospect, I probably would not have been able to right the first portion of this article without Mullen’s reporting.