Biography

Juliana Ruhfus is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker and interactive producer.  She currently works as the the senior reporter for Al Jazeera English’s “People & Power” strand.

Juliana being filmed by cameraman.

Juliana joined Al Jazeera English in early 2006 and was part of the team that launched and defined the new channel and the People & Power strand in particular.  In November that year her film about Liberian ex-combatants was chosen to introduce the channel’s programming content the day the channel went on air. Nearly 40 films later she has gone undercover in Turkmenistan and in Cambodian orphanages, produced the five part “Corporations on Trial” series, and her two-part investigation into the trafficking of Nigerian women for the Italian sex-trade is one of the most-watched People & Power episodes ever.  In 2013 Juliana was named as one of the top 100 journalists covering armed violence by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

In 2010 Juliana’s strong interest in making films that don’t just explore facts, but which also portray people’s subjective experiences of their environment earned her the prestigious Ochberg Fellowship.  A year later she received a scholarship for Havard’s Global Trauma Program.  Juliana passionately believes that supporting trauma-aware reporting results in better understanding and coverage of the news and in 2011 she joined the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma as a director on the European Board.

Juliana with soldiers.

Photo by Dom Rotheroe.

More recently Juliana has started pushing the boundaries of conventional current affairs by producing interactive and digital work resulting in the multi-award winning “Pirate Fishing – Interactive Investigation” based on her RTS nominated documentary.  She hopes that experimenting with new storytelling formats will help make investigative journalism accessible to new and younger audiences and is currently in production of “#Hacked – Syria’s Electronic Armies” that invites the user to investigate Syria’s cyber war by presenting journalism in a games format.

Prior to joining Al Jazeera Juliana worked as a reporter on Channel 4’s ground-breaking current affairs series Unreported World. Her speciality has always been how to get into difficult and closed places and her work for Channel 4, BBC, WDR, NHK and other international broadcasters earning her and the team nominations for the One World Media, Amnesty International and Rory Peck awards.  She is regularly invited as as a speaker including presentations and panels at the Centre for Investigative Journalism (London), the Global Investigative Journalism Conference and the One World Media Trust.  More recently she has also presented her interactive work at digital media conferences and to game design students at university level.

Outside television Juliana has twice worked for the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee as an arms embargo monitor on Somalia.   She has also been employed as an investigator for several NGO’s.

Juliana grew up in Germany and has lived in Tanzania, Kenya and the United Kingdom.  Sadly she is no longer fluent in Swahili but she gets by if need be.  Luckily her Spanish and French are more up to scratch.

Read Matthew Jenkins’ interview with Juliana, “We Need to Keep Politicians in Check: Why I Became an Investigative Reporter”, in the Guardian.