Investigative journalism Teaching Awards

I’m Luiz Fernando Toledo,

data and investigative journalist.

I’m an experienced reporter with a proven record of producing and managing impactful projects related to Brazil, my home country.

Read my resume

Reporting Impact

Stories I wrote exposed a former president's misuse of funds, unveiled a bid fraud, saving a city's public funds and facilitated the shutdown of companies involved in illegal activities.

Training

Attended a fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and created a popular journalism course that was used by several news organizations.

Enterpreneurship

Raised US$ 200,000 to create data journalism projects, including DataFixers.org and Fiquem Sabendo, both used as source by The Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, OCCRP, ICIJ and others.

Research

Masters degrees in Data Journalism (Columbia) and Public Administration (FGV-EAESP). My research was used by the government to improve transparency policies.

Civil Tech

I have developed interactive dashboards and chatbots to support journalists during my fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


Investigative reporting

Revista Piauí

Political Backing Fuels Land Grabbing in Brazil's Distrito Federal

In the Distrito Federal, Brazil, a significant issue of land grabbing in conservation areas is emerging, intensified by political support. These activities are particularly rampant in the Colônia Agrícola 26 de Setembro, a settlement approximately 26 km from the Palácio do Planalto, housing around 35,000 residents. This area, characterized by its lack of urban infrastructure and public services, was largely built on public lands designated for conservation.

Portuguese version
Revista Piauí

Land Grabbing, Gold Mining, and Cocaine Trade in the Amazon

This investigation, written in Portuguese, uncovers a scheme in the Amazon region called "agropó" that combines land grabbing, illegal mining, and international cocaine trafficking. The investigation reveals that wealthy landowners, such as Janio Oliveira, have been involved in this lucrative criminal network.

Portuguese version
InfoAmazonia Pulitzer Center

Amazon Underworld

A 1-year cross-border series of articles that mapped the presence of organized crime groups in the Amazon region and reported on the field about the impacts of their actions. I coordinated the data analysis and obtained the documents needed for the stories.

English version Portuguese version
Revista Piauí OCCRP

A world heritage site under attack in Brazil

Brazilwood is being driven to extinction by an industry not often associated with organized crime: classical music. Tests on a sample of the confiscated wood show it was logged in a protected forest.

English version Portuguese version
Revista Piauí Brazilian Report

How Brazil's environmental agency lost R$ 1 billion

An investigation about how environmental fines "disappeared" from Brazil's environmental agency office, Ibama, helping several environmental offenders save money and continue deforestation in the Amazon.

Portuguese version English version
Revista Piauí OCCRP

Brazilian Bow Makers Investigated For Dealing in Endangered Wood

A 2-month cross-border investigation in the US, UK, and Brazil about a group of bowmakers suspicious of trafficking an endangered Brazilian wood to make violin and cello bows. I have coordinated this project.

English version Portuguese version
BBC Columbia (Master's Thesis)

Brazil might lose R$ 300 million in environmental fines by 2022 (BBC)

Internal documents show that Brazil is not only not punishing deforestation but, according to the interviewees, companies feel that fines are not a deterrent to criminal behavior as they often expire without enforcement.

Read in Portuguese
Revista Piauí OCCRP

How Endangered Brazilian Timber Ends Up in the Bronx

A long journalistic investigation reveals how gang members in Brazil have managed to illegally extract and export yellow ipe wood to the USA in a highly profitable fraud scheme.

English version Portuguese version
Revista Piauí OCCRP

Brazilian politicians and authorities have hid secret funds in Luxembourg

Coordinated by OCCRP, Le Monde, and 15 other media partners around the world, this project has revealed how secret companies have been used for crime and corruption. The data was obtained by scraping Luxembourg's business register website.

English version Portuguese version
The Intercept Brasil OCCRP

How China Tobacco's worldwide expansion is keeping Brazilian tobacco growers in debt (OCCRP, The Intercept)

A cross-border investigation on the world's largest tobacco company and how it is flooding countries with cigarettes and working with smuggling networks. We found, in Brazil, that farmers are living in debt and even commiting suicide.

English version
Revista Piauí OCCRP

How Illegal Land Grabs in Brazil’s Amazon Feed the Global Beef Industry

Land grabs and deforestation have devastated Brazil’s northern Pará state. But slaughterhouses, including some owned by top meat processors JBS and Marfrig, still buy from suppliers who source from ranches on stolen land. This story was made in partnership with Fiquem Sabendo, the non-profit data agency that I co-founded.

English version Portuguese version

Read more stories:

CNN (Brasil)

TV Globo

Estadão (newspaper)

Data journalism skills

Design and data visualization

Adobe Illustrator, Plotnine (ggplot for Python), Datawrapper, Flourish, d3/JavaScript.

Design and data visualization

Python, Excel, Google Spreadsheet, PostgreSQL, Google Big Query

Other skills

Webscraping (BeautifulSoup, Selenium). Check more at Github.

Teaching and workshops

Every year and ongoing projects

  • Curso Estado de Jornalismo (Focas Estadão): Public records and investigative journalism workshop
  • Trainee (Folha de São Paulo): Public records and investigative journalism workshop
  • Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji) conferences
  • Insper university: Masters in Data Journalism - Introduction to Spreadsheets and data reporting (3-months class)
  • + than 100 workshops held at private and public universities and news organizations.
  • Interviews

    GIJC

    My presentation about investigating with public records at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJC), in Gothenburg/Sweden. Held in English.

    SBT News

    I was interviewed by SBT news after presenting a panel about transparency at the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism conference, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    TV Globo/G1 (Podcast)

    I was interviewed by TV Globo host Natuza Nery in one of Brazil's most popular podcasts, O Assunto, to explain how I obtained former presidents corporate expenses, including Bolsonaro, and how to read the data. Held in Portuguese.

    FIL Lisbon (Conference)

    I was invited by the Filecoin Foundation and Muckrock to present my data journalism project, DataFixers.org, in a conference in Portugal. (Held in English)

    CNN Brasil

    I was interviewed by CNN TV host Monalise Perrone to explain how I did an investigative project about illegal air charter services in Sao Paulo. Held in Portuguese.

    TV Cultura

    I was interviewed by Jornal da Cultura, a traditional TV show in Brazil, to explain how Brazil can improve transparency policies in 2023. Held in Portuguese.

    Awards and honorable mentions

  • Prêmio Claudio Weber Abramo - Categoria Dados Abertos (2023)

  • Prêmio Claudio Weber Abramo - Categoria Investigação (2023)

  • Premio Roche (shortlist)

  • Prêmio Transparência e Fiscalização Pública 2022/Câmara dos Deputados (with Fiquem Sabendo)

  • Premio Claudio Weber Abramo 2022 (shortlist) - Má alimentação à Brasileira (Revista Piauí and Fiquem Sabendo)

  • Sigma Awards 2022(shortlist) - Open Lux

  • Sigma Awards 2022 (shortlist) - Personal portfolio

  • Sigma Awards 2022 (shortlist) - Revealing the Brazilian military pensions

  • IREE 2021 (Honorable mention)

  • Sigma Awards 2021 (shortlist) - Shedding light on government pensions

  • Sigma Awards 2021 (shortlist) - Chloroquine and the Brazilian Army

  • Jornalismo Mosca 2021 - Solteiragate

  • Premio Claudio Weber Abramo 2021 (shortlist) - Solteiragate

  • Sigma Awards 2019 (shortlist) - Personal portfolio

  • Premio Claudio Weber Abramo 2019 - Newsletter Don't 'LAI' to Me

  • Premio Estado de Jornalismo 2018 (Categoria Reportagem, 2nd place) - A rede bolsonarista de desinformação

  • Premio ANPR 2018 (Honorable mention) - Fraude em cotas raciais

  • Premio Estado de Jornalismo 2018 (Categoria Serviço) - Estadão Verifica

  • Premio Estado de Jornalismo 2017 (Categoria Reportagem, 2nd place) - Fraude em transparência em SP

  • Premio Estado de Jornalismo 2017 (Categoria Reportagem, 3nd place) - Internações psiquiátricas (série)

  • Premio ANPR 2017 - Denunciando uma rede de pornografia infantil

  • Premio Alianz Ayrton Senna 2016 - O fechamento de escolas em SP

  • Premio ASI/Schaeffler (Categoria Estudante) 2011 - A história da mulher que adotou seis crianças (internship)


  • Scholarships, fellowships and grants

  • National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - Reagan-Fascell fellowship (2023-2024)

  • Fondo para investigaciones y nuevas narrativas sobre drogas - Fundación Gabo (2023)

  • Gateway Grant (2023)

  • Biodiversity Story Grant - Earth Journalism Network / Internews (2023), with Data Fixers

  • Muckrock/Gateway Grant (Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web) 2022, with Fiquem Sabendo and Data Fixers

  • Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Lab 2022, with Fiquem Sabendo

  • Magic Grant recipient 2022-2023 - Brown Institute for Media Innovation (Columbia/Stanford)

  • Person of the Year 2022 - Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce

  • Columbia Journalism School (US$ 91,500 in tuition) 2021/2022

  • Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (University of Oxford) fellowship 2021

  • ICFJ Latin America grantee 2021 - FOIA explainer

  • ICFJ Latin America Grantee 2020 - FOIA - Brazil and US project

  • Instituto Ling's Visionary Journalist US$ 60,000 scholarship (2019) - Jornalista de Visão

  • EAESP-FGV - Full scholarship for a master of science in Public Administration (2019)

  • ICFJ Emerging Leaders Program / fellow 2018