Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ponzis, Dying & Mercenaries

Updated here is a roundup of my latest stories. Several are part of larger projects or available for resale, and I hope they make for interesting reading.

1) Follow The Money. October 2009: Wired (UK) magazine. In an era of financial scams and Ponzi frauds, it takes cunning, smart thinking (and a little luck) to nail the bad guys. Nick Ryan meets the 'fraud busters', the team which hunts down major-league swindlers from a luxury Caribbean base and recovers millions for victims. Based on my 10-year contact with the hotshot lawyers of Martin Kenney & Co.

2) Living with Dying. August 2009: The Times Magazine (UK). What does it mean to be dying? Nick Ryan followed five people with terminal illness as they journeyed towards the end of life. A major piece for the Times, which took many months and a lot of heartache to put together.

3) Good Heart in Africa. July 2009: The Tablet (UK). Father Kieran Creagh narrowly escaped death in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and more recently in South Africa where he founded Leratong hospice. Nick Ryan meets a man who for many epitomises the essence of priesthood and its sacrifices. (This is merely the intro/taster to part of a much longer project.)

4) Lords of War. Walrus Magazine (Canada). They brave their lives in the shadowy world of mercenary riches, risking all for reward – but what are the dangers today of using so many 'soldiers of fortune' to protect corporate and diplomatic interests? Nick Ryan, who has met many private military and security contractors, looks at their motivations and at the wider industry they inhabit. (Look out for more pieces to come from this area).

5) The Fog of War. April 2009: The National (UAE). Captured fighting alongside the Taliban, a young American Muslim convert, John Walker Lindh, became the United States’ most infamous “enemy combatant” and a potent symbol of betrayal. In a rare interview, Nick Ryan talks to his family, who ask if their son really deserved a 20-year sentence. (John Lindh deserves his freedom, despite many Americans' misguided enmity.)

6) Gold Trading Exposed. March/April 2009: Eurogamer. A major four-part, 12,000 word investigation into the blackmarket world of "gold selling" in virtual video games and online worlds. Includes exclusive interviews with Chinese gold farmers and brokers; as well as revelations such as the huge size of the market ($10bn) and size of the industry (one million employed in China alone).

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

7) (reprint) Hammering the Rock. 2005: Maxim. One of the most feared gangs in American history faces the ultimate showdown with the authorities – but will it be enough to smash 'The Rock'? Report by Nick Ryan.

8) My Virtual Family. 2009: The BBC. They are the 'Twitter generation'. Couch-potato teenagers, addicted to video games and instant messenging, dangerously cut-off from the outside world. That, at least, is one depressing stereotype painted of today’s youth: we have a disgruntled, alienated generation ignored by its guardians and parents. Yet more and more of us are finding ways to stay in touch with family and loved ones via online game worlds or "MMOs.

Further articles, books, and documentaries currently in development.

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