We want to establish satellite journalism as a new discipline of journalistic work. Because what used to be the preserve of the military and intelligence services opens up completely new research opportunities for journalists. That's why we founded Vertical52 in 2023. In Berlin - on the 52nd latitude.
Where in Argentina is the soil drying up so that BMW has enough lithium for your electric car? Where in Indonesia is the jungle being burned down so that you can have Nutella on your bread? Why can you offset your flight with carbon credits from Brazil, even though trees are still being cut down there? How is the biomass of the German forest changing?
Hundreds of stories can be told and forensically proven with data from space. Vertical52 brings them back to earth. To do this, we are building a platform for searching, analyzing and visualizing satellite and radar data. For journalists, publishers, broadcasters and NGOs.
Well over 8,000 satellites orbit the earth, more than four times as many as just six years ago. While access to and analysis of satellite data was long the preserve of intelligence agencies and the military, today they offer an increasing number of civilian and commercial applications that also enrich journalistic research. This is especially true when it comes to climate sins and environmental crimes. However, since few journalists have access to high-resolution commercial satellite imagery or the knowledge to derive complex analysis from it, nor the tools to tell stories spatially, we are developing Vertical52. We see ourselves as the first news agency from space and want to establish satellite journalism as a discipline of journalistic research in its own right.
That's why Marcus and Michael founded Vertical52 in 2023.
Marcus has specialized in complex storytelling projects since 2012. With his teams, he has produced numerous award-winning stories: For example, he tracked electronic waste that was smuggled to West Africa. Or a missing painting that saved the life of a Jewish family in 1938. He builds his stories using innovative technologies such as GPS transmitters or sensors, which he used to make three dairy cows talk, for example. He has been doing research from space since 2022.
Michael is a social entrepreneur from Hamburg. He also worked as a journalist for several years and founded journalists.network, the Institute for Foreign Journalism. From 2002 to 2015, he built the microinsurance business for Allianz and introduced satellite technology in agricultural insurance. In 2018, he co-founded Earth Analytics India in Mumbai with sarmap. With Vertical, he aims to leverage his experience in remote sensing for investigative research.