First aired: 1997
Time: Airs Monday evenings on Rai 3
Personnel (staff and freelancers): 35
“In Italy we are considered the most trusted source of news but that is only because of the work that goes on behind the scenes before I tape my intros for each show,” says Sigfrido Ranucci, the host of Report, a hard-hitting weekly news magazine that airs on Italy’s public broadcaster Rai.
The programme, which runs for two hours in primetime and attracts an audience of about 1.9 million viewers, is known for its in-depth coverage of issues from illegal immigration in the Mediterranean to ailing flag-carrier Alitalia. From the beginning the programme has pioneered a new type of reportage whereby freelance video journalists went into the field on their own equipped with a camera to conduct interviews. Ranucci, who has worked on the programme for more than a decade, maintains that frugal approach today, recycling old Rai TV studio lights to illuminate his office space.
Founder and presenter Milena Gabanelli, who passed the baton to Ranucci after nearly two decades at the helm, was known for digging deep into topics to uncover corruption of public and private entities in Italy. Such investigations often drew the wrath of politicians and others, who looked to silence the show by filing libel suits for millions of euros. Ranucci faces the same threat but shrugs it off as a mere nuisance given the show’s stellar track record.
“We’ve never lost a defamation case,” says Ranucci. “That’s a credit to our meticulous reporting. The moment a tip comes we are verifying information, checking sources. Everyone here knows how to read company financial statements, search international databases. Rigour in research and having the courage to report on stories that others won’t pursue: that’s what makes us the most respected news show.”
Ranucci’s tenure has seen Report produce more pieces with an international dimension, be it on the state of the EU or the global chocolate market. He has established ties with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and pursued a Panama Papers-style report on tax havens used by Italians. “From the get-go this show has been about teamwork,” says Ranucci. “I see myself simply as the co-ordinator, making sure everything falls into place.”
Italian journalist Ranucci, 56, joined the programme in 2006. The recipient of numerous prizes for his reporting (he is currently the most decorated employee at public broadcaster Rai, in fact), his awards include Italy’s Premiolino, given to honour those whose careers have helped to promote press freedom.
Never afraid to tackle sensitive subjects, Ranucci’s impressive body of investigative work includes pieces on illegal toxic-waste dumping in Somalia, the fight against the mafia and the use of depleted uranium by Nato forces in the Balkans – and white phosphorus munitions by American troops in Iraq. In 2016, Rai assigned Ranucci to head up the Report investigative team.