The Help Me Investigate blog

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Due to Posterous shutting down at the end of April, the Help Me Investigate blog has been moved to the main Help Me Investigate site, at Please update your RSS feeds, bookmarks, etc.



Turning documents into data: DocHive

For a while now the Raleigh Public Record have been working on a promising tool for converting documents to data. Now they have announced that a beta version is due out in time for the NICAR conference at the end of February.
What’s partic…

How-to: Mapping planning applications

Sid Ryan wanted to see if planning applications near planning committee members were more or less likely to be accepted. Here’s the first part of how he did it (a second part – on researching people – here):
While researching Hammersm…

HMI in 2012 – and 2013

Time for an update on what’s happening across the Help Me Investigate network – and if you want to join in.

Help Me Investigate Health has been very active. Alex Plough has been looking at CCGs: the new bodies wh…

What to do when an FOI response is not provided in the form asked for

Heard the one about the FOI request for data to be provided in an Excel spreadsheet? The authority printed it out, scanned it, and sent a PDF version of the scan.

You’ll forgive the journalist for being suspicious when an autho…

The best way to set up a spreadsheet for inputting FOI responses

On Help Me Investigate the Olympics we’ve been sending FOI requests to all of the local authorities which hosted the Olympic torch relay. 

That’s the easy part. The difficult bit is compiling the results into something meaningful. T…

Secret City, a documentary investigation into the City of London,the Corporation that runs it and its role in the financial crisis.

Imagine a city consisting of fewer than 10 thousand residents. Imagine that city’s government elected by businesses, and the bigger the business, the more votes it has. This city has funds amounting to billions of pounds, accumula…

How to start investigating Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

This week, Help Me Investigate embarks on a significant project to investigate the new bodies which will control £60m of public health spending in England: Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). 
As part of that project, we’re pu…

Get involved in a new HMI project: investigating CCGs

This year a collection of new groups will be given responsibility for £60m of public health spending in England. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
It’s a journalism basic to ‘follow the money’, but with over 200 of these groups…

Olympic torch relay investigation now available in Kindle store

Our ebook 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way has now been published in the Kindle store. All proceeds go to the Brittle Bone Society. Tell your friends – or gift it!