Help Me Investigate is a website that aims to help those who want to investigate questions in the public interest. The site was launched in July 2009 with funding from Channel 4’s 4iP fund and Screen West Midlands.
Investigations undertaken by users of the site include the uncovering of a £2.2 million overspend on Birmingham City Council’s website; false claims by publishers of a free newspaper; the worst places for parking fines; the real average cost of weddings; legal issues surrounding recording council meetings; police claims of sabotage against Climate Camp protesters; how much higher education costs the taxpayer; who is responsible for an advertising screen; does scrapping speed cameras save money? And varying availability of hormonal contraceptive on the NHS.
The site was conceived by Paul Bradshaw, developed with Nick Boothand built by Stef Lewandowski. Journalists involved in the site have included Heather Brooke, James Ball and Colin Meek.
In 2010 the site was shortlisted and highly commended for Multimedia Publisher of the Year in the NUJ’s Regional Media Awards, and won ‘Best Investigation’ in the Talk About Local/Guardian Local awards.
In February 2011 the code for the original site was released under an open source licence, while HelpMeInvestigate.com was redirected to the site blog, which provides regular tips on issues .
A new website is currently being built by Philip John. Meanwhile, Paul Bradshaw is building a network of community editors who will focus on specific issues such as health, education, and local government. If you want to get involved, email him on email@example.com