I’m putting Help Me Investigate, my collaborative investigation project, on ice.
This year has seen the launch of a number of impressive crowdfunded and crowdsourced projects on platforms including Beacon and Contributoria – plus OpenCorporates Missions and the enormously impressive Bellingcat. Their rise, for me, confirms that there is no longer a need for the original mission that Help Me Investigate took on way back in 2009. Now I think it’s time to rip it up and start again.
In 2009 I wanted to ask a simple question: was it possible to do collaborative investigative journalism in a way that wasn’t a one-off?
I was lucky to build a great team including Nick Booth, Stef Lewandowski and Heather Brooke, and attract contributors like James Ball and Laura Oliver, who proved ‘Yes’, you could, within the first year.
Then we tried to share that learning in detail so others could build on it.
Amazingly, they did. The site has inspired to or contributed to similar initiatives in France, Russia, and elsewhere. Contributors and site editors have taken their skills into organisations including The Guardian, Reuters, and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This week two of them won awards. one won best new journalist of the year.
I don’t know what next. I know I’d like to do more with involving young people in holding power to account. I may not jettison the name entirely. And there’s the small matter of a general election next year, around which I already have some ideas.
If you would like to be involved in whatever project comes next, or just want to be alerted to it, please add your details here.
Meanwhile, if you are investigating something and need support, I am still happy to help where I can.