About

Help Me Investigate the Olympics is a website to help those who want to investigate questions relating to the Olympic Games.

The site is based on Help Me Investigate.com, a site which was launched in July 2009 with funding from Channel 4′s 4iP fund and Screen West Midlands.

Investigations undertaken by users of Help Me Investigate include the uncovering of a £2.2 million overspend on Birmingham City Council’s websitefalse claims by publishers of a free newspaper; the worst places for parking fines; the real average cost of weddingslegal issues surrounding recording council meetingspolice claims of sabotage against Climate Camp protestershow much higher education costs the taxpayerwho is responsible for an advertising screendoes scrapping speed cameras save money? Varying availability of hormonal contraceptive on the NHS, and the allocation of Olympic torchbearer places.

Stories and information uncovered by the site have been used by news organisations including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Stoke Sentinel, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Bournemouth Echo, Caledonian Mercury, Der Tagesspiegel, the Health Service Journal, BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio 4.

The site was conceived by Paul Bradshaw, a visiting professor in online journalism at City University London and course leader of the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University.

In 2010 Help Me Investigate 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.

There is also a site blog, which provides regular tips and updates.

If you want to get involved in any of the Help Me Investigate sites, please leave a comment or contact us privately on paul@helpmeinvestigate.com

Help Me Investigate the Olympics is managed by Jennifer Jones, coordinator for #media2012, the first citizen media network for the Olympic Games. She can be contacted on email@jennifermjones.net

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7 thoughts on “About

  1. hello can you tell me how Zbigniew strzelczyk from Kozienice is carrying a torch through Chatham ?
    may be this isnt what this stite is for ?? if not dont worry

    Rachel

    • Here you go – I found this – rough translation from Polish, but very curious:

      “Hailing from Kozienice Zbigniew Strzelczyk will be one of the Poles, who will run the Olympic Torch Relay, carrying the torch with fire from Olympia in London. As an argument in favor of the selection announced his candidacy just invented “disease” syndrome niedobiegania.

      “Participants in the relay, which will carry the torch with fire from Olympia to London, where he will begin July 27 Olympic competition emerged. Welcome to participate mainly through the Internet. – one day I received a message that is such a contest – says Strzelczyk. – I thought, why not try and sent his application together with the required history. Kozieniczanin invented “disease.” He described the suffering for years because she has to run. Doctors diagnosed him niedobiegania [Found elsewhere: "indisposition , infirmity , insufficiency . V, niedomaganiach , infirmities , niedomaganiom , failures"] syndrome, which can only heal part in Olympic Torch Relay. liked the story the organizers and Strzelczyk was qualified to participate in the relay. During the official presentation of the Polish relay, it turned out that apart from the competition winners, will compete in a relay also known Poles, including actress Marta Zmuda-Trzebietowska, Przemysław Babiarz, sports journalist, hockey player Mariusz Czerkawski, the youngest pole winner John Mel and Artur Partyka, a former champion in high jump. In sum, in a relay run to 8000 people from around the world. Each participant has been assigned a length, 285 meters, which must be overcome. Strzelczyk torch will run from July 20 . – I think I will manage to run without training – participant of Olympic torch relay jokes. – But seriously, this is for me a great honor.”

      Sources: http://www.echodnia.eu/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120427/POWIAT0203/120428937

      This source suggests he’s representing Samsung alongside some Polish actors, journalists etc: http://radom.gazeta.pl/radom/1,35219,11624102,Mieszkaniec_Kozienic_pobiegnie_z_ogniem_olimpijskim.html

  2. I get the impression that in spite of the diversity of London being a selling point in the Olympic bid (and I heard Lord Coe talk about this again very recently) the Olympic torch bearers are overwhelmingly white. Although Didier Drogba and Will.i.am have got into the act that doesn’t reallly prove anything. It may be that the torch has predominantly passed through ‘white’ areas of Britain so far but it has passed through some cities with large ethnic minority communities. Can you help find out information about the ethnic origin of torch bearers? In order to avoid the bias of ‘white’ areas it would be good to break this down by city/region. Any ideas how to do this? I tried to ask through my GLA representative but he was told Locog don’t collect this information.

    • We are investigating something very similar. As you say, ethnicity is very hard to determine, as it’s not recorded. But I’m trying to look at representativeness more generally.

      If you want to get involved, the one obvious way is to manually go through all the images of torchbearers – I can send you a file with all the images if that’s of interest.

  3. I have a question: when the nomination process was first announced it was said that a large proportion of the torch bearers were to be under a certain age (21? 25? I can’t remember) but looking through the profiles without doing any number crunching it seems that a very large number are actually much much older than the target – do you know what the average age of the torch bearers is?

    • Yes, the promise was that half would be 12-24. They’re not, simple as that. We’re trying to get a response from LOCOG but so far without luck. Expect something on the site soon.

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