Day 2: Sparking change through investigative journalism from grassroots collaboration to legislation
6:47PM Jun 20, 2023
So yeah, so I'd like to welcome Lucy Nash and Rachel Hamada to the stage. They're going to talk about the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the United Kingdom. So I believe they win the award for coming the furthest.
Say, Welcome to our presentation. As Stefanie said, Rachel and I come from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. We the bureau is, as it says, In the name, a newsroom, an investigative newsroom in the UK. We're the largest nonprofit newsroom. And we were started in 2010. And our founders started us as they kind of saw investigative journalism diminishing, with time and kind of a money restraints, people weren't spending as much time really digging deep. So we were started to try and counterbalance that. And our work is incredibly varied as we'll go into kind of more detail. We've got a global team and a local team. And our investigations have ranged from a project called the shadow war project, which looked into drone strikes in Afghanistan. And as a result of these, our reporting, we managed to get the US military to admit to killing a child, which we were kind of very kind of pleased with that impact. And one of their kind of defining features about our newsroom is that we don't just want to report matters, like a lot of you here. We also want them there to be real impact. I work more on the legislative impact on my colleague, Rachel works on the local impact and the community impact. And yeah, I will click through.
I'm not absolutely sure the clicker is working.
The bottom that was so obvious, I couldn't even see it. Thank you very much. So our title of the presentation is sparking change through investigative journalism, from grassroots to legislation.
And I've kind of gone over this and explained a little bit about what our work is. And I'm gonna hand over to Rachel to talk about the local project.
So I've worked for about what over five years now in a project called the bureau local, which some of you may have heard of. So we sit within the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, but our focus is kind of on the domestic story. So we work on servers within the UK,
we kind of started off effectively as a data unit. So very much kind of in the data journalism side, with the aim of gathering kind of big and complicated datasets that cover lots of local areas across the UK, that we then share out with partners so that they can report on the stories locally, we were set up very much to address the local news crisis. So as has been happening here, the same has been happening very much in the UK in terms of journalists losing their jobs, papers, closing papers being consolidated. And kind of generally, things slimming down a lot on the local news front, more emergence of news deserts. So that was very much the principle behind our founding, we have a core team across the country. So I'm based in Edinburgh in Scotland, and I have colleagues all over the UK, so a lot of us work remotely, and then kind of congregate once in a while to meet face to face. But it does mean that we're kind of embedded in different communities across the country, rather than being London centric, which is great. And then the bureau, when we set up, the aim was to kind of help support and service local newsrooms across the country. So we set up a network and the idea was that people would join the network, who are local reporters, and that would be how it would work. But as it happened, when we launched the network, lots and lots of people interested who weren't local reporters, so we had people who were campaigners and activists, people who were lawyers, people who were coders, people from kind of all sorts of skill backgrounds, wanted to join. So we kind of recalibrated the network a bit to reflect that. And there's a phrase that we call kind of active journalism, that not everyone has to be a journalist to necessarily be part of producing a journalistic project that can be kind of tasks and inputs and stuff that different people can get involved with, that allow them to play a really kind of meaningful role in the in the end product. So that was our original model, which has been going for, as I say, just over five years. In fact, I think we might be coming up to our sixth birthday. Now. Thank you, um, in terms of our editorial focuses, which is slightly different from the global team. I mean, the key word really is inequality. Like all of our stories are investigating inequality. There's a phrase that we use called people under pressure. So I guess it's a phrase that kind of encapsulates lots of different things that people are trying to deal with in their daily lives. So it could be kind of economic and cost of living pressures. Cost of living is really kind of a huge issue in the UK at the moment. work pressures and insecure employment, different treatment in the justice system, education system, health services, etc. And some of our Historic focuses of included police stop and search, access to places at domestic violence refuges and also deaths of people experiencing homelessness. So the bureau local has had community organizers as a specific role for over five years now. And I am a community organizer as well as a journalist. And the purpose of that really is to kind of embed, bringing communities into our work at a really, really early stage and making sure that editorial decisions aren't being made from an ivory tower and kind of decided by people who aren't living, living the lives that we're reporting on. And it's also really important for us that we look at stories, not as one offs, all our work is systemic, we look at stories very much in a wider context. And we always try to make sure that we're kind of understanding the power and the power dynamics. So we'll often do things like systems mapping and power mapping, to try and understand the kind of framework of a situation before we start reporting on it. This is a kind of a rough, all of our stories are slightly different. They all take slightly different shapes, depending on the people we're working with, and the topics. But broadly speaking, this is the lifecycle of a story. So yeah, the first thing we do is surfacing an issue. So often that will be with a particular community will work out what is the thing that's affecting them the most, day to day, all kinds of tests, different potential topics, that might be a problem that someone's having that it's very much a one off problem that would be great for a local paper to report on. But what we're trying to surface is the things that are systemic that are popping up in lots of different places across the country. So will do quite a lot of scoping to kind of see where we're going with the story, you know, either we'll be thinking of impact quite early on, are there particular impacts that we want to get. And we will test the story with communities again, to say is this the thing we should be reporting on or Asian something else that's more important? Well, then bring the story to the network that I mentioned before, and start the collaboration process. So some people might be particularly interested in one topic and want to get engaged on that someone and another, we then form a coalition around a story. And we work on developing that story together, finally, on telling the story, and publishing it, and then on producing some kind of lost in impact and change from the story. And I suppose the other thing that's not necessarily on there is we really want to avoid kind of parachuting in and then leaving. So we'll always try and have kind of several touches on a story or try and hand over to someone else to do some work to take it on from the story that we've published. So I can give kind of concrete examples of that if people are interested.
So Bureau global, we've got kind of five main teams in Bureau global, we look at global health, and my colleague in global health has been looking at ineffective cancer drugs, which are kind of resulting in the deaths of children. And we make sure once we've done these stories that were briefing, and kind of the doctors, were making sure that the NHS knows about this, we make sure that the people who can make these decisions are aware of what's going on. We've got big tech, which has been looking recently at the humans who are monitoring the big technologies content. So they're kind of very poor people who have to look through sadly, lots of kind of pornography on kind of social media, and they kind of censoring it and the impact on the humans as a result of this. We've got an environment team and enablers team. That's my team. So my team look at how the UK and often London facilitates global corruption. And they kind of enabled dictators, and oligarchs to get away with kind of hiding their money and human rights abuses. And we've got a big tobacco team that's been focused recently on vapes.
So like Rachel said, everything that we do, we try and make sure that there's impact. We're not just reporters, we want that to be a result of our work. So every time that we kind of scoping a story, or researching story or publishing, we're always thinking about who we want to reach, why we want to reach them and how we want to reach them. So it's quite a tactical process.
Okay, I'm thinking, so on. Yeah, I picked it up again, just talk a little bit about specific examples of the Bureau locals works, I think it's quite useful just to kind of walk through a few stories and like, you know, kind of how we came across them and how they developed. So the first one I wanted to look at was kind of grew up the click Roshi, disabled facilities grant. So this is a scheme in the UK, that allows people with lots of different types of disabilities to get adaptations funded to their homes, basically, so that they can live full lives and not kind of impeded in any way from living good lives in their own in their own houses. So with disabled facility grants, the UK government's has the maximum waiting time from kind of beginning to end of the process should be 18 months. But we found out through freedom, freedom of information requests, that in many areas people had to wait over a year even to get the process arted, let alone completed. In the meantime, people were having to use portable toilets in their kitchen shower with hoses in their garden. Quite a few stories of people trapped in just one room of their house unable to move around. The picture that's featured up here are some twins called Rihanna and Lauren. And Lauren cares for her sister, Rihanna quite a lot of the time, but Rihanna is trapped. She's able to go between her bedroom and the living room of the house, but she can't go anywhere else in the house. So she hasn't seen her sister's room in, I don't know a decade or something, her sister has to show her photos of where she sleeps. So they're kind of one of the many people that we spoke to who have been trying to get a grant through to make their home more suitable and have been unable to loss for our team. As a result of the investigation, we briefed charities such as age, UK, Parkinson's, UK, we also submitted evidence to the Adult Social Care Committee of the House of Lords at Westminster. There's a party the biggest charity inculpatory, disabled led charity in London, inclusion London, asked local election candidates to sign a pledge to ensure faster completion of this process. And Lauren, who was in the previous picture, told us after the investigation, that she was really happy that there are still ethical journalists that will advocate for the community. So that was really encouraging. The guy in the picture above is a guy called Peter Gilroy, who lives in Sunderland in the Northeast of England. He has quite severe diabetes, and was unable to properly cook in his own kitchen, because of the low level of the oven, had to literally get out of his wheelchair onto the floor to be able to cook it was very dangerous. He was burning himself. And the advice from his local council was just eat microwave meals. So obviously, for someone with diabetes, it's totally crazy. But as a result of the work that we did, the council finally sorted him out, he got a new kitchen, he's now like baking stuff from scratch again, and generally really happy with the results. So that's kind of one nice outcome from my work. And I guess sometimes the some of the impacts that affect you the most often the kind of individual personal level ones. Another story that we've done quite recently is on seasonal workers. So there's a seasonal worker scheme in the UK, there's a shortage of people to pick kind of soft fruit salad, etc. In the UK, the UK government sets off a seasonal worker scheme. But we found that the scheme had left many people in debt, and also working in horrendous conditions. People were also being overcharged for poor and quite often dangerous accommodation. We found that there was no regulation or enforcement of fair working conditions in this sector. And one, one kind of participants in our work, who came from Kazakhstan, said even in our post Soviet Union countries, no one runs a business like that by making people live in such terrible conditions. It was a piece of work where one of our journalists and community organizers interviewed over 50 seasonal workers. And as you can imagine that they're quite difficult community to reach because they come from lots of countries all over the world and living in quite insecure situations. And so he did a really kind of pretty deep piece of work on this. And he is later this month giving evidence, again to the House of Lords. He was asked to come in and share his data. But he said, you know, it will be better if you can actually hear from the humans affected rather than just having another journalist and sharing data. So he's going there later this month, the group of about five seasonal workers all to kind of feed back to politicians about what their experiences have been. He's also Shortly speaking to investors who invest in some of the companies that use these farms. And one major UK supermarket has pledged to end its contracts with one of the main suppliers that uses these farms. There's a quick video I'm going to show you just from one of the seasonal workers who took part in the project and
I think I don't need to press play.
Sunita card got it worked review plants limited Manor farm for nearly a month and was paid just over 400 pounds. She's one of the more than 20 workers who told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. They had been underpaid while working on British farms
in our contract the son was that contract it was written it will be oddly paid okay, but when we went to the farm, we had a little meeting and then manager she told us it will be piece read so we thought it will be good better than hourly paid actually but when we got that pay slip it was really like shocking because it was really less and how does it make you feel the way they were treating you guys? Really bad actually emotionally break and everything because we leave our family and everyone there. We came here to learn something new also in that obviously like a warm money, right, but the behaviors brought breakers really badly. And then after like, everything like management and you know, and then after working environment and everything really bad, so, yeah, the experience was not good.
And you have to pay for electricity and for gas and for other things like that
man or farm Yeah, we need to pay for electricity, they don't even give provide us heaters. That's really bad thing. And not even like giving us a gloves you know?
Okay, and then the next thing I wanted to talk about is one on Thorak Council, which is a local authority in England that provides services for a particular kind of area. We found out that this council, particularly their finance director, had been playing very fast and loose with public money. So the council had borrowed a billion from other billion pounds from other councils. It had also gambled 650 million pounds on failed solar farm deals. So the guy in the picture is a guy called Liam Cavanaugh. And he made arrangements with this particular Council, for them to invest in a bunch of solar farms that he was representing, and made quite a lot of money out of that. The council now has a 500 million pound hole in its budget, there's a fairly huge kind of existential threat to the communities that it's supposed to serve are very likely to lose vital services. Also assets like community centers, and indeed their local theater. The council really tried to keep residents in the dark about the risks that it was taking. And the bureau spent three years fighting through freedom of information to try and get the true numbers released. Some of the impact was that the council leader resigned, the government sent in inspectors to see what was going on at Council and then there were also public protests. Based on our investigation findings. I've used the term side on and off for most of them. I'm going to skip that video just because we're a little bit behind time. But yeah, there's uh, there were a lot of people that protested in front of one of the recent Council budget meetings. And this was all based off our work. So people were people were basically saying that they didn't want to pay through their services for the gambling debts that have been accrued by kind of council irresponsibility. The next year I'm going onto is the vaccine maze. So this is a health inequality project that we did, during COVID That looked at how difficult it was for undocumented migrants to get vaccinated for COVID. And this was a piece of work, we produced an interactive game that represented the idea of a maze. I'm hoping to share the link for this afterwards. But basically, it showed that whatever route you take took, you would meet obstacles, and it shows how much time goes past as you're trying successively to get access to the vaccine. Fundamentally, what the biggest issue was was the doctors in the UK, so GP surgeries, they are told by the National Health Service that they should allow undocumented migrants to register. But in practice, most of them we're not letting them. So we did a secret shopper a piece of work in this case where we called round GP surgeries in cities across the UK to test whether they would take on a sample patient. And we found that it was something like eight out of 10 GP surgeries turned that person down. And without that NHS number, most people could not then access the COVID vaccine. So obviously, a lot of people were then going unvaccinated and at risk. That was a story where we collaborated a lot with undocumented migrants themselves and works also worked with them to kind of test test the services and find out where the biggest issues were. But we heard one case of there was a pop up vaccine clinic run by the Filipino community in London. And we heard of someone coming from as far as Inverness, in the north of Scotland all the way down to London just so they could get vaccinated because they couldn't find any other way to do it. After the investigation, a lot more lots of people signed an open letter to GPS to try and get more GPs to deal with the issue properly. But a lot more GPs also signed up to the safe surgeries program, which is run by a doctor of the world. And that involves training doctors and Doctor surgery staff to make sure that they're much more aware of what they should be doing in terms of processing people when they come to the surgery appropriately. And then last one quickly. Deliveroo. So this was quite an exciting piece of work. This is from a couple of years ago now. We had an initiative called is work working so we wanted to look at insecure employment but we didn't know what we should look at. So we did a call out and we asked people to pitch ideas. And we work with the Daily Mirror which is a big, big tabloid newspaper in the UK for reach. And a couple of people came forward who were really keen to explore how people were being treated through for deliveries or versus what people were really earning. So we worked with riders to kind of crack the delivery algorithm by gathering data from lots of different riders. across the UK, we worked out that some riders were effectively being paid less than two pounds an hour, and also encountering quite dangerous situations. And as part of the process, we had writers work with us as reporters. And you know, this was nominated for an award at the British press awards. And we made sure that we bought a lot of the writers who were part of the process along with us to the award ceremony. So again, happy to talk more about that piece of work, if anyone's interested. I'll hand over to Lucy just talk a bit about some of the Bureau global stories.
So I'm gonna very quickly talk about a few of our global stories. And I'm going to whiz through them because I want to make sure that we've got time to actually speak about the legislative impact and what we're doing to get this information in front of politicians. So quickly, the first one that I'm going to speak about is a project we did in Lima, about children being targeted for the sale of tobacco products. So who talking going back to the impact strategy of who, why and how, who is going to benefit from this reporting? It's the children and it's their parents. Why are we doing this story? We're doing this story to educate and to protect the children? And how are we going to make sure that there's impact how are we going to make sure that the communities are engaged, we got a kind of hired community organizer on the ground in Peru, who worked with school children, and empower them to become their own reporters. So he, he kind of set up a program where the children were encouraged, anytime they came across tobacco products, which were next to kind of bubble gum and children's sweets and kind of chocolate, they were at kind of trialed height level, they were meant to take a picture of it, and submit it to us. So we got we engaged and managed to kind of galvanize a lot of students to get out there and be part of the process, and understand kind of the risks and understand what's happening. And as a result of this investigation, the kind of Peruvian congressional, there have been, like discussions at a kind of congressional level about the dangers of kind of tobacco and vaping for children. And this is another story we did, which is was that in North Carolina, and we focused on again, it was with the tobacco project. And we looked at kind of farm owned by the senator Brent Jackson, and the poor workers rights on this farm. I think one of the statistics with I think, which I think is absolutely kind of horrendous and terrifying, is that back in 1998, one of the farm workers suffered a stroke due to heat stroke so badly that he's still in a coma to this day. And the standards haven't really changed for the workers on the ground. So what we did is we tried to engage the community in this work, when we were doing the research, when we were looking at what's happening to these kind of the transient communities that are coming up often from Mexico, to pick the tobacco at these farms. And when we were retelling the story, what we did is we created a comic, which I can show you here, and we published it in English and in Spanish. We really simplified it. And we kind of published it on WhatsApp groups, as we thought this would be a really direct way of targeting the communities affected. And we also kind of published it a one of the kind of newsletters that a lot of these kind of worker communities read. And the next investigation which I'm going to talk about is one that my team did. It's called the spies stalking British justice. So we looked at where as I said earlier, we're looking at how the UK enables corruption. And we looked specifically at hacking, and the kind of hack global hack for hire industry. We found out that private investigators in the UK were often contracting their services to hacking groups often in India, and they were finding this information on behalf of kleptocrats on behalf of undemocratic states and on behalf a lot of the times we found out that the hacked material ended up in the UK courts and was used I know in the in the US this would never happen. But it was classified as admissible evidence in our courts, which when we presented our findings, we went directly to politicians to kind of tell them what's happening. And even kind of very high profile politicians who work in justice weren't even aware that you could, like hacked material was admissible in court in the UK courts So that was a bit of information that we've really tried to push. And we got something that you can do in the U. K, is that you can get politicians to kind of you can direct them towards questions that you want them to ask in our chamber. And we kind of highlighted our findings and encouraged the politician to go and ask the Secretary of State for justice dominant, Rob about this. And so you can bring it to the attention of the kind of senior politicians that way through questions. And the UN have kind of taken heed of this investigation into hacking into private into investigations into the invasion of privacy. And from it looked like from our research, that some of the hacking was being commissioned by the State of Qatar in advance of the World Cup. And the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, wrote directly to the Qatar government asking them about it, and they haven't yet responded. And we are kind of waiting patiently for their response. And this is I might skip this slide, just because we're running a bit short of time. But and one of the kinds of discussions that I would be really interested to chat to some of you about it, after that we have is the difference between impact and activism. As journalists, we're obviously non or try very hard. It's arguably very kind of difficult, but we're nonpartisan, what we want is kind of correct, solid evidence based information. And there's the question of whether there's ever, whether you ever if you're kind of relaying this information, and if there's like an end goal that you want from it, whether that kind of leads to kind of crosses the line into activism. And what we always say, is that we're not it's not about kind of a solution. It's all about getting the information to people who need it, so that they can make their solutions, their kind of decisions on what the solution should be. So it's all about kind of accurate information to the right people. So whether that's to the think tanks, whether that's to kind of politicians, whether that's to kind of campaigns, it's about passing the information over and briefing the right people. So types of impact. And this isn't a fully comprehensive list. And again, I'd be very, very interested to know what you all think about the different types of impact. But for me, I'm going to talk about the first three, because this is what broadly speaking, my work focuses on number one is political impact. So I kind of worked in Westminster before. So I kind of understand how the UK systems work. And the levers that you pull if you want action. If anyone is ever doing work in the UK, and they want to talk about political impact in the UK, please do get in touch. So like I said earlier, we have questions, you can get someone to ask a question in the chamber, you can get them to do it, kind of to the different ministers, you can get written questions and they can happen. You don't have to have certain times about the normal questions, but they can. MPs can be kind of submitting written questions off the back of your investigations. You can bring like brief the politicians, you can email them and ask to meet to brief them, we have something called a PPGs, which I think are a little bit like your caucuses, which is basically an all party. So I know your caucuses aren't always cross party. But and that's cross party group of MPs who are interested in a certain subject. And that's a really good way of communicating your information to people who already care about this topic, and have are in a position that they can kind of raise it. At higher level, we've started doing more legal impact. So we've got a story coming out. I think it's meant to come out on the 12th of June. The really good story. I'm quite excited about it. And to do you this kind of when we've been investigating, we've been working alongside lawyers who are going to kind of create a case on behalf of the investigation. And we've been it's kind of been a very symbiotic relationship. They need different information to us. And we've helped and get the information they need. So we're having like a two pronged approach, both through the media and through the courts. And another type of impact, which we do already, but we're trying to hopefully kind of develop a more formalized way of doing it is law enforcement impact, particularly with my topic of enablers and we need this information to go to the police to go through our NCAA to go to our SFO which is the Serious Fraud organization. And we're working with a think tank based in London who have who works in defense, and you have all the correct contacts, you know how the different law enforcement agencies in the UK work, and then we're going to start briefing them kind of die directly. And then hopefully they can, if they think there's a case, they can pick up and kind of act on the off the back of our investigations.
Individual impact is not something we would tend to have as a specific goal. But it's often like a good byproduct of the work that we do like the case of peers, Peter got in his oven. You know, that wasn't obviously a specific goal that we have. But it came as a byproduct of the work that we're doing. Community Impact is something we probably look at, more often. So wanting the work that we do to improve people's lives on a daily basis. And you know, it might be that that's a geographic community, it might be a community of identity, it depends. But obviously, we want to be able to kind of uproot improve material conditions for people. Public awareness, impact is also quite a big one. And we work we have really touched that much on all of our media partnerships. We work collaboratively with lots of different media partners from the biggest broadcasters in the UK, to kind of hyperlocal publications, diaspora media, etc. And when we make that decision about which partners we think we should be working with, from a media perspective, you know, it might be that we're trying to get political impacts, for example, in which case, we might go through a newspaper that we know is going to influence a particular kind of political grouping. Or we might go through a local paper where the politician that we're trying to affect, you know, where his constituents or her constituents are, that can sometimes work. But sometimes what we're going for is public awareness impact. So that's trying to shift attitudes, or raise awareness of a particular issue. So that would kind of mean that we would take a different approach that might be more to do with reach or trying to identify where particular publics get their news, or information. Choose. And then touch really quickly on the bureau locals kind of non editorial or kind of infrastructural work. Obviously, we've talked a bit about your stories. But we do quite a lot of work as well, just to kind of think about reimagining news and how news could be done better and differently. So this was a four month project that we ran, just at the start of COVID. There was supposed to be lots of physical meetups. And obviously we had to switch to online, which was a shame. But the idea was thinking about, you know, local news is in trouble. How can we reimagine it so that it can survive, thrive, and also really serve underrepresented communities, or even communities that have been traditionally harmed by the media. We had several outputs from this piece of work. So we had an advisory group that we worked with 12 people from different underrepresented groups around the UK. And they work together with us to produce a research report, which showed they went out and interviewed lots of different people each and we compiled that into a report showing the kind of state of play with local news for underrepresented communities in the UK. But one standout example for me was in Dundee in Scotland, there was one Muslim woman who told us that she would rather that her community was not in the media at all, said it was so harmful to be in the media that it felt safer just not to be present, than to be represented on any level. And you know, that's a pretty depressing indictment of the news in many ways. We also produced a roadmap for local news collaborations just to help support small news organizations and startups to work together to do collaborations themselves. And lastly, we co created this manifesto for a people's newsroom with a working group. So this really kind of encapsulates a lot of the principles that we work to, and our partners at the Bureau local work to, so I'll rattle through those. We will report on inequality and communities under pressure. Our journalism will be open, inclusive and human centered. We will co create and share space, resources and experience. We will use data and innovation to create accessible stories. We will choose stories that benefit from collaboration. We will tell stories that are systemic and challenge power, we will ensure that our journalism is useful to society, you'll notice the tagline on the top right is News You Can Use. So that was a phrase that we use quite a lot throughout. So all of our news had to be designed to be useful, useful tools for people to take on after the investigation was published. And we will bring our reporting back to communities and those in power to spark change.
So just talking a little bit and kind of the speed of light, because we want there to be time for questions of they're kind of non editorial and infrastructural stuff that we do. So the two main things I'm going to speak about is one APG, and two slaps. A PPGs, as I said, are all party political groups. There are cross party groups that have engaged MPs. We're in the process of starting and investigative journalism a PPG. So I've been in touch with all the main new investigative newsrooms in the UK to try and get them on board. And this is just going to be a kind of a kind of mechanism through which journalists, investigative journalists can make sure that their information is getting to the people in power. Who You need to be well informed. And we're also going to be potentially, anytime there's a threat kind of an existential threat to journalism, that can be something that we discussed as well. So I'm really excited that we've got we've got two MPs who are kind of keen to start it with us, and FMP, a labour are going to be the chairs, and then we've got quite a few Tories as vice chairs. The other thing that I really want to quickly talk about is slaps, talking about the existential nature of journalism. And something that and I know was mentioned in the first session. So we published a story about how former dictator of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, set up a fund through which money was channeled via the UK. And we didn't say that there'd been any wrongdoing. But we just explained the kind of corporate structure which could have been abused for corruption. And we published this back in February 2022. And lo and behold, we're now being sued as a result of it, which is terrifying. And we're all scared that we're going to lose our jobs. However, off the back of this story, it's actually kind of a double edged sword, there has been a benefit in that we have got really, really involved in the anti slap community, the UK anti slap coalition. And we've been lobbying. And I know, lobbying has a really negative connotations in the States. But it's not always bad in the UK. And but we've been trying to encourage that to be legislative change off the back of it. So we've been, we've managed to get a debate in Parliament, about our lawsuit. And we've held a variety of events, for MPs and for journalists, and for lawyers to all come together to talk about solutions. And I heard this morning, that we are expecting there to be an amendment in one of our bills tomorrow announced by the government. So the end, there is light at the end of the tunnel probably too late for us, and we're gonna have to kind of deal with the lawsuit. But for other journalists, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
And I'm just going to quickly touch on so I'm running a pilot this year, which is on community led investigation. So in many ways, that's what we do already at the Bureau local, but this is trying to really kind of systematize doing this type of work. And really making sure that we work with communities from the very, very beginning of each project and kind of run through some of the stuff that I'm doing. As part of that. This investigation we're working on at the moment, which we're really excited about. We haven't done much on Environment and Climate Change in the UK team. And we really wanted to look at the impacts of climate change in the UK, partly to change public awareness. So if there's a heatwave in the UK, and you look at a newspaper, usually the picture on the front of the newspaper is lots of people lying on the beach, having ice creams and looking really happy. Because obviously he is a bit of a novelty for us quite often. Nonetheless, it was 40 degrees in London last summer. And that doesn't normally happen. And we're Our houses are not designed for it. So there are particular groups of people that are really kind of in danger because of this people living in bad housing and housing that's particularly susceptible to heat. And also people with certain health conditions. So asthma, cardiac conditions, obviously, other respiratory conditions, people with diabetes, older people, and so on. So with this investigation, it's very much on the intersection of environment, housing and health inequality. And we're taking quite a practical approach, we're going to have monitors and people's houses that will monitor heat and humidity over the course of the summer. But it's also a participatory project, people will be journaling, and doing interviews, and we'll be gathering their stories over the summer as well. We very much intentionally been building a coalition of partners from the very start of the scoping process with us. And we ran quite a big heat inequality symposium about six months ago that we invited lots of different experts along to, to do lightning talks, and so on. So we've got a lot of kind of movement and buy in behind this, which I think when we get to the storytelling phase will be really, really powerful. And we're also hoping to do co created data storytelling with the communities that have been involved. And also bring the data back to people about what's happening in their own home so they can be informed and speak to their local authorities, landlords about it. So again, very happy to talk more about that one. The other bits and pieces within what happened second investigation taking off later in the year. And we're just deciding now which community to work with. As part of that. We're also rebooting the bureau local network a little bit because local journalism has been so decimated in the UK, that some of the things that we're working are now a struggle. So we're going back to kind of our network community and very much talking to them about what will be useful. How can we support you? How can we best work together and maybe just kind of thinking a bit about how we tweak the way that we work, so it's most useful for everyone. So I'll be working on that and really happy to talk to people working in similar spaces. And then lastly, we're looking at doing some kind of open data hub. So the idea is potentially to work with other media organizations across the UK that produce quite big datasets from their journalism, and have a sudden role plays where we can publish all published open source data. And members of the public and other people who want to make use of that data can access it in an accessible format. So that's a piece of work in progress.
And so what next, for on my side, we're hopefully going to organize an impact conference. So if you'd like to come and do you get in touch with, we have an impact Slack channel, where we discuss tactics and what we're doing. And we do have impact meetups, if you'd like to attend, do drop me an email. And we I think, have time for maybe a few questions. We've got seven minutes left, if anyone would like to ask a question.
Okay, well, thank you very much. Oh, we there's one sorry.
Me turn it. Sorry. Hello. I was curious. On the lines of impact. Are there any particular tools or workflows are things that you do in order to track your impact of these stories?
Yeah, that's a really good question. So we're in the process of improving our tracking, because it's not perfect. But what I currently do is, anytime there's a kind of any impact, I make note of it. So anytime there's a question asked, we use kind of meltwater to analyze how many people are reaching our investigations. Anytime that we brief anyone, anytime that anyone kind of gets in touch, anytime that our campaign picks up on our facts and figures. So basically, there's not a very sophisticated way. It's literally anytime anyone does anything off the back of our investigation, we make note of it, I think, with the community stuff, you sometimes go back and speak to the communities and work out if there's anything that's changed. Yeah,
I mean, there's two things I'd mention. One is that we do have an impact planning document that comes in quite early in the editorial process. And that will have a number of kind of questions that we will work through to see how we might work what what our impact goals are, how we might work towards those. So that that's quite intentional, quite early on in an investigation and doesn't just come in at the end is an add on. And yeah, we also quite often have roundtables with communities that we work with afterwards, and ask them kind of what went well, what went badly, but also, quite importantly, what they want us to do next, and that quite often can sow the seed for our next investigation.
Thank you. Hi, Rachel glucose from Grace Teigen. So this was amazing, by the way, just really inspiring. I had a question, because you mentioned you worked with the Daily Mirror on one of the stories, and I don't know, UK media that well. But in thinking about the kind of outlets we partner with, I don't think we would ever consider working with a tabloid. Just because I don't know we have certain unspoken rules about the kind of outlets we would work with. So can you talk a little bit about that decision?
Yeah, I could talk about that. I mean, the UK media landscape is quite idiosyncratic. The Daily Mirror is a tabloid. But it is kind of broadly a left of centre, liberal tabloid.
But equally, we don't only we absolutely don't only publish with the kind of left of center, we try and get the information to the people who need it. And we, sometimes we, if we want someone to take notice of it, we will play into the dialogue that they're already discussing. And I can I, I've got a specific example. But I don't want to give it now, because of the nature of it. But if we chat after, but we would kind of we're delighted to get any information out, depending on the certain groups. And if anything, if there's a certain prejudice with a certain group left or right, and you want to challenge that prejudice, it we think it's quite good not just to be a kind of preaching to the choir, but to go with a US kind of newspaper that has an opposing point of view.
Yeah, I mean, yes. But also, I think that we have to be really conscious of which media or light harming communities that we might be working with. And some of the UK tabloids very much do that. So there's often quite tough ethical decisions, ethical and pragmatic decisions to be made. But yeah, in the case of Daily Mirror, so they have a columnist that does quite a lot of work around poverty and insecure employment and so on. And she has a team of people that she works with, and we worked specifically with those people. And they got this call out to a far wider audience, and we would have got otherwise and that yielded like a lot more kind of ideas and a lot more people coming forward. So yeah, it was kind of quite a practical decision. Yeah,
just to be clear, I'm not asking really about ideological differences. It's more about like the quality, like the kind of places that are doing good journals. Yeah, that that makes sense. Thank you.
I'm Nikki and I'm the publisher of Minnesota Women's press, and I've been we're based in Minneapolis and I've been trying for a couple of years to get funding towards cover in transforming justice in the state, and I'm curious, since how you get funding and then also, since you're doing community based journalism, not necessarily just paid reporters, do you pay them? And how do you work with your community sources?
Yeah. I mean, lots of good questions there, funding wise. So the bureau gets most of its money from kind of grant and foundation funding. Some of those foundations are people that do traditionally support journalism, but some of them are people that don't, and that see that some of this work is kind of infrastructural, and to deal with information, and kind of serving needs as much as kind of traditional journalism, per se. So I guess we're kind of a mix of different types of foundations, we tend to get our money from. Sorry, what's the second question was? Oh, about? A? Yeah, it's on a case by case basis. So it depends kind of what we're doing and how, in the case of the heat investigation we're working on, for example, we're providing people with kind of retail vouchers in exchange for taking part in the scheme that reasonably substantial, so that people can kind of get, you know, get something for their work. Yeah, it's quite case by case there's been a little bit of resistance. Sometimes, I think there are some schools of journalism where people are worried that paying people, you know, changes their agenda or something like that. I don't tend to fall on that side. I think that valuing people's time is important. But yeah, what we tend to do is have a conversation on a case by case basis for each investigation and work out, like the fairest way of doing things. And that will sometimes, you know, we might be working with a network or a community that has representatives and we might discuss that with community representatives as well and kind of work out the the best and most kind of thoughtful way of doing things. And sorry, the last question was about community.
I. That's okay. I think you answered it, and I'll talk to you afterwards. I know she's over there.
Thank you. Thank you, Rachel. Thank you, Lucy. So much.