The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is an independent not-for-profit organisation. Established in April 2010, the Bureau is the first of its kind in the UK, where philanthropically funded journalism is rare.
The Bureau pursues journalism which is of public benefit. We undertake in depth research into the governance of public, private and third sector organisations and their influence. We make our work freely available under a Creative Commons licence.
The Bureau was formed and is funded on the assumption that investigative journalism is indispensable to democracy in providing the public with the knowledge and facts about the way in which important institutions in our society operate, so that they can be fully informed citizens.
The Bureau believes that as the established media struggles with the impact of reduced resources alternative funding models are crucial to the survival of journalism which provides a public benefit, and such journalism can be a valuable addition to daily news output.
Based at City University London, the Bureau works in collaboration with other groups to get its investigations published and distributed. Since its foundation the Bureau has worked with BBC File On Four, BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, Channel 4 Dispatches, Channel 4 News, al Jazeera English, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, Le Monde, mediapart, the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer and the Daily Mirror.
Major investigations include:
Covert Drone War provides a full dataset of all known US drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Our analysis has changed the public’s understanding of US actions and revealed that under Obama over 3,000 people, including nearly 500 civilians, have been killed by drones. Our findings have been used widely in media outlets including the New York Times, Pakistan’s Dawn, and the BBC. In 2013 the Drones team won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism, was invited to give evidence to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and was commended by Jamie Shea, assistant deputy general secretary, NATO and Christof Heyns, United Nations special rapporteur on extra judicial killings.
Our investigation Lobbying’s Hidden Influence examined lobby groups representing unsavoury regimes, their workings and disclosed links between lobbyists and officials. Our work has also analysed how many members of the House of Lords, the UK’s upper house, have business and city interests and looked at the power of the financial lobby. Our work has helped to inform the public debate about the establishment of a statutory lobbying register in the UK.
Our comprehensive study of Deaths in Police Custody found that over 11 years, 333 people died in the UK in police custody, but no police officers had been charged in connection with these deaths. Our findings scrutinised this issue and led to the UK’s police regulator launching a root and branch review.
Our major investigation in 2013 into the UK’s housing crisis for the first time provided reliable data on the cost of providing temporary accommodation and the number of families which had been moved from London boroughs by their local authority landlords. Our data was quoted on the BBC and referred to in a House of Commons debate on the subject.
Our research into the growth, profitability and ownership of the payday and high cost loans industry provided the first comprehensive analysis of this fast growing industry, was reported on in the Independent and the Daily Mirror and quoted in a House of Lords debate on the subject.
Since it launched the Bureau has secured almost 50 front-page stories and has produced a number of award-winning web, radio and TV reports.
These include winning the Amnesty International Digital Awards two years running, firstly for our investigation into the Iraq War Logs and latterly for our work on Deaths in Police Custody.
In 2011 the Bureau won the Thomson Reuters reporting Europe Award for a BBC 4 radio programme on Europe’s Missing Millions, and the investigation into drone warfare was shortlisted for the Foreign Press Association Awards.
And in 2012 the Bureau and its journalists were shortlisted in four categories at the first Press Gazette British Journalism Awards, which emphasise journalism in the public interest. Chris Woods was nominated for Investigation of the year for his work on drone warfare; Nick Mathiason was short-listed for the Business journalist of the year award for his work on the financial lobby. The Bureau itself was nominated for the Innovation of the Year award. And Emma Slater’s raft of work ensured that she won the New journalist of the year award.
In 2013 the Bureau’s drones team won the coveted Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism.
The Bureau’s largest funders are David and Elaine Potter. All of our work is published on our website and freely available under a Creative Commons licence. Any revenue received from media organisations or others is re-invested in our journalism. More information is available here.
If you would like to support the Bureau you can do so here or, if you are a foundation interested in helping us continue our work, please contact us here.
A full list of organisations that have donated to the Bureau is published here.
The Bureau wants its stories to reach the widest possible audience. If you would like to use our investigations please see the Steal our Stories section for more details.
You can contact us here.
You can find a list of staff here.