27.03.17 The Bureau Local

We've launched the Bureau Local

Our new project aims to spark a new wave of data-driven investigative journalism at a community level

I am thrilled to announce the launch of the Bureau Local, a project aiming to spark a new wave of data-driven investigative reporting at a regional level.

Our newly-appointed team, based at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, will build a network of regional reporters and tech experts across the country to investigate large-scale datasets and uncover local public interest stories.

We combine years of experience in local reporting with award-winning data journalism and development skills. We’ve left our jobs at The Times, Trinity Mirror, Greenpeace Investigations and the Croydon Advertiser because we want regional journalists to benefit from the use of technology in their reporting.

Our aim is to make the Bureau Local a unique national hub for journalists and technologists to work together to find and tell stories that matter to communities across the UK.

Why?

We believe local journalists are crucial in holding power to account. But their ability to do this is being threatened as newsrooms cut budgets and staff alongside the time and resources given to much-needed investigative reporting.

This has happened at the same time as the digitisation of information has grown exponentially. In every area of public and private life, information previously found on paper now exists on computers, and there is far more of it. Having the tools to access and analyse this abundance of data is critical for effective reporting.

There are many powerful public interest stories out there that will only be discovered if traditional investigative techniques are combined with technology. We will work with the UK’s local media to develop a new approach to reporting in a digitised society.

How?

The Bureau Local will build an unprecedented network of journalists and tech experts across the country who will work together to find and tell stories that matter to local communities.

Our exact method and approach will be developed over time in partnership with the community we will build. We will be open and transparent so that others can help strengthen our process.

The overarching aim is to combine our skills and expertise with that of reporters and technologists across the country, and take on the stories too time-consuming or technologically complex to be done alone.

If you want to be a part of the Bureau Local, send us your details here.

Who?

The core Bureau Local team members are introduced alphabetically below. While each bring different experience to the table - local, technical and investigative, all are equal players.


Charles Boutaud

“Local journalism is essential to a flourishing society — joining the Bureau Local is a chance to develop innovative solutions, and to reconnect people with news that is simultaneously relevant to them and to the nation’s public discourse.”

Charles is a developer-journalist who has experience investigating data for stories using computational method. Originally from Quebec, he moved to Wales in 2014 to be part of Cardiff University’s first MSc computational journalism course. 

He won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for his work on public transport data in Montréal with the Huffington Post, Québec. Charles joins the Bureau Local from Trinity Mirror’s data unit in Cardiff having covered a wide range of social issues for the group’s many local papers.

Charles grew up reading La Presse and Le Devoir, two of the main French-language local papers in Montréal. Wales Online has been his source of choice for local news since moving to Cardiff. He also enjoys going on reddit r/unitedkingdom.

Gareth Davies

“I’m passionate about local journalism and the role data-driven stories should play in local newsrooms. I’m looking forward to helping the team build a network of the best local journalists in the country, and helping them use data to uncover public interest stories that might otherwise go unreported.”

Gareth is an award-winning local reporter who specialises in public interest and investigative journalism. As the chief reporter of the Croydon Advertiser, a weekly newspaper in London, he won ten awards in five years, including Reporter of the Year at the Regional Press Awards a record four times. 

He established an award-winning data blog, led a campaign which prompted new legislation on driving under the influence of drugs in England and Wales, and undertook an investigation which led to the conviction of a serious fraudster. Gareth will be based in Lancashire as the Bureau Local’s northern voice.

Gareth grew up reading the Southampton Advertiser the Southern Daily Echo. Having recently moved to Lancashire, he is now reading the Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post (formerly the Evening Post).

Megan Lucero

“I’m thrilled to have the chance to start up the Bureau Local and prove the potential benefits of data-driven journalism for local democracy. I am excited to be working with Charles, Gareth and Maeve who don’t just have the right skills and experience but bring the diverse and varying perspectives needed to cover stories spanning the UK.”

Megan, formerly the Data Editor at The Times and Sunday Times, was part of the first data journalism team at The Times and led its development from a small supporting unit to a key component of investigations. She spearheaded the paper’s political data unit ahead of the 2015 General Election — making it the only one in the industry to reject polling data ahead of the vote. Using computational method, her team brought many issues into the public eye and won awards for revealing the widespread use of blood doping in the Olympics.

Megan is a long time fan of the Santa Barbara Independent, a local weekly paper she worked for in Santa Barbara, California where she went to university. Since living in east London she has enjoyed the Hackney Gazette and is a fan of the new co-op journalism models of the Bristol Cable and The Ferret.

Maeve McClenaghan

“I’m so excited to work with top journalists around the UK. The idea of a collaborative network of reporters producing work that really matters to local communities feels like an important step forward in British journalism, and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

Maeve is an experienced investigative journalist who has written for Buzzfeed UK, the Guardian, the BBC, Vice News, and others. She joins the Bureau Local from Greenpeace’s investigative Energydesk. She is winner of the Bar Council’s Legal Reporting Award and was nominated for last year’s Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils. Maeve has covered many public interest stories with local elements and is experienced in national FOI stories.

Maeve grew up reading the Northwich Guardian and she is a big fan of the dogged reporting of the Manchester Evening News.

Advisors and partners

Our team is supported by an advisory board made up of the best in the data journalism industry worldwide.

It includes Scott Klein, the deputy managing editor of ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning non-profit journalism organisation; Mar Cabra, head of data at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which led the Panama Papers investigation; and Aron Pilhofer, formerly digital executive editor at the Guardian and associate managing editor of digital strategy at the New York Times.

We have already partnered with Flourish, a new data visualisation platform, and the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s primary data science organisation.

Follow the Bureau Local on Twitter: @BureauLocal

Comments

  • Eamon Sweeney

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am very interested in finding out more about yourselves. Where can I send a CV to?

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  • Susan

    Good on you guys and gals!! Good luck, and watch your backs.... stay away from umbrella tips!

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