The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is delighted to announce two senior appointments to its newly formed global health project.
Chrissie Giles, formerly the editor of Mosaic, joins the Bureau as global health editor, while Madlen Davies – the Bureau’s health and science editor – is promoted to global chief health correspondent.
The Bureau has long planned for an ambitious global health project building a network of investigative health journalists across the world to fill a need for accountability journalism in the field.
The project is initially funded for three years by the Gates Foundation and, given the extraordinary circumstances at present, will initially focus on in-depth public interest reporting on the coronavirus pandemic and the international response to it.
“We now live in the age of global pandemics and the need for collaborative, public interest investigative journalism has never been so great,” said Davies. “Every year millions of people are dying from preventable illnesses, many linked to inequality, incompetence, poor policy or profit trumping public health.
“These problems often rear their heads in different forms in different countries yet nobody joins the dots. I am so thrilled to be part of a network of journalists from all over the world that will work together to shine a light on these issues, hoping to spark change that will help people lead longer, happier lives.”
Giles said: “Now, more than ever, the world needs robust, accurate and timely journalism about health. I am incredibly excited to be part of this new team at the Bureau, and cannot wait to start working with writers and editors around the world to uncover the urgent health stories that need telling.”
As global health editor, Giles will be responsible for building a new network of journalists across the world on global health, and is the project’s editorial lead.
Giles has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Most recently, she worked for Wellcome, one of the world’s largest health foundations, where she was editor of the award-winning longform publication Mosaic.
At Mosaic, she championed up-and-coming writers from around the world and worked to increase the diversity of stories and storytellers in science journalism. As a writer, she has covered a wide range of subjects, from how doctors discuss death and dying with patients, to why British people her age were the “Peak Booze” generation. She has also been writer-in-residence at a hospice.
Mosaic quickly became one of the most respected science and health publications in the world. It had over 2 million unique views per year and, through its Creative Commons licence, the stories were republished in over 200 different publications across the world and in 16 different languages.
The publication gave a platform to many new voices, including Shayla Love, Alex Riley, Josh Sokol and the late Lyra McKee.
Giles studied biochemistry at university and completed a master’s in science communication at Imperial College, London.
Davies is promoted to global chief health correspondent, and is the project’s journalistic lead.
Davies is an award-winning investigative journalist specialising in health. She has investigated antibiotic resistance for more than three years and has also dug into the second coming of Big Tobacco, shocking hygiene failures in British abattoirs, pharmaceutical companies promoting antibiotics to Indian quack doctors and the mass use of one of our most precious drugs on poultry farms.
At the Bureau she pioneered a model of publishing stories with multiple partners: an international partner, a specialist medical magazine and a national newspaper in the country most affected by the story, including The Hindu in India and The Daily Times in Malawi.
Davies’ work has helped lead to real-world changes. Her investigation on antibiotic resistance has led to changes in Indian law, including a ban on use of colistin in agriculture, and limits on the amount of antibiotic effluent pharmaceutical companies can release into the environment. Her team’s story on a tobacco brand advertising near schools led to the company making a public promise to revise its advertising.
Davies won the Association of British Science Writers Steve Connor award for the best investigative journalism in science in 2019, the Press Gazette British Journalism award for best food and farming journalism in 2018 and has previously won the Medical Journalist Association’s young journalist of the year award.
She was asked to host the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s event on superbugs at the United Nations General Assembly meetings in 2018 and 2019.
Before working for the Bureau, Davies worked for MailOnline, the BBC and Pulse magazine, a trade magazine for GPs.
The team and the network
The Bureau is hiring more core staff for the global health reporting project, and is keen to hear from journalist, editors and health professionals who wish to be part of our global network.