Call for pitches – how are algorithms and data-driven decision making affecting the world?

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is looking for pitches for ambitious and original investigative reporting for its Decision Machines reporting project.

The Decision Machines project investigates how big data, algorithms, machine learning, AI and other technologies and systems are increasingly affecting people’s lives. It has a particular focus on how these are being used in government decision-making, what negative outcomes they may have and who is most at risk.

The Bureau is looking to fund freelance projects in this area. These must be strong investigative ideas, not just reported features. We are particularly looking for:

  • Stories uncovering systemic issues in algorithmic decision-making
  • Projects focused on the UK or European governments preferred, but others considered
  • Strong case studies to show something happening today, not just hypothetical future risks
  • Stories which shed light, not just heat, on the issues at stake in this area

The Bureau is happy to consider funding projects either on a day-rate basis (with an understanding these stories may take weeks or more of reporting time) or on a per-word basis.

If you have a story in this area, please email [email protected] with all of the following:

  • A maximum 50 word / two sentence summary of your story’s top line
  • A slightly fuller (maximum 400-500 words) pitch of the main lines of your proposed investigation
  • A work plan of how you would report out the investigation if successful. Please make clear what data or documents you already have, which sources you have already secured, and what you still need to secure, and an anticipated reporting timeline for the piece. (max 1,000 words)
  • A short profile of yourself – why are you the right person to land this investigation? (Max 400 words)

The Bureau plans to work with successful applicants to provide reporting and editing support, and aim to work together to publish the resulting story in partnership with at least one other major media outlet.

Anyone with additional queries should feel free to contact our Global Editor James Ball on [email protected]. Unfortunately, we will not be able to give feedback on unsuccessful pitches.

Please get pitching – or share this with anyone you think might be interested.