Journalism doesn’t change anything on its own. But it does play a really important role in social change. It holds power to account by exposing injustice and wrongdoing; it tells stories that make us feel and care; it enables citizens, civil society groups and authorities to make decisions and to take action based on evidence and empathy. But it can only do this if people use it. It is one piece of the puzzle of social change alongside many other people and groups. When all those pieces of the puzzle come together, systemic change can happen.
With this in mind, collaboration is at the heart of everything we do here at TBIJ. We’re a mission-driven newsroom – we aim for our reporting to spark change. That means we design our reporting to be useful and we connect and collaborate with all those individuals, organisations and institutions who can take our work and do something with it. It’s an impact model that we know works, and today we’re taking it one step further with the launch of an initiative called Link for Change.
Link for Change will provide a space and channels for public interest journalists, lawyers and campaigners – three powerful catalysts of social change – to connect and collaborate when they have common ground.
TBIJ has worked with lawyers and campaigners plenty of times in the past. As an independent newsroom investigating systemic injustice and wrongdoing, we typically end up with reams of evidence, data and stories on any topic we dig into. That evidence and those stories have provided material used by lawyers in many different types of litigation, and by campaigning organisations of all shapes and sizes.
For example, after we revealed the failure of police forces to deal with reports of domestic abuse and sexual assault by their own officers, lawyers at the Centre for Women’s Justice used our findings to file a supercomplaint. We worked with them to bring them survivor testimonies and FOI data which formed the basis of that complaint, which in turn led to changes at police forces across the country.
In another recent example, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the global outsourcing giant Teleperformance, relying heavily on an investigation by TBIJ revealing traumatic and pressurised working conditions faced by TikTok moderators working in Colombia.
When it comes to campaigners, our evidence and stories have been used in research, public advocacy, behind-the-scenes lobbying, community demonstrations and more. When we have trusted relationships and the story isn’t too sensitive, we sometimes brief NGOs on our findings ahead of publication; and we often brief relevant organisations in person after a story comes out. Charities and advocacy groups have told us that our work has been extremely useful, and that as investigative journalists we’re able to find information and stories that campaigners don’t otherwise have access to.
With Link for Change we’re aiming to see what happens when that organic and ad hoc collaboration becomes more strategic and consistent. If there is a space where journalists, lawyers and campaigners who are working on similar issues can connect with each other, the collaborations will become more frequent and more effective. We all bring something different to the table and we can all strengthen each others’ work. Where challenges arise, we can learn from them.
We’re excited to see where this goes. If you’re a journalist, lawyer or campaigner who wants to be part of making change – join us!