Our people


Rachel Oldroyd 
Managing editor
@Raoldroydracheloldroyd@tbij.com | PGP

Rachel Oldroyd joined the Bureau as deputy editor shortly after its launch in 2010 and has led many of the organisation’s key projects. Before joining the Bureau she spent 13 years at the Mail on Sunday, where she ran the award-winning Reportage section in Live magazine. The section focused heavily on human rights violations and, under her editorship, won more than a dozen media awards. She started her career as a financial reporter working in the trade press. She became the Bureau’s managing editor in October 2014.





Nick Mathiason
@NickMathiason | nickmathiason@tbij.com | PGP

Nick Mathiason joined the Bureau in 2011. He has reported extensively on party political funding, the financial lobby, commodities, asset recovery and the supply of affordable housing. He has been nominated five times for major newspaper awards. Nick has presented packages for BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight and regularly appears on television and radio. He previously worked at the Observer, Guardian and the Big Issue. Nick is also director of Finance Uncovered – a training and mentoring project aimed at increasing the reporting of tax abuse and corruption stories in the media.




Melanie Newman
@Melanie_Newman | melanienewman@tbij.com | PGP

Mel 4Melanie Newman became a journalist in 2000. She worked on a specialist health service journal and then as chief reporter and deputy news editor at Times Higher Education. She joined the Bureau in 2010. She has been involved in many of the Bureau’s high profile stories including our work on lobbying.






Abigail Fielding-Smith
@AbbieFS | abigailfielding-smith@tbij.com | PGP

Abbie 4 copyAbigail Fielding-Smith joined the Bureau in 2014 after six years as a reporter in the Middle East, during which she covered the Arab Spring and subsequent civil war in Syria for the Financial Times. She was awarded a UK Foreign Press Award in 2013 for her role in a Financial Times investigation in to Gulf funding for Syrian rebels. Before going in to journalism she was a Commissioning Editor for politics and international affairs titles at IB Tauris, a leading independent non-fiction publisher.  She is head of editorial development at Coda Story, a digital platform for international crisis reporting.





Jack Serle
@jackserle | jackserle@tbij.com | PGP

Jack2Jack Serle is a data journalist on the Bureau’s Covert Drone War team. He joined the Bureau in 2012 and was part of the team that won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2013 for their work on drones and the US covert war on terror. He graduated in 2010 and then studied an MA in science journalism at City University London.






Victoria Parsons
@vicparsons_ | victoriaparsons@tbij.com | PGP

Vic 7 copy

Victoria Parsons joined the Bureau after completing an MA in science journalism, in which she gained a distinction. She is on the executive board of the Association of British Science Writers and previously worked as an investigative researcher at Request Initiative.







Crofton Black
@crOftOn | croftonblack@tbij.com | PGP 

Crofton 7 copyCrofton Black is a researcher, journalist and writer with extensive experience of complex investigations in the field of human rights abuses and counter-terrorism. He is a leading expert on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation programme and a specialist in military and intelligence corporate contracting. He is leading the Bureau’s project on CIA Torture. He has a PhD in the history of philosophy from the University of London.





Josh Robbins
Google Fellow

josh 1

Josh Robbins joined the Bureau in June 2016 as a Google News Lab Fellow. The Bureau was one of seven media partners chosen by Google to launch the News Lab Fellowship in the UK. The initiative places recent graduates showing a flair for data journalism with leading media organisations.
Josh completed an MA in investigative journalism at City University London. His data project made the Evening Standard’s front page.





Owen Bennett-Jones

Owen 2 cropped Owen Bennett-Jones is a Consultant to the Bureau. He is one of the UK’s most distinguished and experienced journalists specialising in South Asia and the Middle East. He has worked for the BBC for 25 years and has published widely on Pakistani politics and society. He has been a visiting Professor at Princeton University.






Payenda Sargand
Consultant journalist

payenda sargandPayenda Sargand has been working as a consultant to the Bureau since 2014, having started his journalism career in 2002 in Kabul where he worked for Afghan media. Fluent in Pashto and Dari, he joined the BBC as a producer in 2005 and in recent years he has been the director of an advisory and language services company. In 2010, he published his first socio-political book on Afghan migration to the UK and he is currently studying for his MSc in criminology and criminal justice. He continues to work for the BBC.




(All photographs by Garlinda Birkbeck.)


In addition to these permanent members of staff, the Bureau also works with experienced freelancers. These have included Melanie McFadyean, writer, journalist and former lecturer at City University London, Rachel Stevenson, a BBC producer and journalist, Victoria Hollingsworth, an experienced TV assistant producer and Jason Lewis, formerly the investigations editor of the Sunday Telegraph.

Trustees and Advisory Board

The Bureau has a board of trustees, which meets six times a year. The trustees have overall responsibility for the finances and strategy of the Bureau. It plays no part in the day to day editorial decisions. The board appoints the Managing Editor, who has editorial freedom to pursue investigations and research consistent with the objectives of the Bureau set out here.

There is one sub-committee of the board – the Editorial Advisory Committee, which meets monthly. The role of the EAC is to ensure that the managing editor’s selection of subjects for investigation is consistent with the Bureau’s objectives, that the methods of investigation are technically rigorous and of high quality and the publishing partnerships will not adversely affect the reputation of the Bureau.

In fulfilling this role, the EAC is a forum in which both advice and suggestions can be given and also ideas and methods of investigation can be challenged. However, the EAC is similar to the supervisory (Aufsichtsrat) board in Germany – it has a monitoring, not a management role. If the EAC believes that the Editor is not meeting the objectives of the Bureau, it can inform the chair of the trustees.

Between the regular meetings of the EAC, the members of the committee are available for advice, should the Managing Editor wish to consult with them. The Managing Editor informs the chair of the EAC when the results of an investigation are about to be published.

Composition of the Board of Trustees

James Lee

The Chairman of the board is James Lee, former chief executive of Pearson Longman and a main board director of its parent company Pearson plc; co-founder of Goldcrest Film and TV and a former director of Yorkshire Television and the Film Council. He has advised or served on the boards of a number of international media companies, as well as having been the chairman of an NHS Hospital Trust.

The other trustees are:

George Brock is a professor of journalism at City University London. Between 2009 and 2014 he was of the journalism department. Before that, he had a 28 year career on the Times, where he held a number of senior posts, including Managing Editor and International Editor. George Brock serves as an ex officio trustee, representing City University.

David Potter CBE, academic, scientist and entrepreneur. He founded Psion in 1980 and led its development in software and the world’s first consumer hand-held computers. Together with Nokia, Sony, Ericsson and Motorola, he created Symbian the first licensed software merging mobile phones and portable computers. In 1999 he was named Britain’s Entrepreneur of the year. David has served on national committees on higher education, science and technology and The Court of the Bank of England. He and his wife Elaine established the David and Elaine Potter Foundation.

Elaine Potter is co-founder of the David and Elaine Potter Foundation. A former member of the Sunday Times Insight team she co-authored several Sunday Times books, including Suffer the Children: the Story of Thalidomide and Destination Disaster: From the Tri-Motor to the DC10. Born in South Africa, she is a trustee of the University of Cape Town Trust.

Geoffrey Robertson QC has appeared in a wide range of high profile court cases, especially those dealing with freedom of expression, media law and constitutional law. He is joint author of the standard text Media Law.

Christopher Hird Former managing editor of the Bureau, Christo has a long career in journalism and documentary making. He runs Dartmouth Films and worked as a journalist on the Economist, the New Statesman and as an editor of  the Sunday Times Insight team.

Professor Michael Bromley is head of journalism at City University London. He has taught at universities in the UK, USA and Australia. He has published seven books and more than 50 chapters and articles. Prior to working at City University London he was head of the School of Journalism and Communication at The University of Queensland, Australia.

The Editorial Advisory Committee

Christopher Hird
Chair of the Editorial Advisory Committee

Christo 1Christopher Hird is the founder and managing director of the independent documentary making company Dartmouth Films. His career spans a period as a stockbroker, a journalist – on the Economist, as editor of Insight on the Sunday Times and deputy editor of the New Statesman – and television reporter and producer. From January 2013 to July 2014 he was the Managing Editor of the Bureau. He is a visiting professor at the City University, London and a trustee of One World Media, the Wincott Foundation and the Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund.


The other members are:

Elaine Potter (see above).

George Brock (see above).

Anthony Barnett is the Founder of openDemocracy and Co-Editor of OurKingdom, its UK section.

Isabel Hilton is founder and editor of chinadialogue.net – a website for climate change and environmental issues in China. As a writer and broadcaster, she has contributed to The Independent, The Guardian, El Pais, The Financial Times, Le Monde, La Republica, the New York Times, and The Sunday Times.

Gavin MacFadyen is director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, and research consultant to several US documentary and feature film companies.  He is a former producer-director of television programmes shown on all the main UK TV channels.

Simon Ford is a freelance executive producer of television documentaries. He worked for 20 years at the BBC where, among other things, he edited Rough Justice and Question Time and directed and produced a large number of investigations. Among his screen credits are the BAFTA winners The Secret Policeman and The Tower. Since leaving the BBC he has produced series for both the BBC and Channel Four, including Coppers, 999 What’s Your Emergency and The Secret History of Our Streets.

Emma Prest is general manager of DataKind UK, a not-for-profit worldwide organisation focused on finding ways that data science can be applied to solve the world’s biggest challenges. Emma handles the day-to-day operations of DataKind UK, supporting the influx of volunteers and building understanding about what data science can do in the charitable sector. Emma was previously a programme coordinator in the evidence and action programme at Tactical Tech, providing hands-on help for activists using data in evidence-based campaigns.

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