Public interest reporting is a vital cornerstone of a healthy, functioning democracy and it all starts in our small towns and provinces. This used to be a vital function of our local media, but with the financial model under increasing pressure as paying advertising and readers disappear online it is becoming harder for stretched local papers across Europe to continue to perform this societal good. This is a problem not only for our democracies, but also for our media industries.
In 2016 we launched Bureau Local in response to this situation. Run by the London-based, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit public interest newsroom, the project was aimed at reinvigorating investigative reporting at a local level by facilitating collaboration and data journalism across hundreds of local reporters.
Through a central data journalism team working with a collaborative network of 700 local reporters and engaged citizens, in its first year Bureau Local has undertaken ten investigations, produced more than 170 original local stories and had a significant impact at national level with stories appearing on national television and findings quoted and acted on in parliament.
Rachel Oldroyd, the managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism will talk about the Bureau Local project, the stories that have been worked on, how the community has been built and the collaborations work.