Help Me Investigate: rip it up and start again (but I’ll still help you investigate)

Help Me Investigate

I’m stopping Help Me Investigate, my collaborative investigation project. It’s time to rip it up and start again.

This year has seen the launch of a number of impressive crowdfunded and crowdsourced projects on platforms including Beacon and Contributoria – plus OpenCorporates Missions and the enormously impressive Bellingcat. Their rise, for me, confirms that there is no longer a need for the original mission that Help Me Investigate took on way back in 2009.

Back then I wanted to ask a simple question: was it possible to do collaborative investigative journalism in a way that wasn’t just a one-off? Because until then that’s all there had been.

I was lucky to build a great team including Nick Booth, Stef Lewandowski and Heather Brooke, and attract contributors like James Ball and Laura Oliver, who proved ‘Yes’, you could, within the first year.

Then we tried to share that learning in detail so others could build on it. And we did it again. And shared some more.

Amazingly, people did learn from it. The site has inspired to or contributed to similar initiatives in France, Russia, and elsewhere. Contributors and site editors have taken their skills into organisations including The Guardian, Reuters, and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This week two of them won awards. One won best new journalist of the year.

What next?

I don’t know what next. It may have the Help Me Investigate name, or it may not. It may be with or in another organisation or community. I know I’d like to do more with helping young people (and others who do not feel that they have any power) to hold power to account.

So if that’s something you’re already involved in, or want to be, then please let me know. Or if you just want to be alerted to whatever comes next, please add your details here.

Meanwhile, if you are investigating something and need support, I am still happy to help where I can.

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