Tag Archives: the london weekly

Help Me Investigate – anatomy of an investigation

Earlier this year I and Andy Brightwell conducted some research into one of the successful investigations on my crowdsourcing platform Help Me Investigate. I wanted to know what had made the investigation successful – and how (or if) we might replicate those conditions for other investigations.

I presented the findings (presentation embedded above) at the Journalism’s Next Top Model conference in June. This post sums up those findings.

The investigation in question was ‘What do you know about The London Weekly?‘ – an investigation into a free newspaper that was (they claimed – part of the investigation was to establish if this was a hoax) about to launch in London.

The people behind the paper had made a number of claims about planned circulation, staffing and investment that most of the media reported uncritically. Martin Stabe, James Ball and Judith Townend, however, wanted to dig deeper. So, after an exchange on Twitter, Judith logged onto Help Me Investigate and started an investigation.

A month later members of the investigation had unearthed a wealth of detail about the people behind The London Weekly and the facts behind their claims. Some of the information was reported in MediaWeek and The Media Guardian podcast Media Talk; some formed the basis for posts on James Ball’s blog, Journalism.co.uk and the Online Journalism Blog. Some has, for legal reasons, remained unpublished. Continue reading

Help Me Investigate and The London Weekly

Since the middle of last week a group of people on crowdsourcing platform Help Me Investigate* have been asking questions about The London Weekly, a new freesheet that was due to launch in the capital.

The team behind the publication – ‘Global Publishing Group’ – had boasted £10.5m investment and a 50-strong team. But the public face of The London Weekly, the lack of advertising for those jobs, and lack of registration for the company, raised some eyebrows.

The paper did indeed launch on the Friday, although the distribution was limited (despite a promised circulation of 250,000) and the production values poor. More questions were being asked.

By then the Help Me Investigate group had already dug up quite a bit on the publication – in particular, a number of links between The London Weekly and the Invincible Group. My particular favourite was ‘Joe-T”s discovery that Jordan Kensington, the founder of the Invincible Group, claims to own a primary school named after Mother Theresa. The untraceable ‘Editor in Chief’ listed on The London Weekly website also happens to be ‘Agnes A. Theresa’.

Another discovered that the ‘Investor Relations’ page on the Invincible Group’s website has been copied from the Ryanair website (even down to ‘Latest Passenger figures’), while others discovered recently created Wikipedia entries edited by just one, new, user.

The investigation is still trying to track down all of the 50+ staff listed on The London Weekly website, most of whom appear to be freelancers who have had little or no involvement with the paper, or names with no apparent online presence.

In addition, we are now looking to contact advertisers who have appeared in the paper to see what they know about the publication.

Meanwhile, James Ball has written an open letter to The London Weekly laying out the questions raised by the investigation so far. It’s pretty lengthy, and gives a perfect summary of what has been dug up so far by various people.

If you want to join the investigation – whether that’s simply to browse, or make a simple phonecall – post a comment below, send me a tweet, or use the form on Help Me Investigate.

*Disclosure for non-regular readers: Help Me Investigate is run by me, Nick Booth, Colin Meek, Jon Bounds and Stef Lewandowski.