My portfolio demonstrates my ability to use computer assisted reporting, combined with good old fashioned investigative techniques such as digging through public filings, to find and report public accountability stories that would otherwise remain hidden.
My investigation into Russian influence in the House of Lords with Times defence correspondent Lucy Fisher, showed members of the Lords that were being directly paid by Kremlin-linked companies were lobbying British ministers on behalf of Russian interests.
With the Times social affairs correspondent Greg Hurst, I was able to show that privately operated mental health firms were paying out large bonuses to their senior staff members, and in one case offshoring income to tax haven Belize, despite providing sub standard care to their residents.
My piece with Katie Gibbons, showed another private mental health provider, Priory Group, had ignored around a dozen warnings issued to it by coroners after the deaths of its patients, with high risk fixtures which patients could use to hang themselves not being removed from wards, and ward layouts with poor visability which had contributed to the deaths of patients being left unchanged.
With Mark Bridge, The Times’ technology correspondent, I was able to show the embattled Chinese tech company Huawei had engaged in sustained lobbing in Westminster, donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to British politicians and political groups, and meeting ministers dozens of times, despite serious concerns about the security of its software.
At the BBC, I was able to use source-led freedom of information requests to reveal that hospitals in the capital had to buy in more special extra-large mortuary fridges to deal with the number of obese corpses they were dealing with, as a result of the obesity crisis.
I used the same technique with my investigation into local government finances at The Times, using source-led freedom of information requests, paired with programmatic analysis of published spending filings of struggling councils, to show councils were spending millions of pounds on consulting firms to advise them on how to save money, despite serious cuts to services, and paying other consultants for crucial public work such as analysing clown festivals and pantomimes.
I was able to show, using mapping of London crime data, the geography of knife crime in the capital, and how a number of weapons possession offences were highly concentrated along one road in north London, the A10. With my colleague Gareth Furby, we were able to talk to key community figures along the road to find out why, and forced the Metropolitan Police to admit it had had to increase its presence in the area to tackle crime along the artery.
This work combined source handling to provide intelligence for stories, computer assisted reporting techniques, largely programmes written in R, to analyse documents and to convert them into a form that could be efficiently queried, and a thorough aptitude for public record request filings, to deliver unique, data-led public interest investigative reporting.
What makes this project innovative?
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Source and methodology