Tradecraft and Ideas

Tradecraft and Ideas

Tradecraft

The CIJ’s core charitable purpose is the training and education of journalists in advanced investigative techniques: what we call tradecraft. We were established in 2003 by the late investigative journalist and film-maker Gavin MacFadyen with the help of the investigative journalist Michael Gillard and others, as an urgent response to the worrying fall-off in investigative reporting within the mainstream media.

Since then the key event in our calendar has been our annual Summer Conference in London. Thus far it’s attracted thousands of journalists from thirty-five countries: including Iraq, China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Serbia. Our areas of expertise have grown to include data journalism, computer and operational security, business document analysis, illicit finance fraud and corruption, libel, privacy and defamation, unconventional evidence and covert recording, financial modelling, advanced internet searching and investigation, cross-border investigations, court and local reporting, surveillance, encryption and anonymity, and source protection. Our pioneering work in the tradecraft of investigative journalism has transformed newsrooms across Britain.

Regional and International

Most recently we’ve taken our industry-leading investigative training to major cities around the UK and Ireland  to help train a new cadre of investigative journalists. This proved an enormous, capacity-building success among community and independent media. In addition to the Summer Conference we run regular courses, lectures and seminars throughout the year in London in response to issues within investigative journalism, or threats to practising journalists. Nimble and internationally networked, with friends from Berkeley to Berlin to Johannesburg, the CIJ seeks to promote the value of independent investigative journalism, to propagate the craft of investigative journalism, and to defend investigative journalists and all those who work with them from attacks and intimidation. 

Ideas

As our reputation for credibility and critical thinking have developed, so too have our ambitions. In its early years the CIJ was instrumental in championing data journalism and in bringing its best practitioners from the United States to the UK. In keeping with our mission to support promising new experiments in investigative reporting, our interns and our Director Gavin MacFadyen were central to the early development of Wikileaks. In 2009 the CIJ was instrumental in the establishment of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a pioneering new non-profit publisher of in-depth investigative journalism. More recently we’ve taken our industry-leading investigative training around the UK to help grow new, community-focused investigative outfits: The Bristol Cable, for example, and the investigative platform The Ferret which covers Scotland. We'll continue to support alternative new models of all kinds for public-interest journalism.

Building on our work as a laboratory for innovation and a home for critical thinking, and with the help and support of the Reva & David Logan Foundation, the CIJ began curating unique, politically challenging large-auditorium international Symposia. The first took place at The Barbican in London in December 2014, and the second at The Berlin Congress Center in March 2016. Both brought together investigative reporters, hackers, intellectuals and artists in a mould-breaking combination to defend freedom and democracy from state intrusion, and to open out investigative journalism into fertile new territory. In September 2017 we added to those symposia a year-round series of Logan talks in and around our home in Goldsmiths, University of London - the better to preserve all the energy and momentum, and build an audience for our next symposia. 

In the era of “fake news”, the CIJ wants to stimulate creative, critical and courageous thinking about what investigative journalism has become and where we want it to go from here. It’s all the more pressing a task at a time when journalism is changing its form and where investigative journalism - the kind which holds power to account, and which shines a light on it at every turn - has to be nimble to survive.