End of Year Results and Festive Wishes

    2017 was the most difficult year in the life of the CIJ, after the death of our founder Gavin MacFadyen from lung cancer the previous October. It wasn’t our only loss. David Donald, legendary data trainer and long-time ally of the CIJ, died shortly after Gavin. Two much-loved staff, Juliet Ferguson and Minal Da Gama Rose, left the CIJ after years of dedicated service, though both remain loyal allies of the CIJ and are helping to build our international network.
     

    After a period of mourning, we swiftly began the work of rebuilding. Tom continued to build our expertise in local and community investigative journalism, with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and presented learning points from the project at an international conference in Ecuador. James Harkin started work at the CIJ in May as our new Director, taking over from Matt Kennard who’d stepped into the breach as interim Director in the months after Gavin’s death. Then, in the summer, came the 14th #CIJSummer Investigative Journalism Conference, which under the tutelage of Marina has become a Mecca for intrepid international reporters and journalists who want to learn and swap techniques and network among their peers. This year we were heartened to see that the range of countries and participants was as healthy as ever, the speakers as stirring and as enlightening as ever. 

     
    Then came the autumn, a time of brisk change and considerable progress for the CIJ. Marina and Tom, together with our trainer network, established a comprehensive schedule of training for the coming year, giving Turath Alsaraf, our new Operations Manager (taking over from Minal), the opportunity to redouble our marketing and our efforts to reach new audiences for investigative training. Our new Chair Isabel Hilton – a distinguished Scottish journalist with a wealth of experience both in international journalism and in running organisations – arrived, and got to work rebuilding the CIJ’s governance. In July 2017 veteran investigative journalist Martin Tomkinson and former Guardian journalist and current Goldsmiths senior lecturer Becky Gardiner joined the CIJ’s Board of Trustees. In December Gill Phillips, director of editorial legal services at The Guardian, joined the CIJ Board too. 
     
    Also this autumn, we launched a brand new #LOGANCIJ programme of talks and events intended to open out investigative journalism to new audiences and preserve as much energy as possible from our two standout, world-class biennial Symposia in 2014 and 2016. Thus far speakers for the CIJ Logan strand have spanned come from a wide-range of backgrounds and perspectives, from Pussy Riot to Jimmy Wales to Lowell Bergman, and the audiences have surpassed expectations. By December over six hundred people had attended CIJ Logan events, as we continue to build the audience for our third Logan Symposium, this time to be held in and around Goldsmiths in October 2018. The preparations for that third Symposium are now firmly underway; in November our brand new Curator/Producer for CIJ Logan talks and the Symposium, Jake Rees, started work at the CIJ, and an advisory Board has been hired to support him; it includes Susan Benn, Gavin MacFadyen’s widow, who retired from the CIJ on 31 October 2017 after a year’s hard work helping us rebuild. 
     
    Oh, and we also moved house. In October, CIJ moved into our gorgeous new offices in 37 Laurie Grove, across the road from the Word Bookshop who work with us closely on the Summer Conference and the Logan CIJ events. For the first time in our history the CIJ now has a real home, and one which presents thrilling possibilities. We hope to use it to buttress the CIJ’s reputation as a “node” linking different groups of people together and a radical thought-leader on investigative journalism and the challenges to it. With time, we hope, it will become an informal hub for students and journalists, a meeting place where ideas can be debated and plans made, a training centre for our interns, and a clinic where new projects can be discussed with students and interns.

    In November too, we began the initial design work on a fresh CIJ logo and website design. The great thing about having a new website (even one that’s long overdue) is that it will give us a chance to retell the story of what the CIJ is to new audiences. Our new tagline, CIJ: Tradecraft and Ideas, together with pathways through an entirely new website (including a great archive which will make the most of our previous work in training, tradecraft and Logan symposia) will greatly help us to do that – it should be ready by early next year. 

     
    Beyond all that, we’re hatching ambitious plans for the CIJ’s future. If all goes well, next year will see the CIJ will be script consultants to a major theatre production on surveillance and the role of investigative journalism, and hosts of a series of salons to explore the same issues. Then there’s an exciting partnership for a new festival teaching journalists the art of storytelling, about which we can’t say any more just yet. Both initiatives speak very well to the CIJ’s mission of opening out investigative journalism to new audiences, and will help stake our claim in this growing area of long-form, gripping-to-read journalism. 
    Then there’s the new Gavin MacFadyen Memorial Library on media and politics, thanks in part to a gift of Gavin’s books from Susan. As well as inspiration for new acts of investigative journalism, it will become an informal hub for volunteers, students and journalists; a meeting place where ideas can be discussed and plans made; the inspiration for critical inquiry at the intersection of investigative journalism, propaganda and “fake news”. It will also provide the perfect backdrop for our salons, our clinics and our workshops. Surrounded by our intellectual history and reminders of our pugnacious past, we feel better equipped than ever to fight for investigative journalism’s future.
    Join us in celebrating this holiday season with Andrew Garthwaite's cartoons
     
    Happy Christmas!