About the CIJ
Here’s a little bit about what we do, how we do it and why we do it.
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
More recently we’ve taken our industry-leading investigative training to dozens of cities and towns around the UK and Ireland to help train a new cadre of investigative journalists, with our Access To Tools programme teaching digital tools, and our ongoing, capacity-building work among .among community and independent media. In addition to the Summer Conference and our year-round scheduled and bespoke training programmes we run regular 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 propagate the craft of investigative journalism, to promote its value, and to defend investigative journalists and all those who work with them from attacks and intimidation.
As our reputation for new ideas developed, so too did 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 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 economic models of all kinds for public-interest journalism.
The CIJ is also addressing the narrowing demographics of the profession. With the help of the family of the slain journalist Lyra McKee, we’re also working hard give more people from working-class and disadvantaged backgrounds a leg-up into investigative journalism via an outreach programme and an annual Lyra McKee bursary programme enabling beneficiaries from around the UK and Ireland to attend our annual Summer conference.
Building on our reputation for innovation and for genuinely independent, critical thinking, in 2014 the CIJ began curating unique, politically challenging large-auditorium international Symposia with the help and support of the Reva & David Logan Foundation. The first took place at The Barbican in London in December 2014, the second at The Berlin Congress Center in March 2016, and the third at our home in Goldsmiths, University of London. Our media partners were, in turn, the Guardian, Der Spiegel magazine and The Intercept. All three events brought together an international cast of investigative reporters, hackers, thinkers, lawyers and artists in a mould-breaking combination to challenge power, defend freedom and democracy from state intrusion, and to open out investigative journalism into fertile new territory.
In the era of “fake news”, the CIJ sees it as its mission to stimulate creative 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. The 4th CIJ Logan will take place in November 2020, and will be as innovative and as international as ever. Visit the Symposium section of the website for regular updates.
Investigative journalism is an essential pillar of democratic society – a bloodhound as well as a watchdog – to expose criminality, immorality or wrongdoing as well as to hold elites and the powerful to account.
At the CIJ our approach to ethics is rooted in the professional ethics intrinsic to good journalism. Investigative journalism should be founded on the public interest, integrity and reliability. It should be fact-based and, as far as possible, transparent about its methods. Reporters should always strive for accuracy. Buying information, illegally hacking telephones and computers or other similar methods must only be considered and deployed where justified in the most exceptional public interest.
The very nature of investigative reporting, however, means that the information-gathering methods employed in its production can be intrinsically intrusive. Where information-gathering methods involve covert surveillance, undercover filming, sting operations, the use of subterfuge, or the invasion of privacy of individuals, the methods and degree of intrusion must be proportionate and justified by the seriousness of the story, and the public good likely to follow from its publication. Reporters must protect not only their sources’ identities but should keep their communications with sources confidential. They should take all available steps to protect the safety and security of their work product.