The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

CIJ Christmas 2020 Reading and Listening List

It’s this time of year again, when no doubt you will have lots of time to spare and will use it to enhance your intellect by listening to cool journalism podcasts and reading books. We definitely will be doing that (what else is there to do?), so here is our list.



Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. By John Carreyrou.
The investigation behind the rise and fall of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup that made false claims about its technology. The book received critical acclaim, winning the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.
Tyler Shultz, the whistleblower who first raised the alarm on Theranos spoke at the recent CIJ Logan Symposium. > CIJ Logan Symposium 2020: An interview with Theranos Whistleblower Tyler Shultz.


Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drugs Boom. By Katherine Eban.
From an award-winning journalist and our #CIJSummer Conference 2020 and #CIJLogan2020 Symposium speaker, an explosive narrative investigation of the generic drug boom that reveals fraud and life-threatening dangers on a global scale—The Jungle for pharmaceuticals.
> Bottle of Lies – HarperCollins


Burned: The Inside Story of the ‘Cash-for-Ash’ Scandal and Northern Ireland’s Secretive New Elite. By Sam McBride.
A riveting political thriller from the journalist who covered the controversy for over two years, Burned is the inside story of the shocking scandal that brought down a government. Sam McBride was a keynote speaker at the #CIJLyraMcKee Investigative Journalism Bursary Scheme launch in Belfast.
> Burned: The Inside Story of the ‘Cash-for-Ash’ Scandal and Northern Ireland’s Secretive New Elite by Sam McBride (


Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.  By Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West.
Some of it is obvious, a lot of it is eye opening. In the times of fake news, this book is a must.
> Calling Bullshit.


Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics. By Peter Geoghegan.
This is the story of how money, vested interests and digital skulduggery are eroding trust in democracy.
> Democracy for Sale | Head of Zeus


Footwork: What Your Shoes are Doing to the World. By Tansy E. Hoskins.
Taking us deep into the heart of an industry that is exploiting workers and deceiving consumers, we begin to understand that if we don’t act fast, this humble household object will take us to the point of no return.
> Footwork | Waterstones


Rage. By Bob Woodward.
Woodward has uncovered the precise moment the president was warned that the Covid-19 epidemic would be the biggest national security threat to his presidency. But this too became controversial, as the author himself has been asked why he kept this information until the publication of this book.
> Rage | Waterstones


Reporter: a Memoir. By Seymour Hersh.
Not fresh off the press, but doesn’t get old. Legendary investigative journalist talks about his life and career. Here he speaks at the CIJ Logan event.
> Reporter: A Memoir |


Long reads

How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda. By Jiayang Fan.
A wonderfully loving account of one mother and one daughter’s struggle in the Covid-19 times, hijacked by the Chinese propaganda machine. Jiayang Fan spoke at the #CIJLogan2020 Symposium.
> How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda | The New Yorker


Katherine Eban’s long reads for Vanity Fair. Katherine is an investigative journalist and writer, specialising in pharmaceuticals. She wrote a series of health and pharma related stories for the magazine. Including stories on the Trump rally in Tulsa, vaccine producing plants and an expose of the FDA Commissioner’s personal interventions on behalf of Trump’s favorite chloroquine doctor. She also spoke at our #CIJSummer Conference 2020 and #CIJLogan2020 Symposium.
> Katherine Eban Latest Articles | Vanity Fair


The Mystery of the Gatwick Drone. By Samira Shackle.
A drone sighting caused the airport to close for two days in 2018, but despite a lengthy police investigation, no culprit was ever found. So what exactly did people see in the Sussex sky?
> The Mystery of the Gatwick drone | UK news | the Guardian


Unmasking Stakeknife: The most notorious double agent in British history. By James Harkin
Our Director James Harkin’s long read about intelligence skullduggery in Northern Ireland was published in October’s GQ magazine and got a mention by, among others, David David MP and the Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
> Unmasking Stakeknife: the most notorious double agent in British history | GQ



The Dark Money Files. By Graham Barrow and Ray Blake. Money laundering, corruption, bribery and tax evasion explained in plain language. You’ll be outraged by just how much of it goes on routinely. Graham is another #CIJSummer speaker. And even if we say so ourselves – he’s gooood!
> The Dark Money Files |


Investigate Europe Podcast. Investigate Europe is a team of ten journalists who cover pan-European issues. In these podcasts they discuss fossil fuel subsidies, migration crisis and tax havens.
> Investigate Europe Podcast


Longform Podcast. A weekly conversation with a non-fiction writer on how they tell stories. In the space of an hour Longform’s hosts attempt to unpick how journalists got scoops, started their careers and brought huge stories to the page.
> Longform Podcast
> A few of the CIJ speakers have been guests on the podcast: some we particularly enjoyed listening to are: Katherine Eban, Nicholson Baker, Jiayang Fan.


The Messenger. A true crime / journalism podcast by Shiv Malik.
Shiv spoke at #CIJSummer Conference 2019 and boy, is he a good speaker! You will no doubt enjoy this podcast based on the book of the same name. You can watch his #CIJSummer Talk here.
> The Messenger. A true crime / journalism podcast
> #CIJSummer 2019. Let’s talk about sources – Shiv Malik in conversation with Jane Bradley | YouTube


Mental Illness Happy Hour. In this episode, host Paul Gilmartin is joined by the Northern Irish journalist Mary O’Hara. The first pupil from her inner-city high school to attend Cambridge, Mary talks about the poverty, violence and dysfunction that defined her childhood in West Belfast, Northern Ireland.
> Mental Illness Happy Hour


My Mother’s Murder. A Paul Caruana Galizia’s podcast for The Tortoise. Poignant, painful, truthful.
> My Mother’s Murder


Page 94: the Private Eye Podcast. An (almost) monthly podcast, focusing on the biggest topics of the time. Delivered with the Eye’s typical wit, it features the magazine’s journalists. Our favourite episodes from 2020 are Nice Footwork (featuring the winners of the Paul Foot Awards) and the US Elections Fake News Special.
> Page 94: The Private Eye Podcast


The Tip Off Podcast. By Maeve McClenaghan. If you are serious about investigative journalism, this podcast is a must. It takes you behind the scenes of some of the best investigations in the UK. Don’t miss an episode on Dark Money about Peter Geoghegan’s investigation into the dark world of campaign spending or Under Our Noses, Nadine White’s expose of SPAC Nation church practices by some of their pastors.
> The Tip Off | Acast

Watch Peter Geoghegan speak at #CIJSummer 2017 on our Building Community Journalism panel.
> #CIJSummer 2017: Building Community Journalism | YouTube

Watch Nadine White and Emma Youle talk at #CIJSummer 2020 about their SPAC Nation investigation.
> #CIJSummer 2020. SPAC Nation Exposé | YouTube

CIJ 2020: A Year in Review

What a year! We almost forgot what happened in January-February, since all of it has been totally overshadowed by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Since this is a year in review, let's start from the beginning.