The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Britain’s answer to the American ProPublica and working out of City University, hit the ground running this weekend with the publication of its first story, a joint investigation with the British Medical Journal. The story revealed that a number of scientists who have advised the World Health Organisation on a possible flu pandemic have done paid work for drug firms who stood to benefit from WHO plans to deal with a major outbreak.
Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine in Washington and who chairs the WHO committee which reviews plans for the H1N1 virus, quickly released a statement saying that his commitee would be looking at this question when it next meets.
The story ran early on Al-Jazeera and was picked up quickly by The Guardian and dozens of others. A small milestone in the efforts to rebuild the strength of investigative journalism beyond mainstream new organisations. More scoops to follow. (Declaration: I’m a BIJ trustee.)