Bureau of Investigative Journalism lifts off

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.)

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