The Bureau of Investigative Journalism today launches a two-year project to support local media data investigations funded by a €662,000 grant from Google.
With support from the Bureau itself funding The Bureau Local comes to €945,000 (£816,000 at the current exchange rate).
Former Times journalist Megan Lucero is heading up The Bureau Local working with four-time regional press weekly reporter of the year Gareth Davies, Maeve McClenaghan (who joins from Greenpeace) and Charles Boutaud (who joins from Trinity Mirror’s data unit).
The Bureau said in a statement: “The aim is to bring computational skills and investigative capacity to time-starved local reporters, in order to find the public interest stories hidden in vast banks of data.
“The Bureau Local will build and collaborate with a network of local journalists, technologists, community-minded citizens and specialist contributors, seeking input from them on the stories they want to tell, and working together to access and interpret the relevant datasets where those stories are found.
“Regional journalism has come under significant commercial pressure in the last decade, at the same time the digitisation of information has grown exponentially. Having the tools to access and analyse this abundance of data is critical for effective reporting in today’s society, but most local newsrooms don’t have the capacity.”
The Bureau Local has already partnered with Flourish, a new data visualisation platform, and the Alan Turing Institute, a UK data science organisation.
The project has Google funding for two years and will then have to find a new source of financial support.