The former BBC producer who worked on Newsnight’s spiked Jimmy Savile investigation, Meirion Jones, has joined the Bureau of Investigative Journalism as investigations editor.
Jones won the Daniel Pearl award for his investigation into the dumping of Trafigura’s toxic waste in Africa and the London Press Awards scoop of the year for his part in the Jimmy Savile revelations.
He left the BBC in 2014 after 26 years and told Press Gazette in 2015 that he felt he had been squeezed out of the corporation. Along with Liz MacKean he worked on an investigation which was set to reveal sex abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile but which was spiked by BBC bosses in November 2011.
He joins the Bureau as it expands with the help of a £520,000 grant from Google to help fund a project to analyse large databases for original stories at local and regional levels. The London-based bureau has funding from a variety of foundations.
It now has a total full-time editorial team of eight. It is also recruiting a production editor, two journalists and a director of a new data team. And later in the year it will be bringing in three more people to work on the Google-backed project bringing the total editor headcount up to 15.
Bureau managing editor Rachel Oldroyd said: “At a time when the British media industry is hit by severe cuts, I believe the Bureau has a vital part to play in producing hard-hitting, important stories in the public interest.
“Meirion Jones was behind some of the biggest stories of the past ten years. He brings significant experience to the Bureau and I could not be more pleased by his appointment.””
Jones said: “I am really looking forward to working with a great team which will be breaking even more stories, as the Bureau moves up to a new level.
“What excites me is that while many parts of the media seem to be retreating from investigations, the Bureau is going to be putting more resources into vital stories.”