2020

George Greenwood

Category: Young journalist

Country/area: United Kingdom

Organisation: The Times, The Sunday Times

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

De I originally considered a career as a commentator, or a reporter within the political lobby in Westminster, when I commenced City Journalism School in 2015. I had discovered my love of journalistic writing the previous year during Masters at the London School of Economics interviewing politicians public figures for the features section at the unfortunately named “Beaver” student paper. I was excited by the possibility of being a voice of authority, and to try and effect change, and I had imagined that being in the lobby involved carefully managing confidential sources to leak information they shouldn’t in the public interest on a regular basis. However, as I continued my studies, and after reading the excellent memiors of Times political editor Phillip Webster, I was a little dissapointed to find so much of political journalism is dictated by the diary, and that much of what political journalists write is briefed at lobby lunches. When writing columns, I found myself questioning why my voice mattered. Should I not show what is wrong, not just tell, I thought. These revelations conviced me to seek out a much more aggressive form of journalism to focus my efforts. At City Journalism, I discovered, and fell in love with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a tool of accountabity. journalism. Early successes using the act to highlight hypocracy and wrongdoing, showing falling numbers of Black military officers and the poor education prospects who those who left social care conviced me this was the right direction of travel, and early specialiation allowed me the chance to continue this work at the BBC. My first reporting job nder the expert tutilage of Martin Rosenbaum, The BBC’s FOIA expert and one of the first that saw the potential of the act for journalists. The next stage of my career took place at BBC London, where I hoped to develop my investigative abilities further, working on their online, and then investigations desk. Here, I expanded my repetiore, adding more use of open data, secret filming and video investigations. However, one thing I felt I was lacking was coding ability, and was frustrated at things such as not being able to merge spreadsheets of open data to find stories. It felt like a key skill was missing, so I did something about that, and took the Centre for Investigative Journalism course in R in 2018, working to improve from this base With these newfound coding skills, I was able to be taken on by Leila Haddou to work on the Times and Sunday Times Data Team. Here, I further drove my brand of accountability journalism, mixing FOIA, analysis and matching of open data, leak analysis and good old digging through public records, to delivering five front page investigations to the news desk, including exposing previously unknown links to Russia among legislators, showing how a struggling private mental health care had been offshoring cash to Belieze, showed the Enivironment Agency had failed to properly hold water companies to account for pollution with prosections fallin tenforld, showed the large financial reserves of military charities, and revelaed the failures of Formation House to propely in my first Panama-Papers style international leak investigation with the OOCRP. For this work, I was shortlisted for young journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards, and named by Forbes as one of the 30 media professions under 30 to watch in Europe. In future, I hope to continue with this kind of work, building on my skill sets, sources, and relations with other reporters and media organisations to continue to deliver my brand of investigative

Description of portfolio:

I originally considered a career as a commentator, or a reporter within the political lobby in Westminster, when I commenced City Journalism School in 2015. I had discovered my love of journalistic writing the previous year during Masters at the London School of Economics interviewing politicians public figures for the features section at the unfortunately named “Beaver” student paper. I was excited by the possibility of being a voice of authority, and to try and effect change, and I had imagined that being in the lobby involved carefully managing confidential sources to leak information they shouldn’t in the public interest on a regular basis. However, as I continued my studies, and after reading the excellent memiors of Times political editor Phillip Webster, I was a little dissapointed to find so much of political journalism is dictated by the diary, and that much of what political journalists write is briefed at lobby lunches. When writing columns, I found myself questioning why my voice mattered. Should I not show what is wrong, not just tell, I thought. These revelations conviced me to seek out a much more aggressive form of journalism to focus my efforts. At City Journalism, I discovered, and fell in love with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a tool of accountabity. journalism. Early successes using the act to highlight hypocracy and wrongdoing, showing falling numbers of Black military officers and the poor education prospects who those who left social care conviced me this was the right direction of travel, and early specialistion in t allowed me the chance to specialise on this form of journalism at the BBC, under the expert tutilage of Martin Rosenbaum, The BBC’s FOIA expert and one of the first that saw the potential of the act for journalists. The next stage of my career took place at BBC London, where I hoped to develop my investigative abilities further, working on their online, and then investigations desk. Here, I expanded my repetiore, adding more use of open data, secret filming and video investigations. However, one thing I felt I was lacking was coding ability, and was frustrated at things such as not being able to merge spreadsheets of open data to find stories. It felt like a key skill was missing, so I did something about that, and took the Centre for Investigative Journalism course in R in 2018, working to improve from this base With these newfound coding skills, I was able to be taken on by Leila Haddou to work on the Times and Sunday Times Data Team. Here, I further drove my brand of accountability journalism, mixing FOIA, analysis and matching of open data, leak analysis and good old digging through public records, to delivering five front page investigations to the news desk, including exposing previously unknown links to Russia among legislators, showing how a struggling private mental health care had been offshoring cash to Belieze, showed the Enivironment Agency had failed to properly hold water companies to account for pollution with prosections fallin tenforld, showed the large financial reserves of military charities, and revelaed the failures of Formation House to propely in my first Panama-Papers style international leak investigation with the OOCRP. For this work, I was shortlisted for young journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards, and named by Forbes as one of the 30 media professions under 30 to watch in Europe. In future, I hope to continue with this kind of work, building on my skill sets, sources, and relations with other reporters and media organisations to continue to deliver my brand of investigative

Project links:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/global-web-of-firms-for-fraudsters-created-by-british-company-formations-house-5sb8zb238

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/formations-house-watchdogs-told-investors-to-be-wary-of-dodgy-deals-bqcdxxw6g

www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/firms-linked-to-innovate-uk-chiefs-win-millions-in-taxpayer-grants-58qt5mg27

www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/lost-notes-and-illegible-records-risking-lives-of-nhs-patients-z5sq9bt8v

www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/dams-in-danger-of-flooding-as-dozens-in-need-of-safety-work-lctsknk3r

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/river-pollution-toothless-watchdog-lets-water-giants-set-own-fines-x6z8vml3z

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scots-nhs-board-spent-thousands-on-fax-machines-and-moving-patient-records-by-taxi-2ntmpl52q