Organising an Online Investigation Team
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Organising an Online Investigation Team

How to work collaboratively in a multi-platform, multimedia world

About the Book

Journalism has changed: multi-platform, networked, and always on, the modern journalist is expected to be able to write for multiple media across numerous platforms, while collaborating with communities (we used to call them audiences).

The investigation team explained in this mini ebook is all about adapting to that change - and challenging everything you thought you knew.

Originally written for undergraduate journalism students at Birmingham City University, the five roles in the team are designed to develop a particular aspect of newsgathering and production, from multimedia to community management; data journalism to content curation. These will help you to move beyond the 'news reports' you may be used to producing, and develop a range of new skills for a multiplatform age. Along the way you'll be creating something unique to stand out from the crowd of other aspiring journalists.

About the Author

Paul Bradshaw
Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw runs the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, where he is an associate professor. He publishes the Online Journalism Blog, and is the founder of investigative journalism website HelpMeInvestigate. He has written for the Guardian and Telegraph’s data blogs,, Press Gazette, InPublishing, Nieman Reports and the Poynter Institute in the US. Formerly Visiting Professor at City University’s School of Journalism in London, He is the author of the Online Journalism Handbook, now in its second edition, Magazine Editing (3rd Edition) with John Morrish and Mobile-First Journalism with Steve Hill. Other books which Bradshaw has contributed to include Investigative Journalism (second edition), Web Journalism: A New Form of Citizenship; and Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives.

His books on Leanpub include Scraping for JournalistsFinding Stories in Spreadsheets, the Data Journalism Heist, Snapchat for Journalists, and 8000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way.

Bradshaw has been listed in’s list of the leading innovators in journalism and media and Poynter’s most influential people in social media. In 2010, he was shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year. In 2016 he was part of a team that won the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

In addition to teaching and writing, Paul acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism. You can find him on Twitter @paulbradshaw

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The investigation: pieces building towards a story
  • 3. Your investigation team
  • 4. Outside of the team: tutors, mentors, peers and networks
  • 5. Investigation ideas
  • 6. The single-issue site
    • Setting up your site
  • 7. Roles in the team - the short version
    • The Editor (Ed)
    • The Community Manager (CM)
    • The Data Journalist (DJ)
    • The Multimedia Journalist (MM)
    • The Network Aggregator (NA)
  • 8. The Editor (E)
    • What ingredients will your investigation need?
    • Who will gather each ingredient?
    • But what do I do?
    • How to do it
    • 7 ways to follow a field you want to investigate
    • 1. Prepackaged news
    • 2. Corridors of power
    • 3. Events
    • 4. Reluctant disclosures
    • 5. Reports, research and consultations
    • 6. Affected communities
    • 7. Experts and observers
    • A style guide for collaborative journalism
    • 1. Write ‘news that I can use’
    • 2. End your posts with a baton that others can pick up
    • 3. Create momentum by posting small things, often, as you move towards your target
  • 9. The Community Manager (CM)
    • 6 ways to get started in community management
    • 1. Know where the communities are
    • 2. Look for problems to solve
    • 3. Be interested – listen and ask questions
    • 4. Create content out of the process of discovery
    • 5. Link, retweet, attribute and comment
    • 6. Read about community management
  • 10. The Data Journalist (DJ)
    • Step-by-step: How to start in a data journalist role
    • 1: Brainstorm data that might be relevant to your investigation or field
    • 2. Learn advanced techniques to obtain that data
    • 3. Pull out the parts of data relevant to your field/investigation
    • 4. Add value to the data
    • 5. Communicate the story in the data
  • 11. The Mobile and Multimedia Producer (MM)
    • How to get started as a multimedia journalist
    • Step 1: Look for multimedia opportunities in your journalism
    • Step 2: Plan and practise
    • Step 3: Improve the technical side with an understanding of principles
    • Step 4: Start simple, and go from there
  • 12. The Curation Journalist (CJ)
    • How to be a Curation Journalist
    • 7 ways to follow a field you want to investigate
    • 1. Prepackaged news
    • 2. Corridors of power
    • 3. Events
    • 4. Reluctant disclosures
    • 5. Reports, research and consultations
    • 6. Affected communities
    • 7. Experts and observers
  • 13. Further reading
    • Resources on newsroom organisation

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