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In the world of budget cuts and newsroom shrinkage, media organisations often do not have a single health reporter. However, health is one of the most important beats of our times.

Globally, a third of deaths are linked to industries like ultra-processed food, tobacco and fossil fuels. Marginalised and poor communities often pay the highest prices for these industrial practices and products.

But the public will not know about this unless these industries are investigated. And given the size of the global corporations and their international footprint, it is asking a lot for a single newsroom to meaningfully scrutinise them.

Enter The Examination, a freshly created US-based non-profit investigative startup. Their approach to journalism was once unthinkable in the competitive media industry - they share resources, stories and even scoops.

The collaborative network works with brands such as The Washington Post, Der Spiegel or the Guardian to uncover how unhealthy products are manufactured, marketed and sold, putting pressure on, and demanding accountability from, governments and corporations.

The first few stories examined how the big food industry pays influencer dietitians to promote diet soda and sugar on Instagram and TikTok; the impact of vaping on health; and the power and influence of China’s tobacco monopoly.

Resource-sharing is an important part of its mission. The Examination partners with journalists in developing countries who face adversity when reporting on their communities, sometimes lacking basics like electricity and computers.

Another advantage of pooling resources is collaboration around safety and legal advice, which can help protect journalists investigating governments and corporations, especially in the countries of the global south.

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All the stories are freely accessible on The Examination website, as they are in the public interest.

"There is no way we are going to make money by doing stories about people who are dying because of industrial practices and products," says Ben Hallman, executive editor and founder of The Examination, adding that the operation is financed by a combination of funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a grant from Pulitzer Center and donations.

Read more: New global network investigates obstacles to climate action

The organisation launched only a couple of weeks ago and is already looking to expand its roster of reporters and editors, especially in the countries in the global south.

"We are not trying to tick country boxes though," says Hallman. "We are following stories that can affect positive change."

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