Iain Overton
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) has published its first story - a joint investigation with the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The not-for-profit bureau, which was officially launched in April and operates out of City University London with 17 freelance and full-time staff, will seek out a range of multimedia partners to collaborate and distribute investigations.

Its first story has been published in the BMJ and broadcast by Al Jazeera English, before being picked up by other news organisations. It reports on links between key scientists advising the World Health Organisation (WHO) on pandemic influenza and drug companies benefiting from the WHO's decisions.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk ahead of its launch in April, Iain Overton, managing editor (pictured), told Journalism.co.uk that the bureau was not intended to be a publisher itself, but had already been commissioned by Channel 4 News and has a collaboration agreement with the Financial Times and definite interest from Channel 4's Dispatches.

Collaborations can help provide the funding and resources necessary for heavyweight investigations and produce multi-platform results, rather than an investigation that lives and dies within one medium, he said at the time.

"There are new opportunities in terms of creating ways in which journalists collaborate and bringing print journalists and broadcast journalists to create a multimedia offering. The challenge is persuading the editors that they can allow this to happen. And that's what the experimental element of the bureau is about - now I won't be the first person who has tried to do this, clearly, but it may be that I have the financial investment in the story in the first place to cause editors to be a little more lenient in their relationships," he said.

The bureau, which received a founding grant of £2 million will also experiment with new business models for journalism, including the commercial development of data scraping technology used by its own investigative team.

Speaking at its launch, James Lee, chair of the bureau's trust, said a £6 million in total would be needed to secure the bureau's future over the next five years.

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