Oxford Investigates brings together people in the Oxford area who want to contribute to stories that matter to our community. We started as an initiative of the Oxford and District branch of the National Union of Journalists that aimed to find a sustainable way to do investigative, public interest stories that journalists working in the traditional local press no longer have the time to cover.
What we do
We seek to cover stories that shine a light on the widening disparities in a city where wealth, world class universities, and a vibrant economy sit side by side with poverty, ill health, struggling schools and precarious jobs in the gig economy. We seek to hold to account those in authority and ask questions about the policies and practices that are failing large sections of our community.
Who we are
Oxford Investigates is a local network led by Gill Oliver, a reporter with 12 years experience working in the local press including the Oxford Mail and Times, and Anna Wagstaff, an Oxford-based freelance health journalist. We work with other journalists, technologists, researchers and community-minded citizens who care about local accountability, transparency and public interest journalism.
Our business model
We are part of a wider effort of journalists struggling to find sustainable ways to carry out investigative local journalism, which include pioneering investigative news cooperatives such as the Bristol Cable and Glasgow Ferret, as well as The Bureau Local network. Our current efforts are focused on funding our journalism by pitching for commissions and applying for grants for specific stories for publication in national, local and hyperlocal media.
Oxford Investigates has its roots in initiatives organised by the Oxford and District NUJ branch over many years, as part of the NUJ’s Local News Matters campaign. We want to play our part in trying out new models that would enable journalists to earn a living covering local stories that require time to properly investigate.
Inspired by The Bureau Local, which had launched the previous year, in May 2018 the branch invited anyone interested to join a hack evening to help identify and analyse the mass of available statistics about care needs, care budgets and social disparities across Oxfordshire. A number of potential projects were suggested from that meeting. The first to come to fruition was our story on the 15 Year gap in life expectancy between communities in the north and south of the city.