A data journalist who last year unmasked the identities of priority shareholders in the Royal Mail privatisation has been shortlisted for this year’s XCity Award.
Tom Warren is a reporter at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), where he has worked since graduating from City’s MA Investigative Journalism course in 2013. He was named best new journalist at the 2014 British Journalism Awards for his work on the Royal Mail story, as well as for his investigations into payday loans and political funding. The Investigative student is the fifth and final shortlisted candidate to be released.
He regularly uses the skills he learnt at City in his work. “So much of the investigative course is geared towards research – both the actual skill set and the mindset of how to approach investigative journalism. I use it every day,” he said.
The research on the Royal Mail story involved cross-referencing financial registers to discover the identity of the key shareholders. The investigation took many months, and was possible largely due to the lack of commercial pressures at the BIJ, which is a not-for-profit organisation that publishes all of its investigations for free. The bureau was formed in 2010 as a way of filling the gap left by the commercial pressures on newspapers, which often can no longer devote the time and resources required to do more in-depth investigations.
Warren said that teamwork is vital in investigative work: “One of the core things about investigative journalism is working in a team – you need to work with other people. They can point you out when you’re heading in the wrong path, they might be able to see things that you can’t. Working collaboratively allows for a much stronger story.”
Warren is one of five people to be shortlisted for the XCity Award and £500 prize, which recognises an outstanding contribution to journalism in the past year by a City alumnus.