I have left POLITICO at the end of April. I will focus on making documentaries about economic crime and human trafficking in the coming months, and in the meantime I will be publishing my journalism with a team of digital desperados I am putting together at Reporter.London – a website I’ve bought recently, which I aim to make into a proper modern news agency and production company.
This is the most terrifying thing I’ve done in my life and that’s saying something given the sticky situations I’ve been in at various times in the past. But it’s also the most exhilarating, and if nothing comes of it, I’ll always be able to get back to ordinary reporting jobs.
The team at POLITICO have been brilliant over the past three and almost a half years in Brussels and London, and I will miss working with such sharp professionals. This move is not a reflection on them or the title. It’s that I’ve been feeling increasingly that online journalism in recent years has been straying from the purpose I’ve had in mind when I was homeless in London 10 years ago as I gave everything up in my country of birth to migrate and get involved in this trade. And I believe there’s a different way to do things. A way to transmit to the reader not just the news and analysis, but also the sense of joy and mischief that the reporter feels when working the beat. To focus on the content as much as the package, and to be driven by intelligence on the ground rather than the latest Twitter trend.
Reporter.London will only do exclusive, original journalism that you can’t read, hear or watch anywhere else. We will publish it on our own as well as in partnership with established media, which is already increasingly outsourcing investigative work to specialised groups. We will also aim over time to become comfortable across platforms and mediums, from tabloid formats, to TikTok, long reads, quick morning hits and big feature film productions.
We will do heavy stories, tough stories, undercover jobs, stories that do damage where damage is just, and that will make us a lot of powerful enemies, so we will also be seeking financial support.
We’ll be revealing corporate and political malfeasance, organised crime, dirty money, and corruption, with a global audience in mind, but also focusing, for now at least, on the regions of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Returning to first principles of investigation, reporting and publishing is going to be horribly difficult but doubtless very rewarding at times. And we will also do fun, colourful features, revelatory profiles and interviews with important people, including through the hip medium of a podcast.
Later there will be satirical essays, polemic, cartoons, and who knows what else, as the mood and the sourcing takes us.
It’s mine to lose, people. This idea has been eating at me for a few years and if I’m going to fail I won’t feel any shame, although I decided it’s better to fail now than later.
Thanks for reading, and thanks especially to my supportive family and friends who encouraged me instead of telling me to seek psychiatric help (some did both). If you want to get in contact I’m easy to find.
Closing this out with a link to my articles on POLITICO and a list of the ones I liked most below. The rough date of launch for the new site is pencilled in as May 30.