Heather Brooke

Heather Brooke is a freelance journalist, freedom of information campaigner and professor of journalism at City University London. 


  1. Discuss the following:

a)     What is investigative journalism? Work out its definition. What areas/ organizations / people are usually targeted by investigative journalists?  

 b)     Should people have the right to subject the work of governmental officials to public scrutiny?

  1. Study the following before you watch the video

a filing cabinet — a large piece of furniture in an office, used for holding documents

to slag offto criticize (someone) in an abusive and insulting manner

a bidder — a person or organization making a formal offer for something, especially at an auction.

to pry – to enquire too inquisitively into a person’s private affairs


  1. Take notes on all the details of the corruption investigation Brooke has conducted

—        parties involved

—        subject of investigation

—        investigative activity

—        evidence

—        response to the investigation

—        revelations after the investigation

—        final outcome.

  1. Identify the connection between the following:

—        a fairy-tale about parents’ secrets and Brooke’s corruption investigation

—        the corruption investigation and democratization of information

—        democratization of information and the first Enlightenment


1. Speak on the topic:

“Investigative journalism as a tool to hold governments accountable”.

In you talk, you may want to use the following expressions from Brooke’s presentation:

to get one’s hands on the data

to release the data

to question one’s authority

officials who think they can rule over citizens without very much prying from the public

people want a say in decisions that are made in their name and with their money

getting harder to hide assets, tax avoidance, pay inequality

  1. Read some of the comments written in response to Brooke’s  talk. Try to figure out implications of each statement and say whether you agree or disagree with them:
  • WE need to remember, WE are the employers and THEY are the contract employees (4 years). They clearly need to respect the fact that WE pay them to do a job, and that WE have the right to ensure that WE are getting what WE are paying for.
  • My only concern though is where is the line between the transparency of information and invasion of privacy? Even politicians have the right to privacy but we as the people who put them in power have the right to know what they are doing with our resources, time, etc. 
  • What I would love to know is how one implements something like that in countries where: 

— level of corruption in government stretches to the legal system 

— or.. you would be given an official version of information from government 

— the government and the opposition have been lying for so many decades, it’s hard to know what’s true or not anymore.