Our people


Rachel Oldroyd
Managing editor
@Raoldroyd[email protected] | PGP

Rachel Oldroyd joined the Bureau as deputy editor shortly after its launch in 2010 and has led many of the organisation’s key projects. Before joining the Bureau she spent 13 years at the Mail on Sunday, where she ran the award-winning Reportage section in Live magazine. The section focused heavily on human rights violations and, under her editorship, won more than a dozen media awards. She started her career as a financial reporter working in the trade press. She became the Bureau’s managing editor in October 2014.



Meirion Jones


Meirion Jones
Investigations editor
@MeirionTweets | [email protected]tbij.com | PGP

Meirion Jones has a long history in breaking important stories that have had a substantial impact. He has spent much of his career at the BBC working as a producer on Panorama and Newsnight, where he was responsible for several high profile award-winning investigations. Through his successful career he has received a number of journalistic honours including the Daniel Pearl award for his investigation into the dumping of Trafigura’s toxic waste in Africa and the London Press Awards Scoop of the Year for his part in the Jimmy Savile revelations.
He joined the Bureau in 2016 in the new post of investigations editor.




Miriam Wells
Production editor
@miriambcwells[email protected] 

Miriam Wells joined the Bureau in August 2016 as production editor, a new post. She previously worked as an editor for Vice News and as a correspondent in Latin America, where she reported on issues including extrajudicial killings and illegal abortion for outlets including the Sunday Times, New York Times and Foreign Policy. Miriam started her career at the Argus newspaper in Brighton and Hove in 2004 before spending four years working for BBC radio. She has a strong interest in human rights, social justice and public interest journalism and has won or been nominated for multiple journalism awards, including an Amnesty International Media Award.


Megan Lucero
Local Data Lab Director
@megan_lucero | [email protected] | PGP

Megan Lucero joined the Bureau in January 2017 to run our new project, the Local Data Lab. She was formerly the Data Journalism Editor at The Times and Sunday Times. Megan was part of the Times’s first data journalism team and led its development from a small supporting unit to a key component of news investigations. She spearheaded The Times’s political data unit ahead of the 2015 General Election – making it the only one in the industry to reject polling data ahead of the election. Using computational method, her team brought many issues into the public discourse and won awards for revealing the widespread use of blood doping in the Olympics.



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Melanie Newman
 | [email protected] | PGP

Melanie Newman became a journalist in 2000. She worked on a specialist health service journal and then as chief reporter and deputy news editor at Times Higher Education. She joined the Bureau in 2010. She has been involved in many of the Bureau’s high profile stories including our work on lobbying and political funding.




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Abigail Fielding-Smith
@AbbieFS | [email protected] | PGP

Abigail Fielding-Smith joined the Bureau in 2014 after six years as a reporter in the Middle East, during which she covered the Arab Spring and subsequent civil war in Syria for the Financial Times. She was awarded a UK Foreign Press Award in 2013 for her role in a Financial Times investigation in to Gulf funding for Syrian rebels. Before going in to journalism she was a Commissioning Editor for politics and international affairs titles at IB Tauris, a leading independent non-fiction publisher.  She is head of editorial development at Coda Story, a digital platform for international crisis reporting.


Madlen Davies


Madlen Davies
Science and health reporter

@madlendavies | [email protected]

Madlen Davies joined the Bureau in 2016 to investigate antibiotic resistance. She has a background in health journalism, and worked for MailOnline, BBC Wales and Pulse – a trade magazine for GPs – before coming to the Bureau. In 2013 she won the Medical Journalist Association’s Young Journalist of the Year award for her investigative work.






Jack Serle
@jackserle | [email protected] | PGP

Jack Serle is a specialist reporter on the Bureau’s Covert Drone War team. He joined the Bureau in 2012 and was part of the team that won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2013 for their work on drones and the US covert war on terror. He graduated in 2010 and then studied an MA in science journalism at City University London.



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Crofton Black
Digital Investigator
@crOftOn | [email protected] | PGP 

Crofton Black is a researcher, journalist and writer with extensive experience of complex investigations in the field of human rights abuses and counter-terrorism. He is a leading expert on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation programme and a specialist in military and intelligence corporate contracting. He is led the Bureau’s project on CIA Torture and is now focused on military spending and contractors. He has a PhD in the history of philosophy from the University of London.



Jessica Purkiss


Jessica Purkiss
[email protected]

Jessica Purkiss is a junior reporter on the Bureau’s Covert Drone War team. She has been interested in the human rights for some time and completed an MA at Kingston University in human rights and genocide. Before joining the Bureau she was a staff writer and editor for Middle East Monitor where she oversaw a project focused on civilian casualties in Syria. She has also reported from Palestine.




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Owen Bennett-Jones

Owen Bennett-Jones is a Consultant to the Bureau. He is one of the UK’s most distinguished and experienced journalists specialising in South Asia and the Middle East. He has worked for the BBC for 25 years and has published widely on Pakistani politics and society. He has been a visiting Professor at Princeton University.




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Payenda Sargand
Consultant journalist

Payenda Sargand has been working as a consultant to the Bureau since 2014, having started his journalism career in 2002 in Kabul where he worked for Afghan media. Fluent in Pashto and Dari, he joined the BBC as a producer in 2005 and in recent years he has been the director of an advisory and language services company. In 2010, he published his first socio-political book on Afghan migration to the UK and he is currently studying for his MSc in criminology and criminal justice. He continues to work for the BBC.



Josh Robbins


Josh Robbins

Josh Robbins is the Bureau’s Google News Lab Fellow 2016. The Bureau was one of seven partners chosen by Google to launch the News Lab Fellowship, an initiative that places recent graduates showing a flair for data journalism with leading media organisations.

Joshcompleted an MA in investigative journalism at City University London. His data project made the Evening Standard’s front page.



(All photographs by Garlinda Birkbeck.)


In addition to these members of staff and regular contractors, the Bureau also works with experienced freelancers. These have included Andrew Wasley, a specialist investigative journalist in food and environment. Melanie McFadyean, writer, journalist and former lecturer at City University London, Rachel Stevenson, a BBC producer and journalist, Victoria Hollingsworth, an experienced TV assistant producer and Jason Lewis, formerly the investigations editor of the Sunday Telegraph.

Trustees and Advisory Board

The Bureau has a board of trustees, which meets six times a year. The trustees have overall responsibility for the finances and strategy of the Bureau. It plays no part in the day to day editorial decisions. The board appoints the Managing Editor, who has editorial freedom to pursue investigations and research consistent with the objectives of the Bureau set out here.

There is one sub-committee of the board – the Editorial Advisory Committee, which meets monthly. The role of the EAC is to ensure that the managing editor’s selection of subjects for investigation is consistent with the Bureau’s objectives, that the methods of investigation are technically rigorous and of high quality and the publishing partnerships will not adversely affect the reputation of the Bureau.

In fulfilling this role, the EAC is a forum in which both advice and suggestions can be given and also ideas and methods of investigation can be challenged. However, the EAC is similar to the supervisory (Aufsichtsrat) board in Germany – it has a monitoring, not a management role. If the EAC believes that the Editor is not meeting the objectives of the Bureau, it can inform the chair of the trustees.

Between the regular meetings of the EAC, the members of the committee are available for advice, should the Managing Editor wish to consult with them. The Managing Editor informs the chair of the EAC when the results of an investigation are about to be published.

Composition of the Board 

James Lee

The Chairman of the board is James Lee, former chief executive of Pearson Longman and a main board director of its parent company Pearson plc; co-founder of Goldcrest Film and TV and a former director of Yorkshire Television and the Film Council. He has advised or served on the boards of a number of international media companies, as well as having been the chairman of an NHS Hospital Trust.

The other trustees are:

George Brock is a professor of journalism at City University London. Between 2009 and 2014 he was head of the journalism department. Before that, he had a 28 year career on the Times, where he held a number of senior posts, including Managing Editor and International Editor.

David Potter CBE, academic, scientist and entrepreneur. He founded Psion in 1980 and led its development in software and the world’s first consumer hand-held computers. Together with Nokia, Sony, Ericsson and Motorola, he created Symbian the first licensed software merging mobile phones and portable computers. In 1999 he was named Britain’s Entrepreneur of the year. David has served on national committees on higher education, science and technology and The Court of the Bank of England. He and his wife Elaine established the David and Elaine Potter Foundation.

Elaine Potter is co-founder of the David and Elaine Potter Foundation. A former member of the Sunday Times Insight team she co-authored several Sunday Times books, including Suffer the Children: the Story of Thalidomide and Destination Disaster: From the Tri-Motor to the DC10. Born in South Africa, she is a trustee of the University of Cape Town Trust.

Geoffrey Robertson QC has appeared in a wide range of high profile court cases, especially those dealing with freedom of expression, media law and constitutional law. He is joint author of the standard text Media Law.

Christopher Hird Former managing editor of the Bureau, Christo has a long career in journalism and documentary making. He runs Dartmouth Films and worked as a journalist on the Economist, the New Statesman and as an editor of  the Sunday Times Insight team.

Don Cruikshank joined the Bureau board in 2016. Through his long career he has worked at the top of a wide range of companies including Virgin Group, Times Newspapers, SMG, Taylor & Francis, Clinovia and Audioboo. He has also run many government bodies including the National Health Service Scotland and the UK’s former telecom regulatory Oftel. He chaired a government banking review between 1998 and 2000 and was the chair of the London Stock Exchange between 2000 and 2003.

The Editorial Advisory Committee

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Christopher Hird
Chair of the Editorial Advisory Committee
[email protected] 

Christopher Hird is the founder and managing director of the independent documentary making company Dartmouth Films. His career spans a period as a stockbroker, a journalist – on the Economist, as editor of Insight on the Sunday Times and deputy editor of the New Statesman – and television reporter and producer. From January 2013 to July 2014 he was the Managing Editor of the Bureau. He is a visiting professor at the City University, London and a trustee of One World Media, the Wincott Foundation and the Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund.



The other members are:

Elaine Potter (see above).

George Brock (see above).

Anthony Barnett is the Founder of openDemocracy and Co-Editor of OurKingdom, its UK section.

Isabel Hilton is founder and editor of chinadialogue.net – a website for climate change and environmental issues in China. As a writer and broadcaster, she has contributed to The Independent, The Guardian, El Pais, The Financial Times, Le Monde, La Republica, the New York Times, and The Sunday Times.

Simon Ford is a freelance executive producer of television documentaries. He worked for 20 years at the BBC where, among other things, he edited Rough Justice and Question Time and directed and produced a large number of investigations. Among his screen credits are the BAFTA winners The Secret Policeman and The Tower. Since leaving the BBC he has produced series for both the BBC and Channel Four, including Coppers, 999 What’s Your Emergency and The Secret History of Our Streets.

Emma Prest is general manager of DataKind UK, a not-for-profit worldwide organisation focused on finding ways that data science can be applied to solve the world’s biggest challenges. Emma handles the day-to-day operations of DataKind UK, supporting the influx of volunteers and building understanding about what data science can do in the charitable sector. Emma was previously a programme coordinator in the evidence and action programme at Tactical Tech, providing hands-on help for activists using data in evidence-based campaigns.

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