5x15: Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, Amelia Gentleman and Peter Geoghegan
Eliot Higgins started his work in online open source investigation as a hobby on his first blog ‘The Brown Moses Blog’, named after a Frank Zappa song. His work on the UK phone hacking scandal and examining videos from the conflict in Syria led to increasing recognition among the journalist and human rights communities. His first major stories included identifying the use of so-called ‘barrel bombs’ by the Syrian military, and the smuggling of weapons to the Syrian opposition, with The Telegraph describing him as ‘the blogger who tracks Syrian rockets from his sofa’.
Higgins launched Bellingcat in 2014, and it has since grown into a team of volunteer investigators, as well as a broader community of investigators and supporters across the world, attracting funding from a range of organisations including the Open Society Foundations and National Endowment for Democracy. Bellingcat has won The Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Prize in 2015, the European Press Prize for Innovation in 2017, the Ars Electronica Prize for Digital Communities in 2018, the European Press Prize for Investigation in 2019, the London Press Club award for Digital Journalism in 2019.
Amelia Gentleman is a reporter for the Guardian. She was named Journalist of the Year at the 2019 British Journalism Awards and won the 2018 Paul Foot journalism award for her reportage on the Windrush scandal. She has also won the Orwell Prize and Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards. Previously, she was Delhi correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, and Paris and Moscow correspondent for the Guardian. Her first book, The Windrush Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020 and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019.
Peter Geoghegan is an Irish writer, broadcaster and investigations editor at openDemocracy. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the London Review of Books and dozens of other publications. He is a founder and chair of the award-winning investigative website the Ferret and was nominated for a 2019 British Journalism award and the Paul Foot award for his investigations into the Brexit referendum. His book People's Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again, was nominated for the Saltire first book award and his latest book Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics is published on 6th August from Head of Zeus.