CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM
Most people have been shocked at the sudden closure of the Exaro website. Excepting trolls and troll websites that is.It means the end of an outlet for a cutting edge form of investigative journalism. It certainly made waves – whether on controversial allegations of child sex abuse and paedophile rings, the Dame Janet Smith findings, tax avoidance, and media stories like the ” Rupert Murdoch ” tapes.
And it is worth saying that the owner Jerome Booth, generously funded the site for five years without ever interfering in the editorial content.
Every effort will be made by Mark Conrad and me to see that these investigations and more will continue and we are having conversations with a number of people on what we do next – whether using the Exaro site or with other media organisations.
But I thought a couple of points should be made to ensure people don’t get the wrong idea.
First, conspiracy theorists please note, the site has not been closed down because of its coverage of the child sex abuse allegations and by hints from dark forces. It is purely the result of a wider financial decision
Second, the site was not scheduled for closure when its former editor in chief, Mark Watts, was first made redundant and then dismissed. Nor at that time were other people expected to lose their jobs. Logically you would not appoint new people to run a site if you wanted to close it.
Indeed we both had plans for developing new challenging stories which first appeared in the last few weeks and there were more in the pipeline. We were also looking at new commercial ideas and partners to fund the site.
This has paradoxically put us in a good position to examine alternatives for the future. We are also looking out for opportunities for Exaro staff who were there at the time of the closure so this excellent team can continue their investigations.
All I can say is watch this space. I am not commenting further on the sad and traumatic events of this week. There is the chance of a new era ahead.
Sad news about Exaro. You have all done so much important work over the years, but I know you will find a way to come back and keep us all updated with the old investigations, and inform us of newly emerging scandals as they break. Keep up the good work folks, I’m so proud of your achievements. We need more real journalists now, more than ever. 🙂
Thanks David. It has been a remarkably steep learning curb .. doing all of this. David
Appreciate being updated. Hope this period sees something emerge with a robust base that can take this important work forward with some fresh energy.
Suggested topics for future investigative journalism:
– how it could be possible for a former Kincora resident, referred to as R20 (aged 14 in 1975) in the Hughes Inquiry report, to have been “first abused at Elm Guest House at the age of 15” as reported by Exaro – when he would have been 17-18 years old at the time Elm Guest House opened in 1979 – without a time travel machine being involved.
– a full accounting of all the EGH related falsehoods which Chris Fay was the source for, published as fact by dozens of media organizations throughout the UK over 3 years including Exaro, despite these statements being unverified and/or unverifiable, and all facilitated by Exaro portraying Fay as an honorable/ truthful/ knowledgeable source to police, other media and all the people of the UK.
re your first point I had doubts – i think he originally raised this on an Australian TV programme
re your second – which follows the Panorama line – I am afraid I never relied on Chris Fay’s accounts – the original allegations about Elm Guest House did not come from people abused there but from neighbours and other people who were rather fed up with what was going on at the guest house in a quiet residential road and observed who was going there.
David – you can’t be saying that EGH neighbors were the source for “Documents from the guest house at the center of allegations about child abuse” which “have been tracked down by Exaro”, or that neighbors were the “key source” referred to herein: “The Met’s investigation began after Exaro worked with a key source to pass to detectives that detail allegations that boys were supplied from nearby Grafton close children’s home…”
I note that many of the Exaro EGH stories are attributed to Alex or to David Pallister, rather than yourself.
No I can’t.
All i can say is that I did not have personal dealings with Chris Fay and this was done by other people. Nor at that time did I have overall control of the coverage so did not see or know their sources.
My sources included people who were not abused and a number of people who were at Grafton but obviously I cannot reveal who they were.
Justin Sanity raises some interesting questions.
My understanding is that it was not Fay who first put the EGH documents online. My understanding is that it was another person, who claims to have been the founder of an organisation called ‘NAYPIC ‘, and who has used numerous aliases on her own blog.
Also, there are numerous contemporaneous MSM articles regarding EGH, from the early to to mid 1980s (the veracity or otherwise of which, I cannot vouch for).
A tangled web indeed!
The Guardian reports today that the Goddard enquiry are to approach the secret services for any information they may have on Lord Janner. Surely if in the words of the honourable Cameron and May, no stone will be left unturned, these organisations should have been ordered to release any and all information they held to the police investigating these allegations? It takes me back to the shameful decision of parliament not to offer immunity from the Official Secrets Act to those who may have wanted to speak out. Add this to the allegations of government interference in Scotland, and the perverse decisions with regard to Kincora in Northern Ireland and conspiracy stares you in the face.
With regard to earlier comments about Elm Guest House I have never received a satisfactory answer to a simple question. If the much circulated list is “made up” who the hell did it and why? If it was some act of vengeance or mischief why put all those names on it? Why mix pop stars, politicians and members of the IRA to name just a few?