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.