We do long-term, in-depth investigations into critical social issues. We publish these investigations as “Files”. A File is a collection of material that records the investigation of a single issue. It is a readable archive and an investigative monitor. Here’s a bit more about how we think about what we do.
NB: This website, the first iteration of The Manifold Files, is a prototype. We have launched The Manifold Files with our first File, an investigation into the failures of the child protection system in Greece. We plan to open more Files in the next few months. We will also be making various improvements to the website, and adding new functionalities progressively. For now, we hope that it adequately showcases our approach to in-depth journalism. This prototype was developed with the support of the Google Digital News Innovation Fund.
Each investigation in The Manifold Files traces the roots of a critical social issue, exposes its background, and documents its evolution. For every issue that is now urgent, there is always something that has happened before. So, a File is a kind of archive, where the memory of events that influence the issue at present is preserved and made accessible, through a collection of evidence. This archive is, however, readable, which means that a narrative has been composed by using this evidence as building blocks. This narrative hovers over the evidence, the two remaining connected by relationships always visible to the reader.
Every File is made up of Stories, Actors, and Documents. Stories are where the journalistic narrative unfolds, Actors are the persons and institutions that drive each Story, and Documents are records where the raw facts can be located. Narratives need supporting evidence, evidence needs narratives to be understood, people’s actions make no sense without the records of their activities. In a File, every element is contextualised through connections to other elements. Context is everything: we don’t just line facts up; we try to show how they illuminate each other.
Simplification is not always a virtue. Some problems are too big for soundbites. The Manifold Files do not offer something for everyone; they are a platform for in-depth journalism that consciously embraces complexity and tries to present it without cutting corners. Our aim is to delve deeper and deeper into the issues we investigate, and offer multiple ways to understand them. We do not flinch from long-form storytelling that requires a commitment from our readers.
Each issue that we choose to investigate is continually monitored, and each investigation is updated with new material as relevant events develop. However, instead of updates being thrown into a sea of unrelated news, each one of them — minor or major — is placed within an appropriate sequence in the File, and new relationships are forged between what’s new and what happened previously. Each File is a live investigative monitor. In this process lies the core of The Manifold Files’ approach to in-depth journalism: once a File is opened, it never closes.
If you want to learn more about the teams who produce The Manifold Files, visit the Who We Are page. If you want some tips on how to get the most out of the website, visit the User’s Guide. If you want to see what else we do, visit our Other Work page. To get in touch, see Contact, Tips & Leaks.