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Researcher, Investigations

Posted: 6 May 2022 Closes: 5 Jun 2022
London Competitive
Permanent & Full-time CHL_VN1040

Job Title: Researcher - Dispatches Investigations Unit
Reports to: Team Leader, Dispatches Investigation Unit and Commissioning Editor, Dispatches
Department: Commissioning - News and Current Affairs
Location: London


The department is responsible for commissioning a wide range of current affairs programmes, including Channel Four News, Dispatches, Unreported World, major current affairs documentaries, studio programmes and series. The department is now creating a dedicated Investigations Unit to support and pursue original, investigative, research that will form the basis of Dispatches programmes and a new current affairs youth strand. The new strand of films aimed at 16-34 year olds is part of Channel 4's effort to bolster the range of programmes reflecting the lives and interests of younger viewers. The strand, title TBC, will launch in late spring/early summer 2022 as a digital-first proposition - with linear slots following. The Investigations Unit will also support production companies and independent suppliers in their work on long term investigations being produced for the Dispatches strand. Reporting to the Editor of Dispatches and the Head of News and Current Affairs, the new unit will be headed up by a Team Leader, working with a Senior Journalist, and Producer and a Researcher. Members of this team will be based either in London or Leeds.


Channel Four's current affairs department is known multi award-winning films that have investigative and revelatory journalism at their heart. The Investigations Unit will work to bolster the raft of remit-defining, noisy and bold journalism and investigations for which Dispatches and the wider current affairs department has won both headlines and major awards.

The Investigations Unit will identify, generate and develop original story ideas via a wide range of in-depth research and the development of contacts and information across the UK. The Unit will also, working with the commissioning team within current affairs, produce and create original journalism that will form the basis of long-term investigative projects that will then be developed further with production companies and independent suppliers.

The unit will also provide ongoing support to those companies and suppliers when programmes go into commission.

The unit will also actively seek to find stories and new and diverse on screen talent and contributors; develop new contacts and potential partnerships, and identify those longer term and investigative stories that will speak to the interests of viewers from across the UK.

The unit will also generate ideas and work on investigations and seeking out talent for the youth strand that will seek to maintain the remit-defining, noisy and bold journalism for which Dispatches and the wider current affairs department has won both headlines and major awards. But the absolute focus of this strand will be to produce films that speak to younger viewers on the subjects they care about, fronted by diverse and authentic voices from across the UK.

  • Work with the Investigations Unit Team Leader and other members of the Unit to research and develop investigative programmes
  • Originate, develop and research investigative and revelatory stories that can form the basis of films for Dispatches and the new youth strand launching in 2022.
  • Use and identify investigative tools including FOIs and other methods to create an evidence base for the revelatory and unique journalism that should be at the heart of each Dispatches film and those for the youth strand
  • Assist in seeing out new and diverse talent for on screen roles from across the UK for Dispatches and the youth strand
  • Develop contacts, ideas and avenues of investigation, and work across investigations for Dispatches and the youth strand
  • In collaboration with the Unit Team Leader and wider team, initiate, develop, inspire and manage positive, creative relationships with a wide range of contacts and potential partnership organisations.
  • Assist in identifying and managing key issues of controversy associated with stories and the films that we hope to commission of the basis of the original research completed by the Unit.
  • Work across complex and sensitive investigations
  • Play a role in determining how Channel Four's output reflects Britain and the world
  • Be brave; pursue investigations no other channel would.

Technical & Professional Skills
  • A proven track record in current affairs journalism, with proven ability to work autonomously
  • A proven track record of developing and researching major investigations
  • A proven track record of generating and developing ideas
  • Demonstrable experience or interest in and knowledge of programming and investigations aimed at a younger audience
  • Knowledge and understanding of recent broadcasting output
  • Strong decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Proven sound judgement
  • Demonstrable understanding of the need, and a desire, to champion diversity
  • Demonstrated understanding of legal and compliance issues around television production
  • Knowledge of News and Current Affairs output and remit
  • Good relationships and contacts within journalism and current affairs
  • Demonstrable experience of editorial judgement in the execution of challenging and long-term investigations,
  • The ability to work effectively across a number of different investigations at any one time,
  • Exceptional personal integrity and insight into the Channel 4 brand and values in relation to the programme genre
  • Exceptional communication and influencing skills
Autonomy/Judgement/Decision Making
  • Job requires decision-making concerning a broad variety of matters within own work area and the wider team
  • Work concerns making decisions involving potential risks
Managing Resources
  • Understanding of the process of and resources in working across a wide variety of long and short term investigations
Relationship Management
  • Conduct and maintains good relationships with contacts and sources, as well as potential talent.
  • Work effectively in collaboration with other members of the Investigations Unit and wider Affairs department
Complexity/Problem Solving
  • Strong decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Sound judgement
  • Job holder may face a number of unpredictable and unique problems e.g. a ground-breaking investigations may raise problems across the spectrum of editorial, legal, press, marketing, publicity and independent company liaison
  • Role holder will need to assess the impact of any contentious material on the general public
Business Impact/Strategic Perspective
  • News & Current Affairs forms an important part of the Channel's programming strategy and so impacts heavily on the perception and reputation of the Channel, its ratings and advertising
  • This new role will play a part in implementing the Channel's strategic vision in delivering remit-defining, bold and noisy journalism, growing young audiences and developing new and diverse talent on and off screen, especially on All4.
  • Legal, compliance and financial issues e.g. OFCOM regulations on programming have a huge impact on the role
  • Demonstrable experience of developing and delivering investigative and ground-breaking journalism
  • Excellent research skills
  • Demonstrable experience of undercover and/or major investigations and current affairs journalism.

SalaryCompetitiveApplication questions to complete
To complete your application please provide a response to the below application questions, you can upload your response to the application questions as an attachment when submitting your application. This can be attached to your application as a PDF or Word document.
Please outline how you meet the 'Essential Experience & Skills' outlined in the Job Description (Max 500 words)

BenefitsThere are a million reasons why it's great to work at Channel 4, here are just a few of the perks for you;
•26 days annual leave (including a day off for your birthday)
•Company funded Private Medical Insurance
•A generous Group Personal Pension
•Access to our flexible benefits scheme including dental, travel insurance, health screenings and more!Applications Close Date05 Jun 2022
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