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A missing story
A note from Joshi, The Mill’s editor and founder
Dear Millers — apologies to those of you who got up at 7am sharp yesterday to enjoy your weekend fix of The Mill the moment it landed in your inboxes and were left disappointed. As we were putting the finishing touches to a brilliant weekend read by Dani on Friday evening, something came up that forced us to “hold” the story until we can confirm an important detail. You’ll read about this dramatic plot twist when the story appears, but it meant that we didn’t publish in our usual Saturday morning slot. I trust your weekend has recovered from that early setback.
If you haven’t yet, I hope you will find time to catch up on our recent investigation into Manchester’s homelessness crisis. Our first piece on the topic — “Manchester has a homelessness crisis. But it's not the one you thought” — was the result of six months of reporting from three Mill reporters and four data scientists from the University of Manchester. It was described by readers on Twitter as “incredible reporting”, “detailed and convincing”, and “an absolutely stunning piece of journalism”.
We’ve since followed it up with two important exclusives that shed more light on the story. First, we revealed, that two of the property companies that are making millions a year from the council by providing “temporary accommodation” seem to be willing to assist private landlords in removing their existing tenants, thereby contributing to the very problem they are supposed to be solving. After we published that story, one reader tweeted that he had joined up as a member. “The Mill's reporting is so good I have joined the many who pay subs to them,” wrote Rick. “Top quality independent journalism.”
The other was published last week, based on an internal report which was leaked to The Mill, revealing the chaotic systems and a “sense of paralysis” in the council teams supposed to be tackling homelessness in Manchester. The report corroborated key aspects of our investigation, and showed that the council could be doing much better in the crucial area of homelessness “prevention” (which involves helping people to stay in their homes in the first place) — it notes that Manchester is only achieving a 36% success rate for prevention, compared to a national average of 58%.
Those two follow-up stories are members-only stories, although we sent key details to the whole email list. And they both show the kind of impact we are able to have because of the regular subscriptions we get from our brilliant community of members (thank you to all of the members reading this). Even with a tiny team — we have four full-time journalists on The Mill, around the same number the MEN assigns to covering Holly Willoughby — we are able to dig deep into important stories, crunch large amounts of data and ask difficult questions to local officials. This kind of work helps our readers to understand their city better — allowing Millers to become more engaged and informed citizens. By doing that — and by holding local politicians and businesses to account — we believe it also makes the city better.
We have 1,452 paying members as I write this now. I’m hoping that some of you will decide today is the right time to join up and by the time I check back at the figures this evening, we will have jumped up towards 1,500, which is our next big landmark and one we planned to hit in October. Mill members get two extra editions of our reporting, commentary and photos every week, and they are the reason we can do this kind of journalism.
Have a lovely Sunday, thanks for reading, and if you join up, please do drop me an email to introduce yourself. Joshi Herrmann, editor of The Mill