The Trojan Horse Affair

The game changer in investigative journalism

The Trojan Horse Affair

The critically acclaimed podcast The Trojan Horse Affair (New York Times/Serial) has proven a game changer in journalism for both its investigative and narrative form. Join us on November 17th for an invigorating live interview with Hamza Syed and Brian Reed.

Co-creators Hamza Syed and Brian Reed set out their investigation to unravel who had written the letter at the center of “Operation Trojan Horse ”, but end up disclosing a web of systemic Islamophobia. The eight-part narrative podcast form grants its listeners an unprecedented window into the process of a journalistic investigation. Not only do we hear the co-creators’ passion, the frustrations and laughs, but most importantly, the podcast illustrates the importance of challenging what is served as truth. The Trojan Horse Affair inspires journalists and creators. By amplifying this story, we aim to stimulate conversation about the importance of narrative and investigative journalism in today’s world.

This programme is realised in collaboration with De Nieuwe Liefde, OORZAKEN, Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten and Rose Stories.


Brian Reed is the host and co-creator of the podcast S-Town, a production of Serial and This American Life, which won a Peabody Award for being “a pioneering classic of the form.” Brian was also a senior producer at This American Life, where he edited, produced, and reported some of the program’s most ambitious stories. He has received the Dart Award for Reporting on Trauma, the Overseas Press Club Award, an Education Writers Association Award, and two Peabodies.

Hamza Syed joined Serial Productions in 2018 to report The Trojan Horse Affair. Hamza earned a master’s degree in investigative journalism from De Montfort University in Leicester, England, in 2019, where he was awarded the Channel 4 Prize for Investigative Journalism. Before becoming a reporter, Hamza was a medical doctor.





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About The Trojan Horse Affair

A strange letter appears on a city councilor’s desk in Birmingham, England, laying out an elaborate plot by Islamic extremists to infiltrate the city’s schools. The plot has a code name: Operation Trojan Horse. The story soon explodes in the news and kicks off a national panic. By the time it all dies down, the government has launched multiple investigations, beefed up the country’s counterterrorism policy, revamped schools and banned people from education for the rest of their lives.

To Hamza Syed, who is watching the scandal unfold in his city, the whole thing seemed … off. Because through all the official inquiries and heated speeches in Parliament, no one has ever bothered to answer a basic question: Who wrote the letter? And why? The night before Hamza is to start journalism school, he has a chance meeting in Birmingham with the reporter Brian Reed, the host of the hit podcast S-Town. Together they team up to investigate: Who wrote the Trojan Horse letter? They quickly discover that it’s a question people in power do not want them asking.