ELIGIBILITY 

 
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PLEASE NOTE: Applications to the PINF COVID-19 Emergency Fund are now closed.

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Before applying, please read our Notes for Applicants document and the FAQs below which provide detailed information about our eligibility criteria and selection process.

This Fund is open to independent news publishers serving audiences on a hyperlocal, local or regional scale, as well as communities of interest.

To be eligible for support through our Emergency Fund, applicants must be:

  • Enterprises with annual turnover below £2m;

  • Committed to high standards of journalism; and

  • Suffering financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

To ensure that we benefit the public through the grants awarded under this Fund, we want to support organisations that have:

  • A track record of publishing journalism that provides a demonstrable benefit to the public; and

  • A vision of how to develop their organisation for the future.

 

Please read the FAQs below, and get in touch with the PINF team at contact@publicinterestnews.org.uk if you have any further questions.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Note: 6 new FAQs were added to this list on 29 May to reflect points raised by prospective applicants in the information call held on 28 May.

Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for support, applicants must be:

  • enterprises with annual turnover below £2m;

  • committed to high standards of journalism; and

  • suffering financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

These are basic eligibility criteria, and applicants that cannot legitimately answer ‘yes’ to any of these three questions will be excluded.

Please see the Notes for Applicants for further details. 

 

What makes for a good application?

PINF exists to benefit the public in general and not to support publishers or journalists for their own sake. So, we are looking to support organisations that:

  • have a track record of publishing journalism that provides a demonstrable benefit to the public; 

  • are responding to the COVID-19 crisis through journalism and/or related activities; and

  • have a vision of how to develop their organisation for the future.

 

The Selection Panel will carefully consider the quality of applicants’ responses to these questions, and the evidence provided in support, when awarding grants. 

Please see the Notes for Applicants for further details. 

 
 

What do you mean by 'independent publisher'? 

To be considered an ‘independent publisher’ for the purposes of this Fund, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria set out above. We are open to publishers that:

 

  • publish digitally or in print;

  • serve audiences on a hyperlocal, local or regional basis or communities of interest; and

  • operate on a non-profit or for-profit basis.

 

Please see the Notes for Applicants for further details. 

 

I’m based outside the UK, but my publication reaches a UK audience. Can I apply?

This Fund is for UK-based publishers only.

Why have you chosen to support UK-based independent news publishers?

Many organisations in the UK are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. However, independent news publishers are in a uniquely difficult position. They are working hard to report on the crisis, not only through traditional forms of print and digital journalism, but also by coordinating volunteering initiatives and home delivery services and providing a forum for citizens to engage with local authorities.

 

Journalism is an essential service, but independent news publishers are not funded by the state and their commercial revenues are under huge pressure as advertising dries up. Independent publishers do not want to suspend their operations or furlough their staff just when their audiences need them most. Unlike larger, corporate newspaper publishers, small independent publishers are not benefiting from other forms of Government support.

 

So, we are stepping in to provide small but meaningful grants to help independent publishers keep working through the crisis and beyond.

 

I’m a freelancer. Am I eligible to apply?

This Fund is for publishing organisations and not individual journalists.

 

My organisation is a broadcaster or local newspaper published by the council or a corporate publisher. Am I eligible to apply?

The following types of organisation are not eligible for the fund: 

 

  • Holders of a radio or TV broadcast licence;

  • Publications of local authorities or other government agencies;

  • Publications which are owned by or constitutionally linked to other companies with total annual turnover above £2m.

 
 

If successful, what can I spend this funding on?

You can use this funding for core costs that are realistically necessary for the purposes of producing public interest journalism now and in the future. 

 

How much can I apply for?

Successful applicants will receive grants of £3,000. 

 

Can I submit more than one application?

Only one application will be considered per publisher.

 

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

We are working at speed to launch the PINF COVID-19 Emergency Fund, so some dates may change. However, at present we are hoping to notify successful applicants on or around 15 June. If this date changes significantly, we will endeavour to notify all applicants of the new date.

 

If my application to the Fund is unsuccessful, can I still be considered for future rounds of funding?

We do not currently anticipate running future rounds of the Fund. However we will ask applicants to confirm whether, if they are unsuccessful in this round, they would be happy in principle for their application to be considered again in a later round.

 

If my application to the Fund is successful, how long will it take for me to receive the grant?

Grants will be administered by our partners at Internews, who are very generously providing support for this Fund at no cost. We are all working at speed to develop and deliver the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and we cannot guarantee exactly how long it will take to process grants. However, we estimate that it will take between 2-5 working days to pay the grant after we receive a completed acceptance form from successful applicants, including bank details.

 

How do you decide who receives funding?

All decisions will be made by an expert Selection Panel, composed of people with relevant experience and expertise who are giving up their time for free. Membership of the Panel may change over time.

 

Will grantees be expected to report on the use of their grants?

We will ask grantees to provide a short written report on the use of their grants, to help us design future programmes in support of independent public interest journalism in the UK, and so that we can share experiences with journalism funders in other countries. Feedback may be anonymised where necessary and appropriate.

 

How is the Fund administered?

We are very grateful for the administrative support of our partners at Internews, who are processing grants made under the PINF COVID-19 Emergency Fund at no cost.

 

Who is supporting the Fund?

We are very grateful for the generous support of our partners at the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT), who have donated £60,000 to the PINF COVID-19 Emergency Fund, all of which we are passing on to independent publishers in the form of small grants.

 

I'm a funder. How can I get in touch with PINF?

We would be delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support independent public interest journalism in the UK. Please email us at contact@publicinterestnews.org.uk.

 

I have recently received COVID-19 funding from other sources. Can I still apply to this Fund?

Yes. If you have been successful with other COVID-19 fundraising you can still apply to this Fund. However, we ask applicants to tell us if they have received other COVID-19 funding. This will only be taken into account by the Selection Panel if there is no other way of distinguishing between selected applicants, in which case publishers who have not received emergency funding from any other source will be prioritised.

 

My publication has decided to furlough part of the staff. Can I still apply to this Fund?

Yes. We do not enquire about this as part of the application process, and it won’t be a factor affecting your submission, so long as you can still demonstrate that you are responding to the COVID-19 crisis through journalism and/or related activities.

 

My publisher publishes more than one publication. Can I submit one application per publication?

No. In order to make sure we support as many different organisations as possible, we will only accept one application per publisher.

Can I apply for more than £3000?

No. This Fund will distribute twenty grants of £3,000 each.

 
 

How do I demonstrate that I produce public interest journalism?

Criterion 4 requires applicants to show that they have a ‘track record of publishing journalism that provides a demonstrable benefit to the public’. Please refer to page 3 of the Notes for Applicants for a detailed description of what forms this can take. Essentially, we are looking for examples of things that have changed for the better as a direct or indirect result of your journalism.

 

Will professional development that the Fund will work on with successful applicants be available to unsuccessful applicants as well?

At this stage, we are planning to provide a professional development programme for the twenty successful applicants only. However, it is PINF’s goal to support more organisations, as more funding and opportunities become available. We encourage all publishers to continue to engage with PINF through Twitter, our website, and our newsletter.

© 2020 Public Interest News Foundation 

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