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The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) has updated the Local News Map.
Here is the web report about how we improved the data, and what the data shows.

In June 2023, PINF released an interactive map of local news outlets in the UK, and followed this with an analysis of the data underlying the map: Deserts, Oases and Drylands. PINF’s Local News Map is a one-of-a-kind living product, available to all, to understand which local news media serve communities across the UK and the characteristics of these outlets. It took six months to collect and organise the data that powers it: researching the UK’s local news landscape is a large and complex task, requiring many hours of work and, as with any map, certain compromises to reach completion. 

For this reason, we have been busy at work making the data maintenance more sustainable. This process culminated in the creation of several automations that help us update the data and maintain its quality.

​In this report, you will find the analysis of the data as it stands at April 2024: our best understanding of the state of local news in the UK at this time. Then follows an explanation of the automations that help researchers to check and update the dataset, and those that help produce the analysis.

 

The report concludes with some ideas for the future. At the bottom you will find definitions and methodology. The report is also available in pdf and it provides additional detail on the changes to the data that have been implemented between our first report launch in July 2023 and this iteration. The data behind this report has been made available for download on this page.

State of the sector

This section provides an analysis of the data as at April 2024. It looks at the UK-wide picture, then compares local areas, and summarises outlet ownership.

Summary

 

Outlets, nations and regions, media types 

  • There are approximately 1,196 local news outlets in the UK, according to our local news definition (see ‘Definitions’ appended), an average of one outlet per 56,000 people. 

  • England is underserved according to its population, while all other nations have slightly greater numbers of outlets than the UK average. 

  • The greatest proportion of local news outlets operate in print and online (47%), followed by community radio (23%), online (23%), and then print-only (3%). Local TV and BBC Local Radio account for 2% of all outlets, respectively. 

 

Deserts, oases and drylands 

  • There are 28 ‘absolute’ news deserts in the UK (they lack any coverage from a local news outlet), while another 10 districts are ‘relative’ news deserts (they lack a dedicated local news outlet). Lewisham is the largest absolute desert by population, while the largest relative desert is Sutton. 

  • ‘News oases’, the best served districts in the country, include Bath, Highland, and East Devon. 

  • Controlling for population, oases include several districts in the South West of England and the North West of Scotland. Notably, more populated districts are more poorly served once the number of outlets is put against the population size of the area.

  • Among ‘news drylands’, areas that are poorly served given their population size, are Wakefield and Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.

 

Ownership

  • There are 419 publishers in the UK. The largest publishers by number of outlets, Newsquest, Reach, and National World, own 37.6% of the local news outlets, regardless of medium.

  • For 101 (28%) Local Authority Districts a single publisher holds a monopoly, either due to being covered by solely one outlet, or by several outlets from the same publisher. Newsquest has 24 monopolies, while National World has 21.

.

UK-wide overview

  • What is the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is the first comprehensive survey of the independent public interest news sector in the UK. The Index will provide a unique insight into the sector by revealing publishers’ business models, editorial priorities, audience characteristics and more. This information will help funders and policymakers to address the challenges facing public interest news in the digital age.
  • Who can take part in the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is open to professional providers of public interest news that produce primarily text-based reporting. They may provide local news, investigative journalism or specialist reporting, and they may operate primarily in print or online. In 2021, the Index will be limited to publishers with annual turnover below £2m, because this ‘long tail’ of the news industry lacks visibility and is not well understood by donors or policymakers. The scope of the Index may be revised in future years.
  • How do I take part in the PINF Index?
    Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the information below carefully. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you should subscribe on the registration form above. You will then receive further details, and access to the online survey. If you decide to take part, you may complete the online survey.
  • What are the possible benefits of taking part in the PINF Index?
    Your contribution to the study will help us to understand the independent news landscape in the UK more clearly. You may find the results interesting as a benchmark for your bsuiness model and editorial strategy. In turn, the Index will help PINF to raise funding and other forms of support for public interest news.
  • What are the possible risks of taking part?
    We do not anticipate any risks to participation in this study.
  • What is the deadline to take part in the PINF Index?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Can I withdraw from the study if I decide not to take part?
    You can end your participation in the study at any point, by closing the survey tab.
  • Will I have access to the findings?
    You will be able to request a copy of the findings, by emailing CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • Who is organising and funding the PINF Index?
    The research for the PINF Index will be carried out by Clare Cook and Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis of the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). It is funded by PINF. More information about PINF's budget can be found here.
  • Who has reviewed the study?
    The study has been reviewed and approved by UCLan’s Ethics Committee. If you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted, you should contact UCLan’s Officer for Ethics (OfficerforEthics@uclan.ac.uk).
  • What will happen to the results of the PINF Index?
    Your participation in this project will contribute to range of practical and academic activities. In the first instance, it will help us gather evidence which will feed into policy, capacity building and funding work. The researchers also intend to use the data in related academic papers and presentations.
  • Who will have access to the PINF Index data?
    PINF will publish anonymised general findings and share aggregated data with academics, policy makers, funders and other partners. Survey responses may be shared with charity sponsors as part of the evaluation and analysis of the programme. No organisation-specific information will be shared publicly unless specifically authorised by a news publisher.
  • Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?
    All information about you as an individual will be kept strictly anonymous. Data will be stored electronically, and confidentiality, privacy and anonymity are ensured in the collection, storage and publication of research material. You will have an option for some statements in section two to be attributed to your organisation. Data generated by the study is retained in accordance with the UCLan's policy on Academic Integrity. The data generated in the course of the research will be kept securely in electronic form for 10 years from the end of the project.
  • I represent a publishing group that publishes more than one publication. How should I proceed when completing the survey?
    There is a specific question in the survey addressing this, and you will have the opportunity to clarify as needed. If you represent a publishing group which publishes more than one publication, you may complete a full survey for each publication separately, if this makes most sense to you. If you do respond separately for each publication, please make sure your answers are consistent throughout, so the data refers only to the publication in question and not the broader publishing group. If you have any questions, you may contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis at CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • How long does the online survey take to complete?
    The survey should take about 25 minutes to complete.
  • What type of information will I need to provide?
    Publishers will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics. Your answers should relate to the last full year for which you have complete financial data, whichever that 12 month period is. For example, if your most recent accounts cover the period from 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020, or from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020, then you should use the same period for all of your answers.
  • Can the survey be completed in stages, i.e. saving a draft and submitting later?"
    Unfortunately, no. The survey cannot be saved as a work in progress, so please make sure that you have the relevant information available before you start. You will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics.
  • How does the PINF Index relate to the INN Index conducted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) in the United States?
    The PINF Index is based on the INN Index, created by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which has been running annually in the United States since 2018. The INN Index has demonstrated the valuable role played by independent news publishers in the US. It has helped to increase funders’ interest in the sector, and to identify new models of public interest news.
  • When will the PINF Index 2021 be published?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Who should I contact if I have further questions?
    For questions about the content of the survey, please contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis (CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk). For any other questions, you may contact contact@publicinterestnews.org.uk

Media type

In terms of media type, outlets which are a combination of print and online remain the majority (47%). These are followed by community radio (23%), ‘online only’ (23%), ‘print only’ (3%), and finally BBC Local Radio (2%) and local TV (2%). These percentages are consistent with what we observed in July 2023.

Launches and closures

Throughout this latest wave of research, we have recorded eighteen closures and four launches. Launches include Blackpool Lead by Scram Media Ltd, which started as a newsletter and online site, recently producing its first print copy. The Glasgow Wrap, built on Substack, was launched recently by Newsquest, and follows the trend of email-first news outlets. Finally, the South Manchester Post and the Stockport Post were launched to merge a series of smaller outlets by Drawing Board Productions CIC. Stockport Post incorporates the hyperlocal publications Heatons Post, Cheadle Post, Bramhall Post, Edgeley Post, Hazel Grove Post and Romiley & Marple Post. South Manchester Post incorporates Wythenshawe, Gorton, Clayton, and Openshaw. 

In terms of closures, several match the above reported Drawing Board Productions CIC incorporated Post outlets. Of all other closures, only a few were reported by the industry press, namely the closure of Charlton Champion in the summer of 2023, and the closure of three Cheadle & Tean Times Ltd outlets in the Staffordshire area, which also occurred in the summer of 2023, and represented the dissolution of a 127-year-old family newspaper business.

The Basingstoke Observer, which had already been closed in 2018 and relaunched in the same year, seems to have ceased publication since May 2023, when Observer Media Group applied to Companies House to be struck off the register and dissolved. Bourne Local has ceased to exist as a separate outlet, which was detected by the fact it was missing from the latest ABC data, and confirmed by Iliffe Media, who state that Bourne-area content can be found in the Stamford Mercury and online via LincsOnline. Purbeck Coast FM was closed in January 2024, and Lyme Online announced its closure in September 2023.

We have found several outlets to be inactive, and believe them to be closed, although it is hard to say for sure exactly when they did so.  Bedworth Nub News, Brighton & Hove Independent, Causeway Coast Community News, Crowborough Life, and Takeover Radio (Leicester). Notably, the closure of Bedworth Nub News means that Nuneaton and Bedworth has become a news desert.

Some additional closures, notably several ‘...Live’ websites by Reach that were closed in autumn 2023, have occurred since our July 2023 report. They do not make up the statistics in this report as they had already been removed from the map. Finally, our research led to numerous small adjustments to the data, and removal or addition of outlets for other reasons other than launches and closures. For a full list of changes, see the Appendix.

Notably, only one launch, the Stockport Post, in Stockport, is in a district that is below the national average when it comes to number of outlets and outlets per 100,000 people. 

Nonetheless, the launch of the Glasgow Wrap has implied an improvement for Glasgow City particularly in terms of the number of outlets per 100,000, while the launch of the Blackpool Lead has improved the outlook for Blackpool, which with three outlets now serves its population slightly better than the national average.

While most closures have occurred in districts that are better served than the national average, several have occurred in districts that are below the national average.

East Staffordshire, Stockport, Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Basingstoke and Deane are four districts which are poorly covered respective to the national average, and for which recent closures have meant these areas have become even weaker than before.

Comparing local authority areas

The distribution of local news outlets across Local Authority Districts in the UK, and across nations, is uneven.


There are clusters of districts where local news presence is stronger than average, such as large parts of Northern Ireland, the Highlands, the southern part of Scotland, central and western Wales, and the South West of England. 

 

On the other hand, more densely populated parts of the country, including the Central Belt in Scotland, London, the Midlands, and parts of the North East are instead the worst covered in terms of number of outlets per 100,000 people.

 

English districts, in particular, experience a much lower than average news presence than Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. In Greater London, the only district that is well above the median in terms of provision per 100,000 people is the City, which is merely the result of one outlet combined with a population of about 8,500.

Owner diversity

 

Finally, we looked at how districts are distributed in terms of number of owners and outlets. Normally, as the number of outlets increases so does the number of owners, however there are districts with substantially higher or lower owner diversity. For example, people living in Cumberland can access news from seven distinct outlets, yet these belong to solely two owners. Similarly, Fife, East Devon, Cheshire East all have low owner diversity. On the opposite end we find Manchester and Leeds, which have an exceptionally high number of owners relative to the number of outlets.

News Deserts

In 2023, we noted 38 Local Authority Districts were news deserts, which we defined as areas lacking a dedicated local news outlet. In this report, we instead differentiate between districts without any outlets at all (‘absolute’ news deserts), and districts which receive some coverage but from an outlet which covers more than one district (‘relative’ news deserts). Altogether, the number of news deserts in April 2024 remains stable at 38, although the list of districts has changed due to closures and launches. 

This means that 4.7 million people in the UK live in a news desert, corresponding to 7% of the country’s population.  Of these, 3,286,693 people live in absolute news deserts, one of 28 districts where there is no coverage from a local news outlet at all. All of these are in England, except East Dunbartonshire in Scotland. Lewisham and Gateshead are the two most populous news deserts. 

Another 1,364,305 people live in one of ten relative news deserts – they lack a dedicated outlet, but can access news from a local outlet serving two, three or four five districts in total – corresponding to 2% of the population of the UK. Most of these live in England, and none live in Northern Ireland or Scotland. The largest relative news deserts are Sutton and Rushcliffe, followed by Newport in Wales.

News Oases


The best-served districts across the country, in terms of number of outlets, are all located in the South West: Somerset, Cornwall, and Bristol. The Scottish districts of Highland and Glasgow also rank highly in terms of number of outlets. Finally, large cities such as Manchester and Leeds are also relatively well-served.

 

Drylands


Finally, we identify ‘news drylands’. These are areas that are not news deserts, yet are the next most poorly served in terms of outlets per 100,000 people. They include Wakefield, Brent, Bromley, Redbridge, and Central Bedfordshire. The most populous district among the drylands is Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, followed by Wakefield.

 

Ownership

The local news market is highly concentrated, with 37.6% of outlets owned by just three companies: Newsquest, National World, and Reach.

 

While Reach closed some of its websites at the end of 2023, National World has expanded through the purchase of Midland News Association in September 2023, which in the Media Reform Coalition 2023 report ranked 8th in terms of publisher size among print-digital outlets.

 

Newsquest is the largest company both in terms of number of outlets (201) and in terms of number of covered Local Authority Districts (138). It also has the largest number of monopolies: 24 districts in which, through either one publication or several, it is the only publisher present.

National World and Reach cover the same number of districts (85 each), however National World has more outlets and more monopolies (see table below). This suggests that Reach outlets tend to cover more districts on average. 

These figures also show that, with the exception of the BBC, it is common for one publisher to own several outlets in the same district. For example, Highland News and Media covers three districts with fifteen outlets, which, given the size of the Highland region, is understandable.

Finally, the BBC, despite covering a relatively large number of districts through its radio stations, does not have a monopoly on a single district, suggesting it exists alongside corporate and independent publishers in already covered areas.

Monopolies

Overall, there are 101 LADs in which one sole publisher has a monopoly, representing 28% of all districts in the UK. Six companies have more than one monopoly area: National World, Newsquest, Iliffe, Nub News, Tindle, and Reach. These monopoly areas tend to be regionally clustered, with National World concentrating in parts of Scotland and the Midlands, Newquest the Central Belt and London, Reach covering districts between Sheffield and Birmingham, as well as districts in Wales.

Automations

Since the map’s launch, we have been in conversation with domain experts and academics to understand ways to keep the map alive in a sustainable way, including methods for reducing the research time required.

 

This conversation is still open, but in March 2024, PINF received a small grant from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as a contribution towards automating data collection, updating the dataset and improving the visualisation.

 

As at April 2024 we have now implemented several automations to process publicly available information about local news media to facilitate and improve the maintenance of the PINF Local News Map dataset.  ​These automations have allowed us to update the map to reflect any changes that have occurred in the local news landscape since our first release of the map in July 2023, including outlet closures or launches, or changes in ownership of outlets.

 

While a small number of changes have been made to the map on a quarterly basis prior to this project, this required users to report issues directly to PINF. This latest work, using the automations described in the next section, has resulted in a comprehensive, systematic update, resulting in cleaner, more consistent dataset, one that we believe provides an excellent foundation for an ongoing mapping project.  ​

 

This better dataset created the opportunity for a new analysis of the data, and further automations have been created to power this analysis, and potentially to do so more easily on a more regular basis.

Here below you can explore how the automations work and we have implemented them.

  • What is the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is the first comprehensive survey of the independent public interest news sector in the UK. The Index will provide a unique insight into the sector by revealing publishers’ business models, editorial priorities, audience characteristics and more. This information will help funders and policymakers to address the challenges facing public interest news in the digital age.
  • Who can take part in the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is open to professional providers of public interest news that produce primarily text-based reporting. They may provide local news, investigative journalism or specialist reporting, and they may operate primarily in print or online. In 2021, the Index will be limited to publishers with annual turnover below £2m, because this ‘long tail’ of the news industry lacks visibility and is not well understood by donors or policymakers. The scope of the Index may be revised in future years.
  • How do I take part in the PINF Index?
    Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the information below carefully. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you should subscribe on the registration form above. You will then receive further details, and access to the online survey. If you decide to take part, you may complete the online survey.
  • What are the possible benefits of taking part in the PINF Index?
    Your contribution to the study will help us to understand the independent news landscape in the UK more clearly. You may find the results interesting as a benchmark for your bsuiness model and editorial strategy. In turn, the Index will help PINF to raise funding and other forms of support for public interest news.
  • What are the possible risks of taking part?
    We do not anticipate any risks to participation in this study.
  • What is the deadline to take part in the PINF Index?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Can I withdraw from the study if I decide not to take part?
    You can end your participation in the study at any point, by closing the survey tab.
  • Will I have access to the findings?
    You will be able to request a copy of the findings, by emailing CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • Who is organising and funding the PINF Index?
    The research for the PINF Index will be carried out by Clare Cook and Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis of the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). It is funded by PINF. More information about PINF's budget can be found here.
  • Who has reviewed the study?
    The study has been reviewed and approved by UCLan’s Ethics Committee. If you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted, you should contact UCLan’s Officer for Ethics (OfficerforEthics@uclan.ac.uk).
  • What will happen to the results of the PINF Index?
    Your participation in this project will contribute to range of practical and academic activities. In the first instance, it will help us gather evidence which will feed into policy, capacity building and funding work. The researchers also intend to use the data in related academic papers and presentations.
  • Who will have access to the PINF Index data?
    PINF will publish anonymised general findings and share aggregated data with academics, policy makers, funders and other partners. Survey responses may be shared with charity sponsors as part of the evaluation and analysis of the programme. No organisation-specific information will be shared publicly unless specifically authorised by a news publisher.
  • Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?
    All information about you as an individual will be kept strictly anonymous. Data will be stored electronically, and confidentiality, privacy and anonymity are ensured in the collection, storage and publication of research material. You will have an option for some statements in section two to be attributed to your organisation. Data generated by the study is retained in accordance with the UCLan's policy on Academic Integrity. The data generated in the course of the research will be kept securely in electronic form for 10 years from the end of the project.
  • I represent a publishing group that publishes more than one publication. How should I proceed when completing the survey?
    There is a specific question in the survey addressing this, and you will have the opportunity to clarify as needed. If you represent a publishing group which publishes more than one publication, you may complete a full survey for each publication separately, if this makes most sense to you. If you do respond separately for each publication, please make sure your answers are consistent throughout, so the data refers only to the publication in question and not the broader publishing group. If you have any questions, you may contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis at CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • How long does the online survey take to complete?
    The survey should take about 25 minutes to complete.
  • What type of information will I need to provide?
    Publishers will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics. Your answers should relate to the last full year for which you have complete financial data, whichever that 12 month period is. For example, if your most recent accounts cover the period from 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020, or from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020, then you should use the same period for all of your answers.
  • Can the survey be completed in stages, i.e. saving a draft and submitting later?"
    Unfortunately, no. The survey cannot be saved as a work in progress, so please make sure that you have the relevant information available before you start. You will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics.
  • How does the PINF Index relate to the INN Index conducted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) in the United States?
    The PINF Index is based on the INN Index, created by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which has been running annually in the United States since 2018. The INN Index has demonstrated the valuable role played by independent news publishers in the US. It has helped to increase funders’ interest in the sector, and to identify new models of public interest news.
  • When will the PINF Index 2021 be published?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Who should I contact if I have further questions?
    For questions about the content of the survey, please contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis (CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk). For any other questions, you may contact contact@publicinterestnews.org.uk

PINF sees this UK Local News Mapping Report as a significant step forward from the pilot work achieved in 2023. But the number of local news outlets is still only a proxy for measuring the provision of local public interest news - there is much more we could do. We invite comments, partnerships and funding to push the project forward. Originally inspired by the State of Local News project in the USA, and the Australian News Mapping Project, PINF’s 2023 pilot mapping project helped throw a light on inequalities in news provision across the UK. It was only a pilot, but there was enough interest in the data and its analysis to justify PINF committing some unfunded time to keep the database lightly updated and to plan for a more consistent and accurate version. ​A small grant fund received in March 2024 from DCMS made possible a range of automations, improved visualisation and this new analysis.

 

The automations, and a more systematised dataset in particular, has moved the pilot forward in a significant way. The data and the visualisation it powers are now more accurate, more consistent, more up-to-date and more easily updated.  So what next? This data is still a proxy for what we truly care about: does everyone in the UK have access to quality public interest news that speaks to them, for them and with them? We assume that local public interest news is an important part of the answer, and so we have mapped outlets as the best proxy for this. Ideally, however, we would investigate the quality, quantity and locality of content and analyse whether it meets the definition of local public interest news. Furthermore, we might seek to understand the public perception of that news: do they believe they are getting the news they need? ​

 

Through our work on the pilot mapping, the significant update this project brings, and external feedback and examples, PINF has begun to sketch an idea that could see local authorities given a Local News Score. This could be based on a range of metrics capturing those elements mentioned above. The listing of those scores could then create a Local News Index and a deep understanding of inequalities in access to information around the UK. ​Mapping local public interest news is a significant research project, and we welcome comments and ideas, potential partnerships and, of course, the resources to make it happen, ideally over a sustained period of time so that we can see shifts that are occurring in the long term.The Local News Map, as it stands, remains our best effort and our best understanding of the state of local public interest news in the UK. 

Acknowledgments

The Public Interest News Foundation is grateful to the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport for part-funding the development of the automations and improvements to the visualisation, which made this report possible. 


PINF would  especially like to acknowledge Simona Bisiani’s work in significantly improving the database, and for the analysis for this report. PINF also thanks John Evans for his work to update the visualisation.


This updated report, database and visualisation are based on an original pilot study, which took place in 2023, for which we thank the JRSST Charitable Trust, Max Roche, and Common Knowledge. We also thank members of the advisory group to that pilot for guiding us as to our definition and approach, and to all those who pointed out mistakes or missing outlets since our first report was published. 


The charts in this report were created with Datawrapper.
 

  • What is the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is the first comprehensive survey of the independent public interest news sector in the UK. The Index will provide a unique insight into the sector by revealing publishers’ business models, editorial priorities, audience characteristics and more. This information will help funders and policymakers to address the challenges facing public interest news in the digital age.
  • Who can take part in the PINF Index?
    The PINF Index is open to professional providers of public interest news that produce primarily text-based reporting. They may provide local news, investigative journalism or specialist reporting, and they may operate primarily in print or online. In 2021, the Index will be limited to publishers with annual turnover below £2m, because this ‘long tail’ of the news industry lacks visibility and is not well understood by donors or policymakers. The scope of the Index may be revised in future years.
  • How do I take part in the PINF Index?
    Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the information below carefully. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you should subscribe on the registration form above. You will then receive further details, and access to the online survey. If you decide to take part, you may complete the online survey.
  • What are the possible benefits of taking part in the PINF Index?
    Your contribution to the study will help us to understand the independent news landscape in the UK more clearly. You may find the results interesting as a benchmark for your bsuiness model and editorial strategy. In turn, the Index will help PINF to raise funding and other forms of support for public interest news.
  • What are the possible risks of taking part?
    We do not anticipate any risks to participation in this study.
  • What is the deadline to take part in the PINF Index?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Can I withdraw from the study if I decide not to take part?
    You can end your participation in the study at any point, by closing the survey tab.
  • Will I have access to the findings?
    You will be able to request a copy of the findings, by emailing CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • Who is organising and funding the PINF Index?
    The research for the PINF Index will be carried out by Clare Cook and Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis of the Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). It is funded by PINF. More information about PINF's budget can be found here.
  • Who has reviewed the study?
    The study has been reviewed and approved by UCLan’s Ethics Committee. If you have any concerns about the way in which the study has been conducted, you should contact UCLan’s Officer for Ethics (OfficerforEthics@uclan.ac.uk).
  • What will happen to the results of the PINF Index?
    Your participation in this project will contribute to range of practical and academic activities. In the first instance, it will help us gather evidence which will feed into policy, capacity building and funding work. The researchers also intend to use the data in related academic papers and presentations.
  • Who will have access to the PINF Index data?
    PINF will publish anonymised general findings and share aggregated data with academics, policy makers, funders and other partners. Survey responses may be shared with charity sponsors as part of the evaluation and analysis of the programme. No organisation-specific information will be shared publicly unless specifically authorised by a news publisher.
  • Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?
    All information about you as an individual will be kept strictly anonymous. Data will be stored electronically, and confidentiality, privacy and anonymity are ensured in the collection, storage and publication of research material. You will have an option for some statements in section two to be attributed to your organisation. Data generated by the study is retained in accordance with the UCLan's policy on Academic Integrity. The data generated in the course of the research will be kept securely in electronic form for 10 years from the end of the project.
  • I represent a publishing group that publishes more than one publication. How should I proceed when completing the survey?
    There is a specific question in the survey addressing this, and you will have the opportunity to clarify as needed. If you represent a publishing group which publishes more than one publication, you may complete a full survey for each publication separately, if this makes most sense to you. If you do respond separately for each publication, please make sure your answers are consistent throughout, so the data refers only to the publication in question and not the broader publishing group. If you have any questions, you may contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis at CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk
  • How long does the online survey take to complete?
    The survey should take about 25 minutes to complete.
  • What type of information will I need to provide?
    Publishers will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics. Your answers should relate to the last full year for which you have complete financial data, whichever that 12 month period is. For example, if your most recent accounts cover the period from 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020, or from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020, then you should use the same period for all of your answers.
  • Can the survey be completed in stages, i.e. saving a draft and submitting later?"
    Unfortunately, no. The survey cannot be saved as a work in progress, so please make sure that you have the relevant information available before you start. You will need to provide rough percentage data on revenues, expenses, staffing and audience characteristics.
  • How does the PINF Index relate to the INN Index conducted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) in the United States?
    The PINF Index is based on the INN Index, created by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which has been running annually in the United States since 2018. The INN Index has demonstrated the valuable role played by independent news publishers in the US. It has helped to increase funders’ interest in the sector, and to identify new models of public interest news.
  • When will the PINF Index 2021 be published?
    The online survey opens on 17 February 2021 and will close on 17 March 2021. We expect to publish the findings in July 2021.
  • Who should I contact if I have further questions?
    For questions about the content of the survey, please contact Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis (CMilburn-Curtis@uclan.ac.uk). For any other questions, you may contact contact@publicinterestnews.org.uk
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