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A project to map out all of the UK's professional providers of local news. 



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About the project

PINF’s vision is for everyone to benefit from public interest news that speaks to them, for them and with them.


We wanted to find out how well (or poorly) every community in the UK is currently provided with news, so that we can encourage philanthropists and policymakers to target their resources on the local areas of greatest need.

The project has two components: a live map displaying local coverage information for each Local Authority District in the country, and a series of reports that are created upon each iteration of updating the data that provide a snapshot analysis of the state of local media provision in the UK.

Any map is an imperfect, approximate version of reality. Ours is no different: we did not have the capacity to map every single route by which public interest news is conveyed in a local area. 


To make the project manageable, we applied a criteria to define local news outlets, which you can see in the Definitions section of the latest report.

Click on each component to learn more. You can also read more about the project's origins.

  • 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
  • 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 (
  • 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
  • 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 ( For any other questions, you may contact

Project Directory

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A living product to understand local media in the UK

A project to map out all of the UK's professional providers of local news. 

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