The vision for the Public Interest News Foundation was developed by a group of independent publishers in the summer 2019, in the form of a Blueprint.
Download the Blueprint here
1.1. The digital revolution has created huge challenges and exciting opportunities for public interest journalism in the UK. The business model for traditional newspapers has been damaged by the new media economy. At the same time, a new wave of high-quality journalism is emerging from the public interest news sector. Organisations in this sector include a mixture of start-ups and well-established newspapers, magazines and websites. They may be small businesses, but these publishers are making a big impact in their communities and around the world.
1.2. Public interest news publishers have a diverse range of legal structures, but they all aim to provide benefit to the public. Their journalism drives civic engagement and accountability. They are giving a voice to people who were previously voiceless, telling stories that once went unheard and providing information that the public would not otherwise receive. They are making the British media more diverse and more democratic. However, the benefits that independent publishers provide to the public outweigh the small revenues they generate, and they are fighting to survive in a turbulent digital economy.
1.3. The Independent Publishers Taskforce was established by IMPRESS in order to explore the challenges and opportunities that affect independent publishers in providing public interest news. (See Appendix I for more details about the Taskforce; and Appendix II for a definition of public interest news.)
1.4. IMPRESS has also engaged with the general public and with experts and organisations that represent the public interest.
1.5. Having considered a range of options to address the challenges facing independent publishers, and to maximise their potential to produce journalism that provides benefit to the public, IMPRESS recommends the creation of a new charity – the Public Interest News Foundation.
1.6. The Foundation would exist for the benefit of the public, not news publishers or journalists. It would work directly with the public and news publishers to promote citizenship, community development and high ethical standards of journalism. It would inform and educate the public and provide a blend of financial and non-financial support in order to strengthen the capacity of the public interest news sector to provide benefit to the public.
1.7. IMPRESS recommends that the Foundation should run three complementary programmes:
• An education programme, to build knowledge and understanding of public interest news among the general public and people who work within the sector;
• A programme to build the capacity of public interest news organisations; and
• A programme to build the capacity of organisations that provide infrastructure for the public interest news sector.
1.8. In this Blueprint, we outline our vision for the Foundation, and invite support from all those who share our desire to see a new era of high-quality and accountable journalism that serves the public interest.
The vision outlined in this Blueprint belongs to the Independent Publishers Taskforce, convened by IMPRESS from April-September 2019. Future steps in response to this vision will be taken forward by the Public Interest News Foundation.