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New survey will ‘bust myths’ about independent news publishers

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. PINF expects to publish the findings in May 2021.

Publishers who want to participate may visit for details.

Jonathan Heawood, Executive Director of PINF, said: ‘Independent publishers are telling stories that would otherwise go unreported and serving audiences that would otherwise be ignored. However, some policymakers still seem to think that independent publishers are just “bloggers” or “hobbyists”. The PINF Index should bust these myths, and reveal the true value of this dynamic but fragile sector.’

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 2017.

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).

Clare Cook, co-founder of the Media Innovation Studio, said: ‘The PINF Index is an exciting opportunity to learn more about the independent news sector. This should help funders and policymakers to see how they can best help this sector to survive and thrive.’

The survey 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.

PINF is very grateful for the support of IMPRESS and ICNN in promoting the survey to their members, and would be happy to hear from other organisations that would like to promote the survey to eligible news publishers.

Detailed eligibility criteria are available on the PINF website. Publishers who want to participate in the survey can do so at


About the Public Interest News Foundation (PINF)

The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) is a charity supporting public interest news organisations to tell the stories that matter. We unlock the potential of public interest news through grants, leadership development and research.

PINF is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Luminate.

Public Interest News Foundation is a registered charity, no. 1191397, and a company limited by guarantee, no. 12320800.


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