top of page

PINF launches COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support independent news publishers in the UK

The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) has launched the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for independent news publishers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

While many organisations in the UK are facing financial challenges as a result of COVID-19, independent 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.

The goal of the Fund is to provide small but meaningful grants to help independent publishers keep working through the crisis and beyond. The Fund will award 20 grants of £3,000 each – a total of £60,000 – for independent publishers based in the UK.

A Selection Panel of experts from across the industry will review the applications and make grant decisions.

The members of the Selection Panel are:

· Dame Frances Cairncross, author of the Government review: A Sustainable Future for Journalism (Chair)

· Clare Cook, Senior Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire

· Hannah Storm, CEO, Ethical Journalism Network

· Isabelle Roughol, Journalism Innovation & Leadership consultant and PINF trustee

· Jo Adetunji, Deputy Editor, The Conversation and PINF Trustee

· Marcus Ryder, Acting Chair, Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, Birmingham City University

· Meera Selva, Director, Journalist Fellowship Programme, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

· Peter Harkness, Non-Executive Director, GlobalData

· Phil Ramsey, Lecturer, Ulster University, and Chair of the MeCCSA Policy Network

· Tom Sanderson, Deputy Director, the Centre for Investigative Journalism

Dame Frances Cairncross, chair of the Selection Panel, said:

“The threat to the survival of small independent news publishers is one of the most worrying consequences of the pandemic. For many communities, independent publishers are the best or the only source of public-interest news. The Public Interest News Fund hopes not just to raise funds to help to support them but to promote ways to strengthen them and to help them survive.”

The PINF COVID-19 Emergency Fund has been launched with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT), which has donated £60,000, all of which PINF is passing on to independent publishers in the form of small grants.

Grants will be administered by the charity Internews, which is generously providing support for the Fund at no cost.

“We’re delighted to be part of this fantastic initiative. Independent news is needed now, more than ever and we must ensure its survival”, said Jodie Ginsberg, Internews CEO.

Internews established a global Rapid Response Fund in March to support small, local news organisations worldwide survive in the face of COVID-19.

PINF welcomes donations towards the COVID-19 Emergency Fund and continues to raise awareness for the plights of independent publishers through the Save Independent News campaign, in partnership with the Independent Community News Network (ICNN).

Emma Meese, Director of ICNN, said:

‘Our survey of independent publishers showed that 95% had not received any money at all from the UK Government.

This Fund will be a lifeline for many independent publishers, who have otherwise slipped through the net. It has been heartbreaking to hear from brilliant, dedicated and trustworthy independent journalists who are desperate to keep serving their communities, but fear for the future of their titles.

Investing in this sector is essential to ensure a continued plurality of voice in the UK, and avoid hundreds more news black holes which would leave an even bigger democratic deficit than we already have.’

Applications and enquiries

Applications to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund will open on Tuesday 26 May and close on 2 June. Details of the eligibility criteria and how to apply will be published on in due course.

Enquiries about the PINF Emergency Fund from applicants can be directed to

Applicants are also encouraged to subscribe to the PINF newsletter to receive updates on the Fund and other PINF activities.

About the Public Interest News Foundation

The Public Interest News Foundation is supporting independent providers to tell the stories that matter. At the Public Interest News Foundation, we aim to bring out the unique value of independent news providers of every kind. Through grants, advice and networking, we can unlock their potential to strengthen our democracy.

Media enquiries


bottom of page