Independent Publishers Welcome Launch of new Foundation
14 November 2019
Today marks the launch of a major new initiative to support public interest journalism in the UK.
The Public Interest News Foundation has been created by a range of independent publishers, working with IMPRESS, the press regulator.
According to a Blueprint published at the IMPRESS Trust in Journalism Conference today, the new foundation aims to provide funding and professional development for public interest publishers across the UK.
Jonathan Heawood, CEO of IMPRESS, said: ‘Independent publishers are already providing a vital part of the social and democratic fabric of the UK. With more support, this sector could provide even more benefit to the public.’
The first trustees of the foundation include Lord Inglewood, former Chair of the CN Group, which published its first newspaper in 1815; and Jo Adetunji, Deputy Editor of The Conversation, which was launched in 2011, and a member of the Cairncross Review Advisory Group.
Publishers behind the Blueprint include Vanessa Baird of the New Internationalist and Paul Hutchinson of the Bedford Independent.
Vanessa Baird said: ‘I believe the future of independent news must be a rich and vibrant ecology where there is support for media plurality and diversity, to improve standards and tackle the democratic deficit.’
Paul Hutchinson said: ‘We need independent news to have this recognition and support, because supporting the failing larger publishers is throwing good money after bad. If this continues, then the recommendations of the Cairncross Review will fail, independent media will not survive, and we’ll be back at square one’.
The foundation hopes to raise funds from a wide range of sources, including (in principle) government, tech companies, trusts, foundations, members of the public and high net worth individuals.
At present, IMPRESS is incubating the foundation, and Patrick Swaffer, President of the BBFC, is acting as both a board member of IMPRESS and a trustee of the foundation to ensure a smooth handover. In time, the foundation will become a standalone organisation.
The Blueprint says that the foundation will focus its support on journalism that follows high ethical standards and that drives citizenship, community development or other charitable outcomes such as a health and environmental protection. This will include investigative journalism and local journalism.
About the Independent Publishers Taskforce
The Independent Publishers Taskforce was convened by IMPRESS in April 2019. Members of the Taskforce include independent news publishers from across. The Taskforce met between April-September 2019. The taskforce has also benefited from the advice and input of a group of external stakeholders. The proposals of the Taskforce have been distilled in a document: ‘Supporting Public Interest News: A Blueprint’. This six-month project was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.
IMPRESS regulates over 130 publications from across the UK. It provides publishers and journalists with the protection and support they need to do their job. They offer complaints adjudication, free arbitration, a comprehensive insurance scheme and a progressive Standards Code, as well as an open code review process in which all members of the public can take part. IMPRESS works in partnership with the public, publishers and key stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism.