Nesta Announces £2m Future News Fund to Boost Local Journalism

With the digital revolution pushing news publishers to develop new approaches and tools, Dame Frances Cairncross recommended government funding for innovative approaches to improve the supply of public interest news. She described the different types of news which could be categorised as ‘public interest’ in her review – including investigative journalism and reporting on the activities of public institutions.

The Future News Fund is an upcoming £2 million pilot innovation fund which aims to support public interest journalism in the UK, following recommendations in the Cairncross Review. It will back promising technologies, models and ideas, so communities across the UK have access to reliable and accurate news about the issues that matter most to them.

Nesta will operate the scheme between autumn 2019 and spring 2020 to prototype what a bigger innovation fund (a recommendation from the Cairncross Review) should look like. This will help the government shape decisions about whether and how to run a full, expanded fund in the future.

The programme will be used to support a number of different initiatives, allowing publishers to test or expand new ways of providing sustainable public interest news. The government hopes publishers will benefit from the fund’s testing of new business models and greater use of data, which can be adopted across the industry.

Announcing the scheme, Secretary of State for Culture, Jeremy Wright, said:

“A strong and independent press is vital for a healthy democracy to thrive and the government is committed to securing its sustainability.

“While we are still developing our full response to the Cairncross Review, our plans to open a pilot fund now will help papers explore innovative ways of providing the public service journalism that citizens need and deserve.”

Details and deadline information, where applicable, will be reported in the autumn.

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