The government-backed Future News Pilot Fund tests new approaches to public interest news so communities across England have access to reliable and accurate news about the issues that matter most to them.
The fund will provide grants of £20,000 to £100,000, plus wrap-around support to prototype new solutions and an accelerator to support early-stage businesses.
Nesta analysis of official figures found that already disadvantaged communities that tend to have older populations, higher levels of unemployment and lower levels of education are particularly affected by a decline in journalistic activity. These communities are losing a vital way to hold those in power to account, to participate in democracy and to feel part of a shared community.
The Cairncross Review confirmed the already common understanding that public interest news, especially at local level, has collapsed. There has been a steep decline in the number of journalists and public interest news outlets at a local and regional level, and there are few sources of revenue or funding available to spark innovative responses. That’s why this pilot fund is so important.
The solution to the crisis of public interest news cannot simply be to put more money into existing journalism, as high quality as much of it is. We will need to transform the way that public interest news is created, distributed and sustained for future generations.
The Future News Pilot fund is looking for innovators with brave and bold ideas, who want to join forces with others to reimagine how public interest news could work in the future.
Innovation can come from anyone and anywhere, and often does originate in the most unexpected places.
Any organisation can potentially apply to this fund.
If your organisation is not itself a news organisation generating public interest news but has a promising and potentially transformative solution for public interest news, you need to demonstrate your commitment to public interest news in the application form & selection process.
Do you have a new, brave and bold idea for how public interest news could be produced, funded, validated and shared? Then we want you to apply to the Future News Pilot Fund. For details and focus areas of this pilot fund, take at look at our call for solutions.