Over the past six months, I have had the great privilege of serving as Lead Rapporteur for the Forum on Information and Democracy’s Working Group on the Sustainability of Journalism, working with the Steering Committee, my co-rapporteurs, and the Forum team* to produce a new global report on a sustainable future for journalism. (Here are the Working Group’s principles set out by Prof Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, chair of the Steering Committee, at the beginning of the process.) On the occasion of its publication, I wanted to share ten personal observations on where this report has come from, how it has…

Share evidence with us on what business models, laws, policies and regulations, and other ideas from beyond the market and state can help journalism survive, transform and thrive

If someone — a government, a policy-maker, a funder, an investor, a union, a tech company — asked you what they should do to help journalism survive, transform and thrive in the future, what would you tell them? What evidence would you give them that your idea or policy would work?

If you’re one of those people — in government, making policy, involved in funding or investment, building tech — what kinds of input, evidence or advice would best help you support the sustainability of journalism?

I’m working with the Forum on Information and Democracy, as the Lead Rapporteur for…

This is the fourth of four suggestions I made to the Cairncross Review in September 2018. [Here are the first, second and third.]

The information ecosystem for citizens in the UK is largely terra incognita

In the UK, we do not know what information our citizens want or need, and how these wants or needs are met. We have data on what they consume, on which services, but we don’t know or understand more holistically what this information environment actually means to them. …

This is the third of four suggestions I made to the Cairncross Review in September 2018. [Here are the first, second and fourth.]

A fragmented UK journalism field with patchy infrastructure and support

The connective tissue of UK news and information landscape is not strong enough to spark a holistic and concerted response to the challenges it faces. It has been fragmented for a long time, and while there are laudable efforts to bring together the industry at various levels, such as the ICNN, the C4CJ, Hacks/Hackers and other forward-looking bodies, there is little funding available to strengthen these bodies…

This is the second of four suggestions I made to the Cairncross Review in September 2018. [Here are the first, third and fourth.]

Transformation and Innovation Funds, and other field catalysts

As others have advocated here, and in similar processes in Australia, Canada, and Wales, there is a manifest need to establish a large-scale and long-term fund to catalyse transformation and innovation in the news and information ecosystem. Alongside this organisations that can or might provide targeted services to the field ought to receive startup or scale-up support. …

This is the first of four suggestions I made to the Cairncross Review in September 2018. [Here are the second, third and fourth.]

Charitable status

Submissions by other parties, including Rachel Oldroyd/The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, George Brock, William Perrin, Martin Moore/CMPS, KCL, Will Moy/Full Fact, Steven Barnett, and no doubt many others, will have laid out the compelling evidence in favour of re-examining the issue of charitable status for journalism. …

The Cairncross Review — the one set up by DCMS (the UK’s culture/media/sport ministry) to look into how to rescue the local press — closed its call for evidence a few weeks ago. They’ve likely got a few hundred to wade through, after which I think they’ll be published online for dissection.

You probably saw the (widely-reported) News Media Association’s evidence, with a focus on a proposed tech tax, levied on the big platforms. A number of other groups released their own submissions in a not dissimilar vein — e.g. …

Sameer Padania

Lead Rapporteur, Sustainability of Journalism, for the Forum on Information and Democracy (www.informationdemocracy.org)

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