There have been rumblings for a while about the establishment of a UK investigation foundation, and now it’s here. They’re not accepting cash at the moment, just pledges of support and help. So go help them.
Here’s their open letter:
A group of journalists – among them some of Britain’s most experienced investigative reporters – has been meeting to consider what should be done to address the deep and sustained crisis in our craft.
Even before the onset of the recession, thousands of media jobs had been lost across Britain. The internet, digital television, falling advertising revenues and the commercial pressures of the 24/7 news cycle have all had an impact. While there continues to be great examples of courageous journalism, a growing number of news outlets are increasingly putting emphasis on entertainment, on rapidly-delivered and recycled news rather than the investigation and discovery of what the public wants and needs to know.
And yet the need for information that can hold public institutions to account is as great as ever. Scandals such as MPs’ expenses, the intelligence failings in the run-up to war in Iraq or the behaviour of bankers which led to crisis in the world economy show how many aspects of public life remain critically under-examined.
We have decided to announce the formation of a Foundation for Investigative Reporting to look at what practical steps can be taken, both to experiment with new means of funding essential investigations and to inspire a new generation of reporters. The Foundation will act as an incubator for new ways of conducting journalism and for new ideas of how to finance this kind of reporting.
None of us profess to know the answers, but we are convinced it is time for some bold experiments. In particular, we would like to persuade all those who believe in the value of serious reporting in the public interest to join an open debate about journalism’s future – and to support this work financially.
As of today, we are creating a new rolling fund that will aim to help provide the initial cash required for the kind of risky, challenging reporting and film-making for which there is a crying demand, but few sponsors. This not-for-profit venture will not compete directly with established media, but will instead provide the seeds from which the big stories can grow.
We ask anyone interested in joining the debate to pledge their support or partnership, as well as to offer their views about what should be brought to public light – and isn’t. Further information can be obtained from our website: http://www.investigationsfund.org.
Antony Barnett, Martin Bright, Heather Brooke, Peter Barron, Nick Davies, Nick Fielding, Misha Glenny, Stephen Grey (editor), Mark Hollingsworth, Andrew Jennings, Philip Knightley, Paul Lashmar, David Leigh, Jason Lewis