The Journalism Foundation is hosting A Priceless Evening – a gala event to benefit the Foundation’s work supporting free and ethical journalism around the world – on Tuesday (May 22).
The gala will raise money to support The Journalism Foundation’s projects at home and abroad, including the establishment of a new college of journalism in Tunisia, a series of weekend courses in Lincoln in community radio journalism, and also a programme to train young journalists in South Sudan. Broadcaster Richard Bacon will host the evening, which will also feature Alexander Armstrong, Tim Minchin and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. Mark Hix will be doing the cooking. All money raised on the night will go directly towards The Journalism Foundation’s projects.
The event will be attended by high profile media, PR, arts and entertainment figures, and will take place at the premier London auction house Phillips de Pury. Most major newspapers will be represented, as will broadcasters and other major media organisations.
The night will culminate in an auction of money-can’t-buy lots conducted by Simon de Pury, including lunch with Gillian Anderson and Hugh Grant at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, tickets and flights to the world premiere in New Zealand of “The Hobbit,” the biggest budget movie of all time, the only existing replica of the ring jeweller Stephen Webster created for Elizabeth Taylor, and dinner for eight cooked in your own home by Mark Hix, with Alex James overseeing the cheese course. Other lots include the opportunity to share a spa day with Nancy Dell’Olio at Champneys, an exclusive dress designed by Alice Temperley, and a collection of cakes from James Middleton’s cake company.
The Journalism Foundation was launched in December 2011 with backing from the Lebedev family and exists to demonstrate the value of journalism in strengthening democracy throughout the world. Simon Kelner, chief executive, said: “Our mission is to develop and sustain free and ethical journalism by supporting media projects that have a positive effect on people’s lives. We hope that the generosity of those attending the evening will help us fund the projects that further these aims.”
To donate to The Journalism Foundation click here.
Messages of support for The Journalism Foundation
“Vibrant, courageous, challenging, uncomfortable, even at times irresponsible journalism is crucial to a healthy democracy. We all know now, thanks to the actions of a few, that there need to be new standards. But there is a real danger that the pendulum will swing to far and healthy journalism may be damaged in the process. Getting the balance right now is crucial. There could not be a better time for an organisation like this to ensure that we get this right, preserving, even strengthening what is best and rejecting what we all know now has been so bad.”
“For over 20 years I have argued that democracy cannot flourish in countries without a free press. And it is only by championing brave, investigative journalists across the globe that international corruption can be tackled effectively. Now more than ever, we must support journalists who hold the powerful to account.”
At a time when newspaper practices are rightly and belatedly coming under intense scrutiny, this foundation serves to remind us all about the good journalism can achieve. A free press is not only a symptom of democracy, it is a necessary condition for democracy. Journalists can and must help hold the powerful to account, expose injustice, as well as inform people about the debates that will shape their lives. This is true not just on Britain’s national stage but also in emerging democracies and local communities. For journalism to survive in the face of multiple modern challenges, it is important not only to root out wrong-doing but also celebrate and nurture the best of this profession. I wish the Journalism Foundation every success in its endeavours.
“The Journalism Foundation has already taken its first steps towards giving practical support to the ideal of journalism that works for the public good in a healthy society. This will require not just words but deeds, and deeds means money. The Journalism Foundation couldn’t be more timely. I expect it to be an important voice in one of the critical debates of our time.”
Tom Stoppard, playwright
“This is a time when bad and corrupt journalism is receiving extraordinary exposure in Britain, which makes the promotion of good, brave and campaigning journalism all the more important. The objectives of the Journalism Foundation deserve the widest support from everybody who cares about honest communication in the 21st century.”
Sir Max Hastings, former newspaper editor
“At a time when journalism is rightly under the spotlight following exposure of disreputable and appalling practices across the board, real journalism needs all the friends it can get. Without a free and vigorous press, we cannot guarantee a free society.”
Zac Goldsmith MP
“We often only realise how important journalism is when it is appropriated by mendacious power, or simply lazy. A state of perpetual war might not now be consuming much of the world had western journalism fulfilled its famous freedoms and sought facts instead of amplifying deception, challenged instead of echoed. The same is true of the unchallenged rise of corporatism. The line between journalism and information control, or public relations, has been crossed; and good journalism has become the honourable exception. We need to talk seriously about this; and by ‘we’ I mean journalists themselves, those who teach budding journalists and, above all, the public. The establishment of the Journalism Foundation is good news if it provides a vibrant forum for real debate and ideas about championing the best of journalism.”
John Pilger, award-winning journalist
“A vibrant democracy and a free press go hand in hand. I applaud the work of The Journalism Foundation in trying to strengthen this relationship.”
“This is an important and valuable – and needed – initiative that aims to uphold and propagate the highest journalistic standards. I wish it the very best.”
Salman Rushdie, author
“Like many, I went into journalism because I wanted to make a difference and because in some way I wanted to change the world. The Journalism Foundation represents precisely the kind of resource that provides more backbone for principled, thorough, and ground breaking journalism. I’m delighted to be an early supporter of its work.”
Jon Snow, broadcaster
“The independence of journalists is a fundamental pillar of good democracy but in too many countries abroad this principle is simply igored. A Foundation to promote journalistic independence has never been needed more than now.”
Sir Menzies Campbell
“When it comes to reporting in a democracy we need to learn from the experience of others so that we can create our own. It is like a new birth. We have almost everything to do and that is where organisations like The Journalism Foundation can give invaluable help.”
Mongi Aouinet, co-ordinator of the Tunisian Journalists’ Union
“At a time when, quite rightly, a light is being shone on malpractice in some areas of the British Press, I am delighted to give my backing to an initiative whose purpose is to demonstrate the positive aspects of journalism. Free speech has always been a touchstone issue for me, and an organisation intent on giving people around the world a voice is worthy of widespread support.”