Who we are

The Journalism Foundation is an independent charitable foundation which promotes, develops and sustains free and independent journalism throughout the world. We believe that a free press is an essential instrument of democracy, and the aim of The Journalism Foundation is to demonstrate how journalism can be a force for good by supporting projects which have a direct and positive effect on people’s lives. If you would like our support please click through to how we can help you.

The Foundation’s work

  • We will fund projects whose purpose is to bolster democracy at a local or national level.
  • We will only back initiatives that use journalism as an instrument for the public good.
  • We will support investigative journalists working to expose truth in dangerous conditions.
  • We will help journalists exploit new-found liberties in countries where press freedom has been an alien concept.
  • We will help develop community journalism initiatives and will give grants to suitable projects.
  • We will give bursaries to individual journalists and will run an annual award.

Why now?

Free journalism is under attack as never before. In the mature democracies of the West, the financial pressures faced by all media groups have meant two things: greater consolidation of media ownership, and an imperative to drive down costs. As a result, the pressure on journalists to act in the commercial interests of their proprietors is increasing, and the public can be short-changed with journalism that is compromised by political or proprietorial influence.

At the same time, the political backlash in Britain to the hacking scandal will result in tighter, and possibly statutory, regulation. As the Leveson Inquiry continues, it is clear that the British Press as a whole is on trial, and the public may be left with the impression that journalism is an ignoble trade, full of sharp practice and skullduggery. What’s more, traditional freedoms, including that of self-regulation, may disappear. The Foundation stands against further restrictions that may curb journalists operating in perfectly legitimate and legal ways.

Journalism is changing rapidly. The open access of the internet, the rise of the blogosphere and the advent of social media has seen an exponential rise in citizen journalism. We have seen during the Arab spring the powerful role these networks can play in the effective dissemination of information and opinion. This is journalism every bit as worthwhile as more traditional forms. There are many projects in this field that fulfill an important democratic function, but lack for support, professional advice and resources.

In many areas of the world, local newspapers are dying, and are not being replaced by other media . This leaves a big gap in the reporting of local affairs and regional politics. The role for journalism – print, broadcast or online – to make up the democratic deficit is only too clear.

And in the developing world, journalists can be subject to draconian government control. This has made the free and fair reporting of events extremely difficult and very often dangerous. At the same time, fewer and fewer media organisations are investing in original journalism, and investigative reporting is almost extinct. This means that, in many areas of the world, the rich, the powerful and the corrupt are not scrutinised and exposed by a free press acting in the public interest.

The Journalism Foundation will work proactively to develop free media in a free world.


Simon Kelner, Chief Executive Officer

Simon KelnerSimon was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Independent in May 1998 after a distinguished period as Editor of the Mail on Sunday’s Night & Day magazine. Simon received considerable acclaim for his ground-breaking transformation of The Independent into a ‘compact’ format and the introduction of unique, innovative, single issue, front pages. The ‘compact’ format has been copied by 55 newspapers worldwide and Simon has won many awards, including ‘Editor of the Year’ at the What the Papers Say awards in 2003, and ‘Newspaper of the Year’ at the British Press Awards in 2004. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bolton in June 2008. In October 2010, Simon became editor of i (as well as The Independent), the first successful, quality, daily newspaper to launch in almost 25 years.

Charlie Burgess, Managing Editor

Charlie BurgessCharlie Burgess worked in Fleet Street for over 30 years, latterly as the managing editor of The Independent where, during two stints he was also the founding sports editor and the home editor. At the Guardian he was the media editor, the Saturday editor, travel editor and a sports writer. At the Daily Mail he was a features executive. He is a non-executive director of the CN Group, a local media group, and of Editorial Intelligence. For the past five years he has worked as a media advisor to several companies.

Arion McNicoll, Website Editor

Arion McNicollArion McNicoll was Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times online. Before this, Arion held a succession of roles at The Times, including Motoring Editor. He was centrally involved in the design and launch of thetimes.co.uk and thesundaytimes.co.uk and helped create and build The Times’s award-winning iPad app.


Evgeny Lebedev, Chairman of the Trustees

Evgeny LebedevEvgeny Lebedev is the chairman of the Evening Standard Ltd and Independent Print Ltd. He is the founder and chairman of the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation which was established in 2006 with President Mikhail Gorbachev, to raise money to help children with cancer. So far it has raised many millions of pounds. Lededev is an avid supporter of the arts and chairs the Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Lord Fowler, Trustee

Norman Fowler was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet from 1979 to 1990. He was successively Secretary of State for Transport; Secretary of State for Health and Social Security and Secretary of State for Employment. Between 1992 and 1994 he was chairman of the Conservative Party and between 1997 and 1999 he was Shadow Home Secretary in William Hague’s shadow cabinet. Norman Fowler was educated at Cambridge and spent eight years as a journalist on the staff of the Times before entering parliament in 1970. He remained in the House of Commons until 2001 when he went to the House of Lords. From 2004 to 2010 he was chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications. Prior to this he was chairman of two regional newspaper companies – the Birmingham Post group and the Yorkshire Post group.

John Tusa, Trustee

John TusaJohn Tusa worked in all parts of the BBC both as a producer and increasingly as a radio and tv presenter. From 1979 to 1986 he was a main presenter of BBC 2’s “Newsnight”, when he won awards from both the Royal Television Society and BAFTA. From 1986 to 1992 he was Managing Director of BBC World Service, during which the foundations of BBC World Service Television were laid. He is a regular Broadcaster, conducting 55 extended interviews with living artists for BBC Radio 3; and writing and presenting BBC Radio 4’s Daily Education of 1968 – “Day By Day”. He has written books on broadcasting, arts policy, arts management and the nature of creativity. He also assisted Ann Tusa in her books on the Nuremberg Trial and the Berlin Blockade.

Baronness Helena Kennedy, Trustee

Baronness Helena KennedyHelena Kennedy is a barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords. She is an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues and Chair of Justice – the British arm of the International Commission of Jurists. She was the Chair of the British Council and Chair of the Human Genetics Commission. She is currently the Investigating Officer of the Inquiry for the Equality and Human Rights Commission on Human Trafficking in Scotland and a member of the Government Commission on a British Bill of Rights. A Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and an honorary Writer to the Signet in Scotland.

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