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IMPRESS Taskforce Being Set Up to Improve Your Public Interest Journalism

Published on: 11 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2019

Press regulator IMPRESS which regulates The Guildford Dragon NEWS is convening a taskforce of independent news publishers to help strengthen public interest journalism in the UK.

The team will build on the Cairncross Review, which recommended new subsidies and tax breaks for public interest journalism and digital innovation. The review also recommended a “news quality obligation”, ranking public interest journalism above misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms.

IMPRESS will seek answers to questions such as:

  • How can the Cairncross recommendations be implemented while protecting the freedom of the press?
  • How can subsidies be directed towards publications committed to high standards of journalism?
  • What kind of support do small and start-up news publications need to thrive in the digital era?

The project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT), which promotes democratic culture and political reform in the UK. Detailed proposals will be published this year.

Dragon editor Martin Giles said: “The future of local journalism hangs in the balance and the Cairncross review has produced some important recommendations, including expansion of the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporter scheme, of which The Dragon is a partner.

“I have also been in communication with our MP, Anne Milton, who has kindly forwarded my letter to Margot James, a minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, as well as agreeing to a meeting.

“I’ve spoken to many Dragon readers and I know they appreciate our local, Guildford focussed, news service. Many feel it is important, if not essential, and I hope to make the Dragon’s future sustainable in the long-term. At present, we have to rely too much on voluntary effort.

“I am certainly prepared to play my part in the Impress initiative.”

Jonathan Heawood, the CEO of IMPRESS, said: “Independent publishers all over the UK are busy holding the powerful to account and producing informative and entertaining journalism. We want to draw on their creativity to ensure that the Cairncross recommendations turn into concrete actions. If we can get this right, we may see a new era of high-quality and diverse journalism in the public interest.”

IMPRESS is inviting its members to join the taskforce and welcomes interest from other publishers and stakeholders who would like to contribute to this initiative.

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