Public interest journalism

Protecting the backbone
of public debate


As a source of infor­ma­tion, a voice for civ­il soci­ety, a forum for dis­cus­sion, a cat­a­lyst for crit­i­cal and diverse think­ing, and a check on abuse of pow­er and cor­rup­tion, inde­pen­dent pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism plays a cru­cial role in pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing pub­lic debate and democ­ra­cy.

Con­cur­rent chal­lenges, rang­ing from glob­al­iza­tion and the oli­gop­o­lies it enables to dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, includ­ing new infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion prac­tices and the increased com­pe­ti­tion from social net­works it has spawned, have pro­found­ly affect­ed the media land­scape in recent years. This chang­ing envi­ron­ment pos­es grow­ing struc­tur­al and finan­cial threats to all tra­di­tion­al media, but is par­tic­u­lar­ly endan­ger­ing inde­pen­dent, pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism.

In addi­tion, the clos­ing space of civ­il soci­ety and decline in media free­dom in many coun­tries, as well as an alarm­ing rise on attacks against jour­nal­ists, such as online and offline harass­ment or legal threats, fur­ther ham­per inde­pen­dent pub­lic inter­est and watch­dog media and orga­ni­za­tions to sur­vive and oper­ate safe­ly.

Our approach

In response to these grow­ing pres­sures on pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism, the Foun­da­tion focus­es on:

  • Strength­en­ing the field of pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism to uphold its abil­i­ty to feed and inform pub­lic debate and call for trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty;
  • Sup­port­ing the pro­tec­tion and safe­ty of pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ists and media orga­ni­za­tions to counter the rise of pri­vate and state-spon­sored silenc­ing and intim­i­da­tion tac­tics;
  • Facil­i­tat­ing the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion of qual­i­ty inves­tiga­tive report­ing to ensure access to inde­pen­dent, fact-based, and reli­able infor­ma­tion.

Our funding priorities

The pro­mo­tion of a strong pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ism sec­tor is essen­tial to ensure the avail­abil­i­ty, reli­a­bil­i­ty, and diver­si­ty of infor­ma­tion which, in turn, empow­ers cit­i­zens to par­tic­i­pate in edu­cat­ed pub­lic debate and deci­sion mak­ing. To this end, we sup­port in pri­or­i­ty civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions, inde­pen­dent pub­lic inter­est media, and col­lab­o­ra­tive ini­tia­tives aim­ing to:

  • Build net­works and coali­tions pro­vid­ing train­ing, resources, peer exchange and learn­ing, orga­ni­za­tion­al sup­port and col­lab­o­ra­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties for inde­pen­dent inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and local pub­lic inter­est media orga­ni­za­tions.
  • Pro­vide legal sup­port and emer­gency assis­tance, as well as safe­ty train­ing, tech­nol­o­gy, and equip­ment to inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists and media orga­ni­za­tions under threat for their report­ing, with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of SLAPPS.
  • Pro­vide col­lec­tive and/or transna­tion­al inves­tiga­tive grants to inde­pen­dent pub­lic inter­est jour­nal­ists, as well as prac­ti­cal and edi­to­r­i­al sup­port.

On an excep­tion­al basis, we also sup­port out­stand­ing inde­pen­dent watch­dog pub­li­ca­tions call­ing for trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty on issues of inter­na­tion­al pub­lic inter­est that receive insuf­fi­cient cov­er­age despite their glob­al reach and urgent need.

Our grantees