Public Interest Journalism

An informed community is crucial to our democracy.

Public interest journalism is the news and current affairs media that has the primary purpose of recording, investigating and explaining issues of public interest or significance. It plays a critical role in ensuring that the community is well, and fairly, informed. Without it, citizens’ ability to engage in public debate and informed decision-making becomes absent.

The development of online technologies and the evolution of social media has changed the media landscape. Advertising revenue that once funded reporting has shifted away from journalism, compromising the traditional media business model and pushing public interest journalism into crisis.

COVID-19’s economic crunch has accelerated this decline.

Public Interest Journalism Initiative

PIJI is philanthropically funded, non-profit company limited by guarantee (ABN 69 630 740 153). Established in December 2018, it is designed as a limited shelf-life entity of no more than 3-5 years.

It is governed by a board of independent, voluntary directors with expertise in media, law, public policy, research, philanthropy and business.

PIJI operates as a Major Research Project of the newDemocracy Foundation.

Vision statement

A robust and sustainable eco-system for public interest journalism in Australia by 2023.

Purpose statement

PIJI conducts research to inform practical policy solutions and public conversation on the importance of an effective, independent news media.

PIJI’s work is guided and informed by six key principles:

  • IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: news and current affairs media with the primary purpose of recording, investigating and explaining issues of civic significance; that forms an essential service for the citizens and communities of Australia, including their role in national emergency infrastructure.
  • PLURALITY: diversity of voices and types of news media providers
  • EVIDENCE-BASED: policy design informed by rigorously established, objective evidence
  • NEUTRALITY: does not unjustifiably favour any particular media outlet, type, platform or organisation
  • INDEPENDENCE: independent and non-partisan
  • PRACTICAL: the context in which policy recommendations are implemented, including the consideration of factors such as timing (eg. unintended time lag before funding available to recipients) and duration (eg. whether short term remedial relief or long-term industry support is required)

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