Jonathan Heawood to lead new Public Interest News Foundation to support independent newsmakers with grants, advice and networking

The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) announced today that Jonathan Heawood, the founder and CEO of IMPRESS, will join as its Executive Director on a twelve-month secondment from IMPRESS.

Dame Frances Cairncross recommended a new public body, like the Arts Council, to support and fund public interest journalism. The Government rejected this proposal but has welcomed PINF as one way of taking forward the Cairncross agenda, alongside related initiatives from the BBC, Facebook, Google and Nesta.

PINF was born out of conversations between IMPRESS, independent publishers and other experts in the summer of 2019. As a result of those conversations, the new foundation was established to benefit the public by supporting independent news providers with grants, mentoring and peer-to-peer networking. IMPRESS has hosted PINF until now, and the two organisations share a commitment to public interest journalism but are constitutionally separate.

PINF’s founding trustees include the former Chair of the House of Lords Communications Committee, the President of the BBFC, and the Deputy Editor of news website The Conversation. Jonathan Heawood will now join this group to lead the foundation on a day-to-day basis, with support from IMPRESS staff for a transitional period.


Jonathan Heawood said: ‘After six years at IMPRESS and a fantastic experience getting to know the independent publishers who joined, I’m excited to lead this new project to work more closely with them and their audiences. I’m also looking forward to seeing IMPRESS flourish under its new leadership, with a sustained commitment to ethical standards.’


IMPRESS’s Chief Operating Officer Ed Procter will take on the role of Acting Chief Executive and will be responsible for leading IMPRESS’s next phase of development.

Ed Procter said: ‘IMPRESS continues to grow and develop its regulatory services to meet the changing needs of journalists and news organisations in the digital age. We remain steadfastly committed to supporting higher standards of journalism and protecting the public from the harmful effects of poor-quality journalism.’

The trustees of PINF include Jo Adetunji, Lord Richard Inglewood and Patrick Swaffer, who is standing down from the IMPRESS board to take up his new role.

Jo Adetunji, Deputy Editor of The Conversation and Trustee of PINF, said: ‘The Public Interest News Foundation was set up to strengthen the capacity of independent news publishers, so they can better engage communities, exchange ideas and build both infrastructure and sustainability, with a shared approach to high ethical standards. Journalism continues to face immense funding challenges in the digital era, and the foundation will seek to develop opportunities for publishers, and research that will benefit the public and contribute to the future sustainability of the sector.’

IMPRESS and the Public Interest News Foundation are separate organisations with separate boards and no constitutional link. Their working arrangements are underpinned by a Relationship Agreement.


Editor’s notes

About IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press

IMPRESS provides an officially approved scheme of press regulation. This provides external verification that our Regulatory Scheme is effective, publicly accountable and protects the freedom of the press. We regulate 135+ newspapers and websites in the UK. We provide website providers with the protection and support they need to do their job, and members of the public with efficient means of redress. We offer complaints adjudication, free arbitration, a comprehensive insurance scheme and a progressive Standards Code, as well as an open code review process in which all members of the public can take part. We work in partnership with the public, publishers and stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism and news, both in print and online, in the UK.

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About the Public Interest News Foundation

The Public Interest News Foundation is supporting independent newsmakers to tell the stories that matter. At the Public Interest News Foundation, we aim to bring out the unique value of independent news providers of every kind. Through grants, advice and networking, we can unlock their potential to strengthen our democracy.



Edward Procter joined IMPRESS as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. He is an established chief executive who over a nine-year period led the development of Sport Resolutions into the premier independent arbiter of sport disputes in the United Kingdom. He previously held senior leadership positions at the Legal Services Commission and Sport England. Earlier in his career he worked in criminal justice and the newspaper and advertising industries.


Jonathan Heawood began his career as a journalist at the Observer and went on to spend seven years as Director of English PEN, where he campaigned successfully for free speech and media freedom. He served as Director of Programmes at the Sigrid Rausing Trust, one of Europe’s largest human rights foundations, where he developed a new strategy to support investigative journalism. In 2015, Jonathan founded the independent press regulator IMPRESS (The Independent Monitor for the Press). He led IMPRESS as CEO until March 2020. Jonathan has written for newspapers and magazines including the Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, London Review of Books, Prospect and New Statesman, and journals including Critical Quarterly, Ethical Space, Journal of Media Law, Communications Law, Information Polity and the British Journalism Review. He has also given evidence to several Parliamentary select committees and is regularly invited to speak at conferences in the UK and internationally. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, a Leadership Fellow at St George’s House, Windsor, a Committee Member at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and Chair of the Stephen Spender Trust. His book, The Press Freedom Myth, was published by Biteback in 2019.


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