£250,000 News and Media Fund

Background

Lankelly Chase’s vision is a world of justice, healing and liberation, where all people can live with dignity and opportunity in supportive communities. We believe this will only be achieved if we fully embrace the interdependent nature of our existence. Our mission is to work with partners to change systems of injustice and oppression that result in the mental distress, violence and destitution experienced by people subject to marginalisation in the U.K.

Lankelly Chase’s role is to resource activity where people can come together to explore what it means to reveal, question, dismantle systems that perpetuate marginalisation. Or to explore how to heal, reimagine and renew systems so that all people can live with dignity and opportunity in supportive communities.

We appreciate the urgent need to engage with the news and media sector and infrastructure bodies for this to happen. At the very least, we need journalists to tell more stories about how and where this change is happening, and we need more people who are either currently under or misrepresented in the news to have their stories read and heard.

In designing this fund, we’ve taken inspiration from many parts of the news and media landscape. However, we have focused on the principles and approaches of public interest news, slow news and solutions journalism as they feel most aligned with our vision and mission:

  • Public interest news can be understood as ‘information that helps people in their capacities as citizens and members of communities…not pure entertainment or celebrity gossip’ (Jonathan Heawood, Public Interest News Foundation). It is a platform that brings greater diversity and democracy to the British media.
  • Slow news takes its inspiration from the Slow movements (Slow Food and Slow Travel). It focuses on the positive qualities of journalism (accuracy, depth, analysis and expert opinion) rather than focusing on competing for ‘breaking news’ with the social media giants.
  • Solutions journalism focuses on how solutions stories go beyond inspiration and seek to provide evidence and insight into how social change really works.

We recognise that each of these approaches are useful and unique in their own right. Whilst we aren’t experts in any of them, we have taken advice from people who are, and we hope it gives you a sense of why we need to invest in new (to us) forms of news, news infrastructure and narratives that contribute to the systemic change we speak of.

We see our role, along with a handful of other funders such as Luminate and PHF, as continuing to support the field of public interest news, slow news and solutions journalism. This fund has been co-designed to strengthen the connective tissue between people and organisations, encourage different connections and conversations. We’ve kept it intentionally broad in scope.

The aims of this fund are:

  1. To learn more about the news and media field 9in its broadest sense) and how it intersects with the Lankelly Chase vision and mission. (Following on from the research Telling a Different Story published in January 2020 and having worked closely with partners Bureau Local, Neon and SoundDelivery’s Spokespersons Network.)
  2. To support a collection of independent conversations, partnerships, experiments or spaces where people can come together to explore what it means to reimagine and renew parts of the news and media system.
  3. To encourage work that is led by or connects with or amplifies people’s voices subject to extreme marginalisation.
  4. To explore how the field of news and media can become more diverse.
  5. To support different narratives to emerge around healing, justice and liberation.
  6. To use financial resources to give people the time and space needed to nurture new or existing relationships across different parts of the news and media field and with communities subject to marginalisation.
  7. To begin a collaborative inquiry with people who are willing to learn alongside us.

We hope this News and Media Fund will resource some key partnerships interested in exploring these ideas with us. See below for more information on how to enter.

Funding available

We have small-scale core funding in mind – up to £30,000 per grant – which would enable us to resource a group of partners over the next 8 months or so.

This should give you the time and space to think, act, and reflect on renewing and reimagining the news and media system. However, if more time is needed, we can adapt to the needs of the wider group.

We appreciate that being so broad can create uncertainty, and so we have set out some thoughts and ideas that you could focus on. This is not a definitive list or a statement of how things should look in practice – you will know better than us about what’s needed. Some of the questions that we’re thinking about include:

  • How does the work aim to reimagine and renew the news and media system?
  • How and where is this work led by, connects with or amplifies the voices of people subject to extreme marginalisation?
  • What types of action supports different narratives to emerge around healing, justice and liberation?
  • How is this modelling different forms of participation, perspectives and power?
  • Is this creating stronger connections between different people, organisations or communities?
  • Is there a desire to contribute to a collaborative inquiry, e.g. what’s the role of narratives in contributing to systemic change?

We’ve also been discussing specific types of activity such as:

  • How do new independent news and media platforms work with more established networks?
  • What does decolonising the news look and feel like?
  • How can newsrooms build stronger relationships with communities subject to marginalisation?
  • How can newsrooms encourage different forms of participation, perspectives and power?
  • What conditions will support the emergence of more positive futures?
  • What needs to happen for people subject to marginalisation to have their voices heard on national media platforms?
  • What are the best media forms to share complex stories?
  • What types of infrastructure / connective tissue need nurturing to support a different type of news and media system to emerge?

We are comfortable funding new relationships or supporting work that is already happening, especially in partnership between people subject to marginalisation and news and media organisations.

People within the journalism sector are highly creative and will generate insights and knowledge in various forms. We would like to honour this and encourage people to co-produce and co-create something together.

All of the activity needs to be rooted in Lankelly Chase’s mission to work with partners to change systems of injustice and oppression, along with a willingness to share the learning.

We will also engage in a collaborative inquiry and shared learning process together to help shape the “so what and then what” next conversation? We want to co-design this with the partners.

What we won’t fund

  • If your work isn’t in some way connected to our mission and vision, we can’t support you.
  • Work that doesn’t recognise and seek to disrupt dominant power dynamics often found in the news and media sector.
  • This is not a fund to support specific roles such as P.R. roles in big charities.
  • This is not a fund to expose scandals.
  • We cannot be party political. However, we recognise that the work may be critical of current policies.

Decision-making

This is an open-call, open-access fund.

We are aware of the practical and ethical shortcomings of funding processes based on ‘applications.’ We also recognise the power and privilege that comes with decision making on who does and doesn’t get funding. In the spirit of sharing power, a small group of current partners and Trustees who are connected with journalism in one-way shape or form along with a few staff members will hold the decision-making process collectively. The types of questions that will be asking will reflect the prompts around funding. They will include:

  • How does the work aim to reimagine and renew the news and media system?
  • How and where is this work led by, connects with or amplifies the voices of people subject to extreme marginalisation?
  • Is it supporting different narratives to emerge around healing, justice and liberation?
  • How is this modelling different forms of participation, perspectives and power?
  • Is this creating stronger connections between different people, organisations or communities?
  • Is there a desire to contribute to a collaborative inquiry, e.g. what’s the role of narratives in contributing to systemic change?

Proposals and applications

We want to be open and flexible so please feel free to share your application either in the written word (for example PowerPoint or Word is fine) or via audio or video.  Just don’t make it too long!

Applications should include the following:-

  • How does your work address any or all of the seven aims outlined in the opening section?
  • What ideas/activity are you proposing?
  • Who will be involved and how will you resource them?
  • How are you thinking of sharing the learning that will emerge, for example, using audio, blogs, films, photography, written thought pieces etc?
  • How much money will you need?
  • Please provide contact details for the key people involved in your application – name(s), email address and location (required), and phone number (optional).
  • Where else can we find out a little more about the partners involved? (Website, blog, etc.)

We will be arranging a Zoom drop in on Monday 8th March at 4 pm for anyone who wants to find out more or share any questions. Please email mary@lankellychase.org.uk for the link.

Please email wetransfer or dropbox links or send in your application to carrina@lankellychase.org.uk and mary@lankellychase.org.uk.

Organisational setup is less of a concern, as long as we can resource the work openly and legally. This means we can fund charitable and non-charitable organisations, constituted groups and networks.

Timelines

The deadline for sending in your proposals/expressions of interest is Monday 22nd March 2021. It’s a short deadline as we feel there has already been lots of thinking and doing in this space.

We aim to respond to people soon after this.

Initial thoughts are that the activity will run between May and December but we will respond to what emerges.

We also plan to run monthly learning drop-in sessions. Again our thoughts are that the group will co-design this with us.

Contact

If you have any questions feel free to email carrina@lankellychase.org.uk or mary@lankellychase.org.uk.