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‘Business skills should be part of journalism training’, MPs told

Jonathan Heawood 2022Journalists should learn more about business skills as part of their training, MPs have been told.

Public Interest News Foundation executive director Jonathan Heawood has called for topics such as business development, fundraising and revenue streams to be taught to journalists.

Jonathan, pictured, made the suggestion after calling upon his experience of working with independent local publishers while giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism.

PINF, which was set up to help public interest news and has given funding to regional newspapers in the past, was given charitable status in 2020.

During the session, Jonathan was asked by Scottish National Party MP John Nicolson, himself a former BBC and ITV journalist, whether the industry was still training people “in the way that we should be doing”.

In response, Jonathan said: “My experience working with independent publishers, these people who are setting up and running their own organisations, print and digital, is that there is a desperate need for more entrepreneurial training.

“We have to recognise that journalism in many cases now is not simply going into a well-established legacy institution, learning the ropes and pumping out a few quality stories.

“It’s going to be multi-tasking, thinking about business development, fundraising, revenue streams.

“Most people who are setting up independent news sites, doing it because they care about journalism or they care about their community, don’t necessarily have those wider entrepreneurial skills.

“That’s one of the things that we’re trying to do at the Public Interest News Foundation.”