Journalism Foundation to close after less than a year because of a lack of funds

By Kate Youde, Third Sector Online, 15 November 2012

Simon Kelner

Simon Kelner

Chief executive Simon Kelner, former editor-in-chief of The Independent, will lose his job, along with the other three members of staff

A journalism charity launched in the wake of the telephone hacking scandal is to close after less than a year because it struggled to raise funds.

The Journalism Foundation, which "promotes, develops and sustains free and independent journalism", is in the process of shutting down less than a year after its launch. It registered with the Charity Commission in December.

Its four members of staff, including chief executive Simon Kelner, the former editor-in-chief of The Independent newspaper, are to lose their jobs.

It is understood the charity had received initial support of about £600,000 from the family of Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent and the London Evening Standard newspaper titles. He is chair of the trustees of the charity.

But a spokesman for the Journalism Foundation said it had proved very difficult to raise external funds. He said that, rather than continue with the charity, the Lebedev family had decided to donate their money directly to good causes through the existing Lebedev Foundation.

The spokesman said the decision to close the Journalism Foundation was "taken with great regret" and it was unfortunate that it had found itself in an economic environment in which it was far more difficult to raise funds. He added that existing projects with committed funds would be honoured. Programmes it has supported include an online community newspaper in Brixton, south London, and a newspaper in Tanzania.

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