Category Archives: Independent Journalism

Independent Journalism. The Scott Trust: why the Guardian is unique – Liz Forgan. 

From the moment I arrived at the Guardian as a young writer, I knew I was joining a special place of open, independent, courageous journalism, free of political or commercial masters. And I knew that the reason the Guardian was not like any other newspaper was largely because of the Scott Trust, its sole owner.

The trust’s very existence is a daily reminder that Guardian staff are not here to serve some proprietor’s interest or to squander the power of a great media company on short-term gain at the expense of reputation and purpose. Guardian journalism often takes time, costs a lot of money to produce and runs risks, but our journalists know they will be supported in their work. The return on investment for the trust is the quality of the journalism – not a financial dividend.

The generosity of the Scott family in giving their fortune away in 1936 was extraordinary. But the double blessing was that they did it with only the lightest of instructions as to how the money should be spent and only the example of CP Scott, one of the greatest editors in the history of journalism – born 170 years ago this week – to guide its trustees.

The result is an exceptional, if not unique, form of governance for a news publisher. The Guardian has no proprietor in the normal sense of the word. While many of our readers would not know the Scott Trust from a bar of soap, its job is to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to uphold the values laid out by CP Scott, which underscore all we continue to pursue today in our journalism: how nesty, integrity, courage, fairness and a sense of duty to the reader and to the community.

The Guardian 

Independent Journalism in the FaceBook age. 

Today more than ever, independent journalism plays a fundamental role in creating and maintaining healthy, democratic societies. So much information is now available, and so much of it is—intentionally or not—untruthful, that journalism has to strengthen its role as the professional verifier, explainer, and contextualizer. With deception ubiquitous in the digital era, journalism must be free to bark at power when it is abusive or corrupt, and to uncover activities that have been hidden or distorted by governments or corporations.

For journalism to be influential in the digital era, its information gathering, production, and distribution processes must be transparent. Openness earns trust and engagement, and allows journalists to moderate conversations—inside or outside a given medium—feeding those conversations with quality news and stories delivered in an appealing way on multiple platforms, anytime, anywhere. When journalism plays this new role in society, its impact can be phenomenal. Where diverse, independent media can engage the public and thrive, the quality of public debate is better, and the more open a society is likely to become.

Open Society Foundations