Guardian Australia and the University of Melbourne launch journalism trust

Guardian Australia and the University of Melbourne have launched a new philanthropic fund to support public interest journalism.

Established in the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, The Guardian Civic Journalism Trust has been created to fund projects related to topics including the environment, Indigenous affairs, human rights, inequality, governance and accountability.

So far, the trust has raised $700,000 for projects, made up of a $300,000 grant from The Balnaves Foundation for in depth coverage of Indigenous Affairs, and another from The Susan McKinnon Foundation to cover investigative projects and educational activities related to corporate and political accountability.

As a result of The Balnaves Foundation grant, Guardian Australia has appointed an Indigenous affairs editor, ABC radio’s Lorena Allam.

Allam has more than 20 years experience as a journalist. Most recently she handled all Indigenous programming for ABC Radio, on air, online and across podcasts.

Both grants will roll out over three years and will include an education component to help future Australian journalists build their skills. Student internships, cadet mentoring schemes, guest lectures and student workshops will also be offered.

Guardian News and Media – Guardian Australia’s parent company – has contributed $50,000 to establish the trust.

Whilst this is the first venture into philanthropy for Guardian Australia, globally the publisher has ongoing partnerships with a number of organisations, including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Knight Foundation.

In August last year, the Guardian also launched a US philanthropic non profit organisation,

Professor Denise Varney, dean of the faculty of arts, University of Melbourne, said the trust would enable students to take steps forward to making a “broader contribution” to the quality of public debate.

“It is fantastic to see the trust provide an opportunity for our students to work so closely with professionals in the field of investigative journalism – especially on such important topics. We’re very keen for our students to benefit from work-integrated learning that helps them to understand how best to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom,” Varney said.

Lenore Taylor, editor of Guardian Australia, said the trust allows the publisher to do more of the journalism its readers want, and “democracy needs”. She also hopes it will help educate and mentor future civic journalists.

Taylor was also pleased to welcome Allam to the team: “I’m delighted that Lorena is joining us to head our Indigenous reporting project, which aims to conduct in-depth investigations and surface a rich variety of Indigenous viewpoints and stories. We’re so pleased to be able to do this work with complete editorial independence through the generous support of The Balnaves Foundation.”


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