Tuesday 19th March 2024

Stone King Partner Tom Murdoch was featured by The Guardian in a piece covering the first public interest news provider to gain charitable status, the Guildford Dragon.

Tom helped the publication gain this status alongside the Charitable Journalism Project and told the Guardian that the registration meant The Guildford Dragon could benefit from additional tax relief and attract donors interested in supporting local public interest journalism on the same basis.

“This decision accepts a public interest news definition that is charitable. That is huge progress, it’s a doorway to sustainability,” Tom said.

Martin Giles, the Guildford Dragon’s editor said, “It would be fantastic if we’re successful and this leads the way for other similar news publications to also become sustainable”.

The piece highlighted the extent of the financial challenges facing local reporting quoting February figures from the Press Gazette which showed that from 2007 to 2022 revenue at leading local publishers dropped by 80%.

“The local newspaper as it existed in the 1950s has been dying for years, but it’s comprehensively dead now. There’s a very real crisis and that is a very real problem for democracy,” Jonathan Heawood, the executive director of the Public Interest News Foundation, told the Guardian.

Read the full article from Guardian senior reporter Alexandra Topping here.