The Public Interest Journalism Foundation (PIJ) is about conversations, collaborations and experiments that will help sustain public interest journalism, and therefore enhanced community well-being.

The Foundation was founded in 2009 as part of the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology. The Foundation has a broad brief to develop new approaches to journalism that “maximize and explore the applications of emerging media technologies”. This comes in the wake of major technological, economic and demographic changes which are affecting the viability of established media organizations.

The Foundation is pursuing three initiatives in 2010, each designed to promote journalism of public importance in the new media age:

YouCommNews is an experiment in audience driven commissioning of journalism. YouCommNews is a website that brings journalists and the public together, without the necessary intervention of Big Media. People can directly commission the journalism they want to see done. YouCommNews has been established with the help of grants from the Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional development, the ARC funded Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, and philanthropic support from foundation sponsor, the Financial and Energy Exchange Group. Other donors include Professor John Langmore.

An Investigative and Public Interest Journalism Resource Centre

This centre, designed with the assistance of PIJ Foundation Board member Chris Masters, will bring together a range of resources and training opportunities with the aim of increasing the range, quality and depth of investigative journalism in Australia. The resources will include access to existing data bases of material as well as new data bases created by the centre, and professional training programs.

The New News 2010 – A Digital News Media Expo

PIJF will hold a groundbreaking two day conference on the future of journalism as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival, on 2nd and 3rd September 2010. This conference, to be held at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas will be about collaboration and creation, and about building new and creative relationships between newsmakers and audiences. This is an optimistic conference. It will go beyond tired old debates about bloggers versus journalists to embrace and bring together all those who are using new technologies to communicate and access news. New News 2010 will engage existing and new audiences in new media discussion and debate.

The New News 2010 will carry the immense potential of Web 2.0 for a healthier news media to the heart of cultural Melbourne and the wider Australian community. The New News 2010 will also include an “expo” in which innovators in journalism can display their work.