Greatest reward: Helping to progress the careers of countless journalists


Posted by Nigel Baker

Thomson Foundation is unique: the place where the cut and thrust of the news industry meets the more strategic international media development sector.

Every year the foundation blends the two cultures to help thousands of journalists and scores of media organisations. Being the latest custodian of the organisation has been both a challenge and a privilege.

The media development sector is funded mainly by governments of industrialised nations aiming to strengthen the media of developing countries and emerging economies to ensure ordinary citizens have a voice. Separately, news organisations in those countries regularly hire our services directly to provide the training and consultancy to give them the necessary skills to sustain their businesses.

The greatest reward has been helping to progress the careers of countless journalists – and to make the foundation fighting fit to help thousands more.

Nigel Baker, CEO, Thomson Foundation

It’s unusual for those two approaches to sit in one organisation – but gives us a great advantage in understanding the contemporary needs of the news industry globally.

In the past decade, keeping pace with those rapidly-changing needs has been the equivalent of running a marathon: not just helping journalists navigate a maze of developments such as mobile journalism, but helping them to identify and eradicate fake news, and find new business models so they can survive and thrive.

Of course, all of those skills are meaningless without the most important requirement for any news organisation: the ability to engage an audience with compelling stories based on honest and credible journalism.

That core skill endures and remains at the heart of our offer to the profession, whether it be in a country where you'd struggle to find an outlet for independent journalism or in a competitive landscape where it is difficult to get it noticed.

I am proud that in the past decade I have been able to take the foundation into the digital age, with an arsenal of online tools to train thousands of journalists each year across many languages.

The foundation also has a more international structure, with main offices in London and Berlin as well as a wider range of global partners taking us closer to understanding the needs of those we seek to support.

The greatest reward has been helping to progress the careers of countless journalists – and to make the foundation fighting fit to help thousands more in years to come.


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