Following a recommendation in the Cairncross Review’s final report in 2019, the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that it would provide Nesta with £2m to set up and run a pilot fund focused on public interest journalism in the UK, especially at the local level.
Nesta consulted with a wide range of sector experts from the outset, including speaking with Sameer. The Nesta team subsequently invited him to provide expert consultancy services more formally on the Future News Pilot Fund as its Journalism Advisor. He worked closely with the Nesta team – and the team from Bethnal Green Ventures, who ran the for-profit track of the Fund – from inception to the end of the programme in mid-2020.
In practice this involved wide-ranging work helping the Fund interact with and learn from the wider public interest journalism environment both in the UK and beyond. Sameer helped design and frame many aspects of the Fund, from the working definitions used to frame the Fund, helping to design its evaluation framework, and supporting the research work informing its analysis, to mapping the stakeholder environment, helping to build the Advisory Board, identifying expert selection advisors, and sitting across both grantee tracks, including the Accelerator.
He was even cajoled into fronting the promotional video below…