The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, journalists and media executives for press freedom, is delighted to announce that Timothy Large has joined its senior management team as Director of Independent Media Programmes.

Large will be responsible for expanding IPI’s existing support to independent media as a means to build resilience in the face of press freedom restrictions and financial hardship, and ensure the viability of journalistic content that serves the public interest.

Providing support for independent media is a central pillar of IPI’s mission alongside its work defending press freedom and analysing and promoting best practices in media innovation.

As a network, IPI draws on the unique strength, commitment to journalistic integrity, and wealth of experience that exist among its members to share knowledge and create a united front in defence of core press freedom principles.

IPI’s efforts to galvanize direct support for independent journalism build on various successful initiatives to date and reflect the organization’s ongoing assessment of the needs of independent media operating in challenging environments.

IPI’s Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) programme — which Large has successfully managed for the past two years — has channelled more than €2.5 million in public and philanthropic money into watchdog journalism in Europe while guaranteeing editorial independence. The programme also offers training, mentoring, legal help, and networking opportunities.

In addition, IPI has united minority- and majority-language media in Europe through NewsSpectrum, which offers grants and fellowships for collaborative reporting. IPI will shortly launch a new programme fostering media innovation in Europe.

Vienna-based IPI — the world’s oldest global press freedom organiszation — also runs other programmes offering direct support to independent journalism.

The goal now is to build on these successes and the lessons learned.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said: “IPI is fortunate to have Timothy Large lead its Independent Media Programme. Tim’s thorough understanding of the challenges that independent media face across the globe and his ability to develop strategies to provide substantial support without interfering in their editorial independence greatly contribute to ongoing global efforts for the viability of public interest journalism.”

An award-winning journalist, editor, and media development specialist, Large has around 25 years of experience working in — and supporting — the news industry.

He was founding editor of Reporting Democracy, a cross-border investigative platform run by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), and editor of BIRN’s flagship Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.

Prior to that, he spent 17 years working for Reuters, first as a sub-editor and correspondent in Tokyo and then as deputy editor and editor of Reuters AlertNet, a global humanitarian news service.

He went on to become editor-in-chief of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, where he built and managed a global team of around 30 Reuters journalists covering under-reported topics ranging from modern slavery to the human impacts of climate change.

He set up a Creole-language emergency news service in Port-au-Prince right after the Haiti earthquake and negotiated and led the first trip by a major news agency into North Korea for exclusive reportage on famine.

Large later became Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Director of Journalism and Media Programmes, managing Reuters media development projects aimed at fostering the highest standards of journalism worldwide and supporting independent media.

These included the establishment of independent news services in countries in transition — Aswat Masriya in Egypt, The Source in Zimbabwe, and Myanmar Now in Myanmar. He launched Wealth of Nations, a pan-African programme to help journalists investigate illicit financial flows, and Perspektivy, a cross-border programme for Russian-language media.

Large was a founding member of the European Press Prize, launched in partnership with 10 major media foundations.

“I’m thrilled to take up the challenge of expanding IPI’s work in supporting independent media”, Large said. “What we’ve seen from programmes like IJ4EU and NewsSpectrum is that the demand for assistance far outweighs supply.

“And it’s not only about providing money — important though that is. I’m bowled over by the resilience and ingenuity of so many independent media outlets in the face of overwhelming pressure. In addition to funding, what they need is practical assistance and a path to sustainability. I believe IPI is perfectly positioned to work with partners all over the world to help make that happen.”