The Fourth Estate Announces the Creation of the Office of Journalism Advocate

As part of the organization’s mission to foster, support and incubate a sustainable and vibrant free press, the Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation (Fourth Estate) announces the appointment of Alan Sunderland to the newly created Office of Office of the Journalism Advocate.

Alan Sunderland - Fourth Estate's Journalism Advocate
Alan Sunderland

Starting June 1st, 2019, Sunderland will serve as the independent and authoritative voice for journalism in the Fourth Estate, free of any particular news company influence or affiliation. said W. Jeffrey Brown, Executive Director of the Fourth Estate.

Sunderland has 40 years experience in public broadcasting and public interest journalism as an award-winning reporter, a producer, a news manager and most recently as the Editorial Director at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He serves and a Board Member and Treasurer, for the Organization of News Ombudsmen.

“I am delighted to be part of an important international dialogue about the pressures, challenges and opportunities facing journalism today.” said Sunderland. “The message from the public is clear – they want journalism that they can trust, journalism that speaks truth to power and raises sometimes uncomfortable questions. But they also want journalism that is worthy of that trust, and that means news organisations need to grapple with how they re-establish, rebuild and maintain the trust of the communities they serve.

The Journalism Advocate reports directly to the Fourth Estate’s Executive Director and will be responsible for:

  • Acting as the public’s agent in holding journalism accountable and journalism’s agent in articulating freedom of information and expression principles, news values and understanding of best practices.
  • Inviting question and challenge, selecting a small number to explain or amplify, in detail and context, in a manner that illustrates the problem and proposed solutions in a way that is understandable to the constituents.
  • Engaging regularly and meaningfully through contemporary platforms and practices, including public media programming, podcasts, webinars, conference calls, guest spots on media programs, and social media.
  • Addressing not just the hottest controversies facing news and journalism, but more importantly the systemic issues of representation, ethics, funding models and their impact, viewpoint, bias, and others.
  • Engaging stakeholders and building partnerships to facilitate communication, and collaboration and on news and journalism initiatives; and
  • Advising Fourth Estate leadership on stakeholder concerns, recommendations, and priorities as they relate to improving Fourth Estate’s mission-oriented services and activities.


The Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corporation (Fourth Estate) is an international, non-partisan, cooperative organization dedicated to democratizing news for the public benefit.

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