The general idea of creating a new professional development programme for African journalists was conceived in early 2005.
A new Trust named in honour of the late British newspaper editor and philanthropist David Astor would be set up to run it, reflecting his journalistic principles, his interest in promoting new talent, and his lifelong commitment to social justice causes.
The key planning aims were that the project should be innovative and unique, should respond to local needs, and should offer meaningful, long-term professional support that could make a real difference.
It would focus on print journalists only, since print is considered the medium of greatest agenda-setting, opinion-forming and policymaking influence. It is also the medium in which David Astor worked.
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were chosen as the starting countries primarily because they have well established, vibrant media infrastructures, with a number of independent English-language newspapers, as well as regional media, political and economic ties.
The David Astor Journalism Awards Trust was formed in mid-2005 and registered as a UK charity in February 2006.
A yearlong deliberative process followed, involving consultations with numerous individuals and groups in the three East African countries, as well as in South Africa, the UK and the United States. Out of this came detailed plans for the project. It was launched in April 2007.
A six-member Board of Trustees oversees the business of the Trust and meets twice a year in London. It currently employs a full-time Executive Director based in London and a part-time regional representative and coordinator based in Kampala.
The Trust operates exclusively for charitable purposes and is governed by the laws of England and Wales. It retains a London firm of chartered accountants to manage its finances, and files annual reports and accounts, which are independently audited.
Registered Charity No. 1112985