European media face an unprecedented crisis. It is a crisis of identity, as the media sector has been looking for a renewed role ever since platforms acting as gatekeepers entered the field. It is also a crisis of financial resources, as the traditional business model for generating revenues from news, struggles to pull through. Lastly, it is a crisis of trust, as, in the midst of a populist and nationalist drift, the media have a fundamental role of building and strengthening democracy by providing unbiased, independent and trustworthy information in a digital world and perform their crucial role in open societies.
Additional pressure generated by the pandemic risks blowing away any little progress of the recent past, while further accelerating declining trends in the media sector. Projects supporting the media sector have already been put forward in the past, but often they have focused essentially on journalistic cooperation or EU coverage, rather than innovation and sustainability.
Apart from a number of small pilot projects, the MEDIA programme, under the overall Creative Europe programme, is focusing almost exclusively on film and audiovisual. Europe can help media innovation via policy measures and could also bundle better and extend its action: 42 MEPs have suggested a NEWS sub-programme. In this framework, a pilot project like Stars4Media can test flexible and small scale approaches, in view of much needed permanent projects under a NEWS action.
The design of Stars4Media Second Edition builds on the original idea of a European-wide response to the crisis of the media sector. To accelerate innovation through European cooperation, this second edition will harness these key dimensions: the flexibility, the virtual component of the exchanges, the innovative approaches, junior professionals supported by senior mentors.
The Stars4Media Consortium has started advocating for transforming the Pilot into a much needed permanent media innovation and exchange programme. Members of the European Parliament, as well as relevant decision-makers at the European Commission, have been involved in a dialogue on policy solutions to support news media.
- Policy Brief “Fighting the media crisis in the EU: Lessons learned of Stars4Media focusing on innovation exchanges”
- “Media recovery beyond regulation: a NEWS bundle across Creative Europe and Horizon, like MEDIA”
- Open Letter co-signed by 28 MEPs and media stakeholders: Health, trust and journalism: a Coronavirus Plan for the Media