General Information

Have you heard the NEWS?

Stars4Media is a training programme for media professionals and the first pilot project for European media organisations, aiming at facilitating cooperation between media professionals (“rising stars”) to acceleratemedia innovationandcross-border coveragein Europe.

In its two editions, Stars4Media Pilot and Stars4Media Second Edition supported media professionals residing in different EU countries have to cooperate aroundbottom-up Initiatives, to test ideas and technologies, develop new business models and produce journalistic content.

In its third edition, Stars4Media NEWS is focusing on supporting a viable, resilient and competitive European News media sector through direct grants and in-kind support, like coaching and training to foster the newsroom and business transformation.


The partners of the Stars4Media NEWS programme are the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Europe’s MediaLab (ex Fondation EURACTIV), the European Journalism Centre (EJC), and the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The project is co-funded by the European Union.

Who can participate?

The main target group of Stars4Media NEWS are medium (25-200 employees) to large ( > 200 employees) news media companies. Smaller companies can apply as partners.

Is there any age limit?

There is no age limit for taking part in the programme.

Is it open only to journalists or can other media professionals participate as well?

Projects can involve a wide variety of media professionals, from business, technology and newsroom which cover different media profiles: Sales directors, marketing specialists, editors, reporters, data journalists, graphic designers, web developers, project managers, social media managers, user experience, data and AI experts, etc. Multidisciplinary collaboration is strongly encouraged.

Applicants are invited to side-step from siloed work processes and search for co-creative workflows, in which different competencies and skills are mixed to meet the demands of an increasingly technologically advanced sector and of a general audience, increasingly aware of the importance of trust-proof journalism.

Can freelance media professionals and researchers/media policy experts participate?

Unlike previous editions, applications for Stars4Media NEWS cannot be submitted by a freelancer or individuals not associated with media organisations, nor by researchers and media policy experts.

Is there a minimum language level required to participate?

Participants should have a good command of spoken and written English.

Which language can the applications be submitted in?

Applications must be submitted in English.

What is a “project”?

We consider a “project” a proposal with clear objectives, proposed by a minimum of two cross-border and cross-disciplinary teams of media professionals, aiming at creating a sustainable business or newsroom transformation.

Please note: Having a confirmed partnership is not a prerequisite for submitting an application. However, extra points will be allocated to those who are already paired.

If you submit an unpaired project, we may assist you in your search for a suitable partner, provided you clearly describe what kind of company you want to work with and why and what missing expertise would help you implement your project

How many people from the same media organisation can take part in a team?

Applying teams should think in terms of circles of engagement:
The first circle of engagement represents the team members who will be working directly on a project. The first circle of engagement can include up to 12 professionals per team.
The second circle of engagement represents the stakeholders at large, which could be involved in or benefit from the project indirectly. Projects are encouraged to consider the engagement of a wide group of stakeholders.

Administrative / Application

What is the timeline of the selection process?

  • Self-assessment: You made it until here, but you are still not sure if your idea fits the eligibility criteria for Stars4Media NEWS? Before applying, fill out this two-page checklist to know if your goals are in line with the programme. 
  • Pitch your idea: once you have submitted a project proposal, you will be invited to pitch your idea in front of the jury. The pitching sessions will take place online, on 13, 14 and 15 of July. The exact slots will be communicated to the applicants after the submission deadline.
  • Propose your Project : You have time until Thursday, June 30th 2022, 17:00 CET to submit a project proposal for a collaborative project under one of the two tracks: “Business transformation” (Track 1) or “Newsroom transformation” (Track 2).

You can submit your project by downloading the form here, filling it in, and uploading it here.

  • Selection: The jury will announce the winning projects by September 19th.

How do I know which track is best for my company?

If you are interested in diversifying revenue models, learning new approaches to audience development and engagement or developing common professional/technical standards, then “Business transformation” is the right choice for you. However, if you are looking into innovative ways to conduct original reporting, innovative production or innovative distribution, then “Newsroom transformation” might be what you need.

What are the EXPLORE and BOOST phases?

The Stars4Media NEWS programme supports cross-border projects in two successive phases:

Phase 1 – EXPLORE:

As one of the 14 winning projects, you will enter a four-month-long EXPLORE phase, where you will implement your project, thanks to the support and guidance of our coaches. The EXPLORE phase is foreseen to take place between November 2022 – and February 2023.


Phase 2 – BOOST:

At the end of the EXPLORE phase, our jury will choose 9 out of 14 projects that will benefit from 8-months track-specific training to achieve a long-term sustainable change. The current timeline for the BOOST phase is October 2023 – May 2024. 

If I pass the first selection process, do I automatically get into the BOOST phase?

No! At the end of the EXPLORE phase, there will be a second jury evaluation that will select 9 projects to advance in the BOOST phase. 

Each submitted project should have the potential to participate in and complete the full BOOST phase but will enter the programme only for the ‘EXPLORE’ phase. Afterwards, a second jury assessment will take place to select the companies that will advance in the BOOST phase.

Who will evaluate the applications?

The applications will be evaluated by an independent jury, representing publishers, journalists, and tech circles who have expertise on one or both of the 2 tracks: “Business Transformation” and “Newsroom Transformation”.

What criteria will be used to evaluate applications?

Each member of the jury will evaluate the submitted initiatives of the following dimensions: the size of the media organization, plan of action, partnership potential, impact potential, sustainability of their goals, and diversity.

For details, please check the Selection criteria list.

Where and when will the results of the selection be published? Will I receive a notification?

Participants will be informed about the results of every step of the selection process via email. The results of the selection will also be published on the Stars4Media website. The results of the selection to enter the EXPLORE phase will be announced in September 2022.

What happens if I can't find a media partner? Will my application be considered?

Having a confirmed partnership is not a prerequisite for submitting an application. However, extra points will be allocated to those who are already paired. 


If you submit an unpaired proposal, we may assist you in your search for a suitable partner, provided you describe what kind of company you want to work with and why. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to clearly demonstrate a strategy to bring another eligible partner into their project by the start of the EXPLORE phase.


What do you mean by “coaching”?

During the Stars4Media NEWS programme, you will benefit from the guidance of highly skilled coaches.

The coaching process is an essential part of the Programme for both the EXPLORE and BOOST phases. The support of the coaches is aimed to provide skills and knowledge development, help create efficiencies, streamline workflows and build capacity for the funded media organisations/ project teams, and be instrumental in the successful development, and implementation, of projects. They will also facilitate the broadening of the perspectives on change management in the European media sector and enhance the relevance of proven business transformation methodologies.

How will the coaches support my team?

If selected to take part in Stars4Media NEWS, you will interact with two types of coaches. 


  1. Process coaches: Process coaches are the link between the media companies selected and the programme consortium. Concretely, this could involve guidance, feedback, pre-evaluation, informal advice on the next stages (from EXPLORE to BOOST to final ceremony etc), programme communication, support troubleshooting in case of admin issues not solved centrally or representation of Stars4Media to the top management of media companies. They are there to make sure the process is understood and implemented correctly.
  2. Transformation coaches: experts from the media industry who will make sure you reach your business/newsroom transformation goals by providing you with personalised strategy and change management tools.

How long will the project last?

Your teams will be actively engaged in the coaching sessions and implementation of your proposal for a period of ten months, four for the EXPLORE phase and six for the BOOST one (November 2022 – September 2023).

Financial aspects

Who funds Stars4Media NEWS?

Stars4Media NEWS is co-funded by the European Union, under the Creative Europe Programme (CREA-CROSS-2021-JOURPART).

Other questions:

Is it allowed to travel to another country for the implementation of the projects?

The selected applicants are encouraged to engage in physical mobility and cooperation if travel is unrestricted by EU and country-specific rules during the project implementation.

I am a non-EU citizen/work for a non-EU media company. Can I participate?

You can participate in the programme if you live and work in one of the countries participating in the Creative Europe Programme, regardless of your citizenship. 

Namely, all EU member states; Iceland; Norway; Liechtenstein; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Serbia; Tunisia; Georgia and Ukraine.

Who will have ownership of the results of an Initiative?

As a general rule, the results are owned by the Party that generates them. The media pairs working on a joint Initiative will have to determine and agree on copyright rights. The Project Coordinator VUB shall be entitled to use the jointly owned Results for non-commercial research activities on a royalty-free basis, and without requiring the prior consent of the other joint owner(s). 

Is there an address for general enquiries?

For general enquiries, please contact the project management team at, mentioning in the Subject line: “Stars4Media NEWS questions”.