Education, Empowerment, Engagement: Re-defining Media Innovations with Stars4Media

2022 kicks off as what the European Commission denominated the European Year of Youth. With youth in mind, the focus of the public European policies shifts towards education as a tool of empowerment. Yet, education remains equally relevant for all, not only for youth. Continuous education is at the base of Stars4Media as our beneficiaries expand their skills and knowledge through their media innovations and continuous collaboration with their partners. And some of these go well beyond what an expected ‘education in media’ project would be.

For example, the ‘Sex Ed Video Glossary’ project. This collaboration between  Reci HR (HR), RTV Slovenia (SL) and SEX VS. THE STORK (Sexul vs. Barza) (RO) aims to develop a video dictionary with the role of informing, educating, and raising awareness of phenomena and trends in human sexuality. Why this specific topic? Project initiator Nina Lišnić says ‘Sexuality is still considered a taboo topic in many cultures, and often covered purely as entertainment by the media. That combined with the lack of sexual education across Europe leaves generations of people, young and old, misunderstanding or not knowing anything about certain trends, phenomena or social movements within the field as important as human sexuality. The issues covered […] are simultaneously global and local, so a comprehensive media product such as this one is needed to cover the holes of insufficient educational, healthcare and social systems on all levels.’ In Nina’s view talking about the topic not only normalises it but also helps recognise the forms of abuse.

The mental health and wellbeing of media professionals is yet another topic that is being more widely discussed also in Stars4Media.  The self-investigation Academy is a collaboration between Dutch The Self-Investigation and Belgian Motion Crew. Kim Brice, project leader, says how the project ‘[…] will be an e-learning platform that will provide journalists access to affordable self-guided courses in English and Spanish on basic stress management and digital wellness. The courses are developed by journalists, for journalists and provide evidence-based practices from the latest research in neurobiology, psychology, and mindfulness. This project furthers Stars4Media’s mission by enabling The Self-Investigation to sustain journalism by sustaining journalists’ well-being. The project will enhance its capacity to design and produce impactful e-learning products through knowledge exchange; scale up its already successful training by expanding their accessibility and affordability; and help create additional revenue streams.’

‘Mind the challenge’ by Italian Facta IT and French Agence France-Presse AFP aims to inform and raise public awareness about the issue of online disinformation challenges, as a phenomenon that drives social media users to emulate behaviours of viral videos circulating on the Internet. The two partners aim to provide correct and verified information about the topic, review the history of the phenomenon, analyse some case studies with the help of experts and share that content on social media, mainly Instagram and TikTok.

Incorporating news in the latest social media is in the focus of another Stars4Media beneficiary, the ‘Let’s educate on TikTok ’initiative. Project initiator Jan Žabka from Czech Hlídací says about the initiative ‘Our (with Spanish Agencia EFE) main goal is to present interesting educational and informative content on the rapidly expanding social network TikTok, which is widely known for its entertainment format. We introduce the complex topics of fake news, verification and journalism in a simple way. In this way, we reach an audience that we would not normally reach.’

Raising and educating on political awareness is a global topic that is as well reflected in the innovations fostered by Stars4Media’s Second Edition. “Engaging the Disengaged” by Dublin Inquirer (IE) and Social Spider (UK) aims to ‘[… ]to reach people who may have switched off from or be distrustful of the media, and to reach new readers.’ says Lois Kapila, project leader. Lois, who also presented the initiative at the last #Media4Europe Conference, specifies ‘We wanted to start that by going to parts of the city where we think we have a low readership, and where there are signs that people are frustrated with local government – using low voter turnout in local elections as a proxy for that – and asking people what they wanted from their media. Then, we have been trying to respond directly to that with tailored collaborative journalism projects or specific coverage.’

In the same spirit ‘Connecto: towards European values through digital media’ aims to foster journalists’ digital capacity. The project is developed by (RO), EURACTIV Romania (RO), ȘTIRILE TRANSILVANIEI (RO) and Occidentul Românesc (ES) will bring local media to a European level and connect the Romanian communities with the European Audience by showcasing success stories of Romanian communities abroad. 

And how do these media professionals find support within Stars4Media? Kim Bruce concludes ‘This project furthers Stars4Media’s mission by enabling The Self-Investigation to sustain journalism by sustaining journalists’ well-being.’


This article is part of a series of articles aiming to promote the Stars4Media Second Edition Beneficiaries. Discover the full list of beneficiaries and their area of media innovations. Learn more about the first macro-theme presented Constructive Journalism and the innovations tackling the topic here, Data & Constructive Journalism here and New Revenue Models here.