What skills are Stars4Media NEWS projects developing, and how do these support their editorial practices? In today’s story, we look into four projects and how the skills developed are applied to their companies. This is the last in the series of articles showcasing the work of our beneficiaries. You can discover the other topics covered here.
Furthermore, this also marks the closure of the Stars4Media NEWS EXPLORE Phase. While our jury evaluates their progress before deciding which 9 will be continuing their business transformation journey in the following phase, BOOST, the project team is working full speed on the first ever Stars4Media MarketPlace for Media Innovation. You are welcome to register here.
The event will include a publicly streamed policy session as well as in person networking with the participating companies.
Now, let’s hear their stories.
Providing access to fact-checked images/videos for professionals and citizens is a joint initiative by France Télévisions (FR) and Faktisk.io from Norway.
The project focuses on the Newsroom Transformation and citizenship awareness by helping them navigate deep fake in visual material.
‘The main objective of our project is to allow everyone to know if the image or video they are looking at on social networks is authentic’ says Nathalie Gallet from France TV, continuing, ‘Today, newsrooms are faced with an increasing number of images from amateurs who witness a news event and post them on social networks. The videos of these citizens are often valuable in explaining what happened. Newsrooms have to find them and make sure they are authentic. This is a new investigative profession. Our project promises to help the media sector, journalists, to ensure the authenticity of an image before using it. By helping newsrooms to identify these images faster, citizens will also be able to access information more quickly’.
The project enables France TV (and, potentially at a later stage, also other companies) to be more effective in showcasing the news through authentic images. In the words of Nathalie, during the EXPLORE phase, the two project teams are both contributors and customers of the news. The Stars4Media helped in bringing the project forward so that the verified image search engine is step by step.
Infopoint Agency: supporting Eastern European independent media is a project by the InfoPoint Agency, based in Lithuania and The Kyiv Independent from Ukraine. Focused on Business Transformation, as CEO at Infopoint Agency Mariia Leonova further clarifies: ‘The main goal for Infopoint Agency is to help independent media from emerging markets or markets in crisis to survive through long-term and win-win partnerships with responsible businesses. In other words, Infopoint is a tool to diversify media’s revenue streams and strengthen non-donor income’. She stresses that ‘Infopoint assists businesses in Ukraine and neighboring countries in the EU to find the best reliable media to be advertised in. This approach can help businesses find new audiences and markets, and media — to continue operations and cover main needs in such turbulent times, where they face war.’
This project helps the newsrooms’ managers to look at the operations from a business standpoint, thus helping them build efficient commercial processes.
‘Independent media in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine, currently face a financial crisis as the advertising market dried up when the Russian war against Ukraine began’ says Mariia. ‘This has led the media to search for other ways to close the budget gaps and continue their operations. However, the advertising market is slowly recovering and the goal of Infopoint Agency is to show that native advertising may exist even during the war and media still can rely on this source of funding’ she concludes.
From East Europe we shifted to Western Balkans. Regional Business Practices: Sharing the Best of Western Balkans is a joint effort by the Business Info Group (BIG) from Serbia, MINA from North Macedonia and business association form Bosnia and Herzegovina Udruzenje za promociju evropskih standarda i unapredjenje poslovnog ambijenta. The project also continues on the Business Transformation track, aiming to develop advertorial content through collaboration platforms and help with the standardization of reporting practices.
For BIG ‘s Mateja Agatonovic the ‘Short-term goal would be the creation of joint marketing and commercial offers for monetizing existing media presence of three distinct companies operating in the Western Balkans. Long-term goal is to create a framework for cooperation and coordination of all interested media outfits in the region.’
At BIG, the project helps with designing a set of new revenue streams in order to increase the sustainability of the independent media parties. This blueprint should (in the future) be replicable by other interested parties, and a focal point for creation of a new independent marketing network, based on quality and merit of individual outlets.
In a similar line with Mariia, Mateja also strengthens the need for diversification of media revenues: ‘Marketing as a source of revenue for media is under heavy political influence in Western Balkan societies. Since this stranglehold is hindering the sustainability of independent media, we aim to provide an alternative track/revenue stream.’
In the same spirit is the last project on “Community-based subscriptions for readers who cut expenses”. This initiative is delivered by the POLITYKA (PL) and Delfi UAB (LT), focusing on the Business Transformation and Community based; Mariusz Herma, Project coordinator at POLITYKA, says: ‘Stars4Media has been a great accelerator for our project of flexible group subscription for readers of POLITYKA who need to cut expenses because of the rising prices or start feeling subscription fatigue. This project has already engaged several departments of our company, and we’ve been also profiting exceptionally from our partnership with Lithuania’s DELFI. While our discussions focus on various variants of group offers, our knowledge exchange goes far beyond it and regards the entire subscription business – from content strategy to effectiveness of different kinds of special offers. In this context, we already consider the project successful.’
For the future, Marius is optimistic ‘We believe together we can design and implement a model – or models – of group subscriptions that will answer the needs of our readers, considerably increasing the number of paying subscribers and lowering churn.‘Have you missed our previous projects stories ? Discover them here: https://stars4media.eu/news-press-releases/