Media in crisis? Several funding programmes help modernisation and resilience

For media companies to become resilient, more funding and capacity-building is needed. Different schemes complement each other, focusing on newsroom & business transformation, social change, local investigative journalism, fact checking, media literacy and research. Seven Europe-wide calls for media proposals are explained below, by their respective leaders, before the #Media4Europe Conference on May 12.

 

In her speech at the European News Media Conference the European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová stated “Media are not just an economic sector, they are also the fourth pillar of our democracies”. The Vice-President then continued ‘ We are determined to continue co-funding a series of projects that support cross-border investigative journalists and provide legal aid to those who need it.’

Pedro Ortún Silvan and Christophe Leclercq, respectively Senior Fellow and Chairman of Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV) stated in a recent OpEd: ‘Media leaders could seize industrial, policy and budget opportunities, beyond the basic democracy principles, with a view to bolstering media resilience.’

The needs to help modernisation and resilience are huge and varied indeed. Given the war in Eastern Europe and the utmost importance of quality information, some of these programmes are open to members or subcontractors outside the EU. Here are short quotes by respective leaders, highlighting their complementarity: :

Prof. Luciano Morganti, VUB & Stars4Media Project Coordinator,  positions media transformation: “Needing editorial or commercial change? Explore, benchmark and boost ideas with Stars4Media NEWS: mostly cash, plus free coaching , altogether ca 100 000 €  for each full project. We can finance 9 full scale projects, and 5 shorter ones.“  

Stephen Fozard, Project Director, Global Alliance for Media Innovation at WAN-IFRA, highlighted “Through my work, especially as coach in Stars4Media, I see challenges are many and plentiful, particularly in the heavily hit publishing sector. The News Media industry needs to work together with tech companies. Therefore, WAN-IFRA is happy to support the work of innovators through programmes like Stars4Media.” 

Some of the Stars4Media partners have additional programmes at hand:

Lars Boering, Director of European Journalism Centre, highlighted “The participation in Star4Media is a good opportunity to add this activity to an ever growing list of programs and projects and sits well in our ambitions to strengthen, support and develop media. Re-imaging media and business is key

Renate Schroeder, Director of the European Federation of Journalists, who continues as Stars4Media jury member, commented: “We are looking forward to working together with Stars4Media and the  Cross Border Local project consortium, the EFJ is a partner, as part of the Creative Europe programme. We appreciate the European Commission’s efforts towards media pluralism and support for independent journalism by putting a dedicated budget to strengthen journalism and the media sector.“

Ides Debruyne of Journalismfund.eu, partners of the project together with EFJ, the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and Transitions (Prague): “Opportunities within media and for journalists are quite limited. Therefore, we should seek complementarity not competition between programmes that do the actual ground work, such are Stars4Media NEWS and Journalismfund.eu’s initiative, the Local Cross Border project.

Paolo Cesarini, board member of the European Media and Information Fund (EMIF), stated: “The aim of EMIF is to focus on fact checking, research on disinformation and media literacy, providing grants to researchers, not-for-profits and other public-facing organisations dealing with the topic. Disinformation will require fighting on all fronts, yet by working together across projects we can succeed. EMIF is well funded, with 25 mil € to disburse over the next 4 years”.

Finally, Christophe Leclercq, initiator of Stars4Media, concludes: “There are other schemes, such as InvestEU NEWS, R&D programmes under ‘Horizon Europe’, national public schemes exist and, increasingly, philanthropic programmes. To start with, the event Media4Europe on May 12 is a good opportunity. Join the panel session to learn more about the strategy for media from 10.30 to 11.30, focusing chiefly on Stars4media NEWS

 

Here are more details on concrete opportunities currently available in the media sector, at the European level:

  1. Stars4Media NEWS Call for projects, launched on 20 April.  Compared to the previous Stars4Media calls, this offers larger funding, a longer period of implementation and tailored coaching are some of the new opportunities. The new focus is on newsroom transformation and on business transformation, mostly for medium to large media companies. Media and tech leaders with a potential idea in mind are encouraged to contact the project team ( info@stars4media.eu) to receive more information and guidance on the process.

Deadline to apply: 30.06.2022, 17:00 CET

  1. European Journalism Centre Solutions Journalism Accelerator provides more than USD $4m in grants, as well as mentoring, coaching and resources, to European news organisations and journalists in the coming 3 years. The goal of this initiative is to help journalists and media build resilience through creating greater public awareness, critical understanding and positive social change about urgent global issues. 

The Call for Applications aimed at opinion-forming media organisations in France, Germany or the United Kingdom is currently open, providing up to €130,000 worth grants, together with mentoring and coaching.  

Deadline to apply: 06.05.2022, 18:00 CEST

  1. Local Cross-Border investigative journalism project is a 1.3-million-euro programme by four partners: Journalismfund.eu (Belgium),Transitions (Czech Republic), SSE Riga Centre for Media Studies (Latvia) and the European Federation of Journalists (Belgium). Through a yearly call, the project will support cross-border investigative journalism bringing local and European dimensions closer through grants, training and mini-MBA for local news media.

Deadline to apply: 07.09.2022 

  1. European Media and Information Fund provides support to organisations based in Europe with the objective of supporting fact-checking and media literacy initiatives, as well as research projects. EMIF’s strategy is supervised by EDMO, the European Digital Media Observatory. The Fund aims to address the phenomenon of online disinformation in Europe and promote a more resilient and fact-based digital information ecosystem. All the calls are open to universities, non-profit organisations, including public service media, universities, educational institutions etc in different roles (for more information about the specific call visit the dedicated call page).

There are currently 4 open calls:

Total indicative allocation of the fund is €4 350 000. Applications may be submitted at any time and three funding rounds occur every year, in February, June and October. 

Deadline to apply: 30.06.2022 (Second funding route) 

The call will support two types of actions:

  • Urgent actions, up to 6 months, receiving up to €55 000, 
  • Scale-up projects,up to 12 months, receiving up to €80 000

The three calls below each have the indicative funding allocation of €1 600 000, addressing exclusively organisations from the EU, EFTA and UK.  Calls are open to NGOs, universities, not-for-profit organisations and other public facing organisations. Their roles in the consortia differ in each of the calls, visit the respective call web page for more information.

Deadline to apply for each of the calls below: 29.04.2022

The aim of this call is to support initiatives that enhance digital media and information literacy skills in Europe

The call aims at supporting wide and deep scientific studies on the disinformation phenomenon, encompassing its causes, societal impacts and possible responses. 

The call addresses the existing knowledge gaps about disinformation in Europe