Upgrading Europe’s democracy infrastructure: #Stars4Media NEWS to help boost media transformation

Stars4Media is entering a new phase:Stars4Media NEWS! This marks our third step towards becoming a permanent European media innovation programme. This recognition builds on the results of the programme’s two previous editions with 51 supported initiatives, involving 290 participants from 118 media and tech companies, including some well known names


The war in Ukraine underlines again the importance of good information and cross-border cooperation. The resilience of media companies depends not only on rule of law, but also on business models reducing the influence of government and oligarchs, and on the media’s own modernisation. Noteworthy: this programme is open to all countries participating in Creative Europe, and will also accommodate  interested exile media with an EU address. 


The European Commission just released the results of Call for Journalism Partnerships with Stars4Media NEWS positioning itself as one of its  flagship programmes within the EU’s NEWS bundle. The latter is a part of a wider effort to create a sustainable media environment of both policy initiatives and co-funding as announced by the Commission Vice President Vera Jourová at the Media4Europe Conference ‘[…] we continue increasing our funding support and our work to bring funding opportunities together under a NEWS banner.’ 


This new phase will involve media projects having a wider and stronger impact across the media industry. The team behind the Stars4Media NEWS is composed of four partners with a proven track record of process leadership, media innovation and stakeholder engagement: : Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – the project coordinator; Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV) – the project initiator; the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).


Prof. Luciano Morganti from VUB highlights ‘The viability of the European media ecosystem depends on a need for agile adaptation of media institutions’ transformative innovation management. This is particularly relevant in face of economical, technological, and audience-related shocks’ says. Christophe Leclercq, Founder of EURACTIV media network and executive chairman of Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV) explains ‘To maximise competition and scaling-up, Stars4Media NEWS will provide third party financing and deep coaching for media companies to enact business transformation and/or newsroom transformation.




The call for Projects is currently in preparation and will be published in Spring 2022. All those interested should please:

  • Closely monitor Stars4Media webpage and social media, and/or 
  • Indicate ‘nascent ideas’
  • Register their interest in receiving more information at a later stage




Structured across two phases, Stars4Media NEWS  will fund project ideas focused on:

  • Business transformation—experimentation with new business models in its broader scope (product, service, financial, and/or organisational design transformations), and / or
  • Newsroom transformation—novel ways of reaching, engaging with and informing news audiences. 

In four months, the first EXPLORE Phase total of 15 proposals will receive funding and tailored coaching to implement their ideas. Those projects with the best assessment will move to a second, BOOST Phase benefitting from further coaching and financing.