VUB leads Stars4Media European exchange project

The media industry is going through difficult times. To support the sector, the European Union is launching Stars4Media, in which young media professionals can exchange innovation initiatives. VUB imec-SMIT, one of Europe’s leading research groups in media, innovation and technology, is coordinating the project with the initiator, Fondation EURACTIV.

“This pilot project could be the beginning of a long-term commitment, with VUB and Fondation EURACTIV as the central hub of a European exchange platform for young media professionals”, says Professor Luciano Morganti, the project’s promoter.

In Stars4Media, approximately 100 young media professionals with between two and 10 years of experience will work for 12 months on innovative joint initiatives. They will come from various backgrounds including journalism, graphic design, development and social media management, product development and marketing. The aim is to break through functional silos so that innovative ideas can grow more quickly.

The participants can propose ideas on one of the four following themes until 20 January: constructive journalism, fact-checking, data journalism and artificial intelligence/language technologies. After a pre-selection phase, a matchmaking event called Europe’s Media Lab will take place in Brussels from 3 to 6 March, 2020.

“It’s a kind of Erasmus exchange programme for media professionals, but we want to achieve much more than a short exchange between companies,” says Professor Morganti. “The project aims to encourage innovation between European media companies. The most important thing is that the companies identify a specific problem for their media and solve it together. In the first call, we are asking the companies to work together on the themes of trust in the media or the use of data in the media.”

The project is coordinated at VUB by media innovation project manager Catalina Dumbraveanu: “I make sure that the process for enrolling and receiving EU support for travel and lodging remains as easy as possible. European companies need to experience it as a smooth, pleasant and instructive way to work together on concrete solutions.”

The initiative also strengthens the Brussels Mediahub, an initiative of the Flemish government and VUB that aims to support cooperation between the Flemish media industry and scientists. The Mediahub is coordinated by Olivier Braet of the VUB research centre imec-SMIT. He will be actively involved in the selection of Stars4Media candidates.