And the winners are…

Would a real-time video fact-checker help fight disinformation? Is Artificial Intelligence a threat or a tool for media professionals? Are newsletters still useful in community-building? 

These were some of the questions addressed in the proposals received during the Stars4Media First Call for Initiatives. Concluded on 1 May, it gathered 330 media professionals from 150 media companies and start-ups, resulting in 82 proposals. Following the online pitching session that took place from 25 to 28 May, the jury has now selected the best. 18 proposals and 108 media professionals will continue their Stars4Media journey.

The proposals were evaluated for sustainability, longevity and innovation, among other criteria. They represent 60% of 30 initiatives and already 58% of 180 media professionals that Stars4Media aims to co-fund during the full year. Young media professionals interested in taking part can apply to the Second Call for Initiatives before 1 July, and may receive coaching for this.

Large media organizations exceeding 50 employees make 23,1% of total companies funded, including names like La Repubblica, Le Monde, The Guardian and Agencia EFE, among others. Micro and small companies with less than 15 employees are most represented, each accounting for 28,2%. Medium companies such as Bulle Media, Are We Europe, Reporters d’Espoir represent 20%.

In terms of geographical distribution, the majority of the selected candidates, 31%, come from West European countries, followed by the Eastern ones with 26,9%. Northern and Southern Europe represent 25% and 17% respectively. In terms of country division, many winners reside in France, Belgium, Czechia, the UK, and Spain. This is a wider country diversity than during the previous edition of Stars4Media. Women represent 35 % of selected beneficiaries.

The winning proposals are balanced around three key themes: journalistic trust; media, tech and marketing opportunities; and other innovations. The results prove once again that Stars4Media is unique in identifying, nurturing and fostering media innovation across borders.

The project called “Stars for media” is a great example of collaboration to develop innovative ideas’,stated European Commission Vice-President Vĕra Jourová in her speech at the Media4Europe Summit held on March 3rd 2021. 

The programme grew significantly from its origin as an European Parliament pilot project.  During the #Stars4Media Lab , Anna Herold from the European Commission’s DG CONNECT highlighted the importance of collaborative journalistic partnerships.  

Christophe Leclercq, initiator of Stars4Media, declared ‘For long lasting innovation to happen a more permanent framework for Stars4Media still has to be put in place. Perhaps as part of the NEWS initiative announced in December’s Media and Audiovisual Action Plan?’ 

Co-fonded by the European Commission Stars4Media is implemented by a consortium composed of  Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) , Europe’s Media Lab (Fondation EURACTIV), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).


Full list of 18 winning proposals. Congratulations to all the winners!

WAVE AJournalism, trust & participation

  • TikTok for Journalism (BE, NL, IE); Initiative leader: Ataberk Ozcan; Partners: Are We Europe; Civinc; Nuva Digital
  • Developing membership-based business model (CZ, BE); Initiative leader: Lucie Sykorova; Partners: Henri Opper´s club of journalists, Misflits
  • Solvox – the solution podcast of Solvo, a solution journalism collective (FR, BE); Initiative leader:Michèle Foin; Partners: Solvo Collective, We tell stories
  • Let’s educate on Tik Tok (CZ, ES); Initiative leader: Jan Žabka; Partners: Hlídací, Agencia EFE
  • Stolen Identity (IT, FR, UK); Initiative leader: Elena Basso; Partners: La Repubblica, Le Monde, The Guardian
  • Connecto (RO, ES); Initiative leader: Ghimpe Dragoș Nicolae; Partners:, EURACTIV Romania; ȘTIRILE TRANSILVANIEI, Occidentul Românesc

WAVE B – Media technology 

  • AI to Enhance Creativity in Newswriting (CY, UK); Initiative leader: Christos Danezis; Partners: Sigmalive LTD, JECT
  • SMART Podcasts/ Accordion (UK, BE); Initiative leader:Andy Taylor;  Partners: BWLB, Bulle Media
  • Let the money talk – a data tool on public spending (DK, SE); Initiative leader: Kristoffer Hecquet; Partners: Altinget, Journalism++ / Newsworthy
  • Vocento & Cruncho join forces: Hyperlocal tourism content in Spain powered by AI (ES, SE); Initiative leader: Maylis Chevalier; Partners: Vocento Group, Cruncho
  • Artificial intelligence in photojournalism, can it work? (FI, CZ); Initiative leader: Marina Ekroos; Partners: Frameright, Czech News Agency CTK Economia
  • Article 7 Intelligence – Helping Newsrooms across Europe close the Accountability Gap (BE, DE); Initiative leader: Garvan Walshe; Partners: Article 7, IDA GmbH – Innovations- und Digitalagentur

WAVE C – Other innovations

  • RISE Project Mobile App for Loyal Readers (RO, BG, HU); Initiative leader: Roxana Garaiman; Partners: RISE Project Association, The Bureau for Investigative Reporting and Data,, Atlzatszo Erdely
  • Interactive Map for Audio Stories (BE, NL, DE); Initiative leader: Mick Ter Reehorst; Partners: Are We Europe, VPRO, Bear Radio
  • Rich media: Increasing Diversity of Experts’ Voices in Journalism (LT, IT); Initiative leader: Dzina Donauskaite; Partners: Lithuanian Journalism Centre, Sheldon Studio
  • Solution Journalism European MOOC (FR, BE, IT); Initiative leader: Augustin Perraud; Partners: Reporters d’Espoirs, VOXEUROPE BE, VOXEUROPE IT, ESJ Pro Médias
  • Monetizing audiences in a cookieless world (ES,UK); Initiative leader: Mattia Fosci; Partners: ID WARD, Network N
  • Sustainable Revenue Models (FR, PL, UK); Initiative leader: Thomas Seymat; Partners: Euronews, EURACTIV PL, FATHM