Stars4Media is an innovation exchange programme aiming at facilitating cooperation between media professionals, to accelerate media innovation and cross-border cooperation.

Media professionals, media organisations and tech companies from EU countries have the chance to cooperate around bottom-up Initiatives to test ideas and technologies, develop new business models and produce journalistic content.

Partners of the project are the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Europe’s Media Lab (ex Fondation EURACTIV), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The project is co-funded by the European Commission. Read more about the project team.

You can learn here about the first edition, which ran from November 2019 to October 2020, and supported 21 cross-border initiatives, involving 42 media organisations and 105 media professionals from all over Europe.

Why Stars4Media?

European news media today face an unprecedented crisis. It is a crisis of identity as well as an economic and societal crisis: financial resources and trust have been declining in the media sector for several years. The Stars4Media pilot project is responding to a proposal voted by the European Parliament in 2018. Read more about the policy context here.

The objectives of the Stars4Media exchange programme are to:

  • Foster media innovation: editorial, technological and marketing innovation
  • Build new media partnerships and support mobility and virtual cooperation across Europe
  • Foster quality journalism and media pluralism
  • Boost the careers of future “stars” via a vibrant community of media innovators

How does it work?

A Stars4Media initiative is a 4-month innovative collaborative project, in which at least two media organisations from two different EU countries cooperate on  innovative practices, at editorial, technological or organisational levels. Media organisations can participate with a multidisciplinary team, typically composed of three media professionals. Participants in a Stars4Media initiative do not have to suspend their usual work. The implementation of the cross-border cooperation can be carried out in parallel to the day-to-day activities of the media professionals.

Why participate?

  • Stars4Media NEWS welcomes Projects in 2 main areas: Newsroom Transformation and Business Transformation;   
  • Selected projects can receive up to100, 000 for a full project, mostly cash, plus some free, tailored coaching and training;
  • 14 Projects will be selected to enter an EXPLORE Phase: experimenting  innovation ideas, with a benchmarking partner in another country. 9 of these 14 projects will then be selected to continue in a BOOST Phase: deeper and wider in the development and implementation of their ideas;  
  • All projects selected (in both phases) will be able to benefit from ad-hoc and in-depth coaching from recognised experts in the newsroom and business transformation;
  • Participating companies will cooperate cross-border with another media organisation for a period of 4 to 10 months.

How to participate?

Interested media are invited to submit a proposal for a collaborative project under one of the two Tracks: ‘business transformation’ (Track 1) or ‘newsroom transformation’ (Track 2). Each project should have the potential to participate in and complete the full BOOST phase but will enter the programme in the ‘EXPLORE’ phase. Afterwards, a second jury assessment will take place to select the companies that will advance in the BOOST phase.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, 30 June 2022. 

To evaluate your overall admissibility as well as the alignment of your idea with the scope of the Stars4Media NEWS programme, interested applicants are encouraged to fill in this  one-page checklist.