The media industry in the region has been developing slowly and gradually, which has contributed to a lack of response to contemporary challenges such as the advertising collapse, fake news, digital innovation and other challenges.
Threat to free speech and democracy have grown, as populist governments took power in parts of Europe. Increasingly, these governments employ “media capture” tactics to control the press, abusing state administrative and regulatory competencies and creating a bias in the media market against independent outlets and artificially strengthening propaganda voices.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated disruptions in the media environment but has also pointed out a need for urgent innovation in the sector. Only by empowering journalists and media outlets can quality journalism be produced and public trust in media and democracy restored.
Citizens are also becoming more vulnerable to fake news and disinformation, which is why improving their engagement with independent media will help increase their resilience to harmful narratives and equip outlets with new and more creative content.
Researchers say news media within Europe have an urgent need for transition support infrastructure, to work with communities, media and journalists both to carry existing media through the digital transition and kick-start new media voices. Specifically, research has identified that the transition infrastructure existing in Europe is fragmented and narrowly focused. This means there is little sector- or continent-wide sense of all being in this together or frameworks for sharing. This is particularly true in Central and Eastern Europe, in countries under political pressure and in different language communities.
There is also a gap in representation of different communities in the media, such as youth, women, sexual or national minorities and other underrepresented groups, meaning there is a need to make journalism more inclusive and accessible to different communities. Only by inclusion of different communities can long-term goals of making newsrooms more resilient to contemporary challenges be achieved.
Considering these factors, the project Media Innovation Europe: Energizing the European Media Ecosystem will:
Support local media outlets in creating sustainable models of trusted journalism;
Grow the wealth of knowledge and experience that the International Press Institute , IPI, network offers;
Build a community of practice and support and learn from alumni and project participants;
Build new and engaging ways to interact with audiences;
Build diversified revenue models that allow media companies to be sustainable and independent;
Pivot business and technology to remain relevant and meet long-term goals;
Support news media to better serve existing audiences and increase trust in media.
1: Implementation of engaged citizen reporting and the B-engaged tool, which will enable newsrooms to crowdsource information from citizens for the production of stories of local importance and content that attract new and diverse audiences, including women, young people and marginalized groups, so strengthening relationships of trust between news media and audiences.
2: Level up the business capacities of middle-sized, regional and local print and online media outlets that need strategic guidance to set a path towards business viability.
3: Organise two three-day focused creative media events aimed at establishing cross-border and cross-company ties in the media sector and generating and developing new ideas and innovative solutions into working models and/or prototypes for the pan-European media market.
4: Mentorship will build lasting systemic cooperation, regional networks, journalism partnerships and collaborations, journalism viability and competitiveness.
5: Accelerate media outlets’ digital transition of journalism, products, business models or revenues (or a combination of these) to become viable and competitive.
- Transition Accelerator
1.1. Accelerator Bootcamp
1.2. Online training
1.3. Online content production – promotion
1.4. Structured learning
1.5. 1:1 Coaching
2. Deep Dive Business Consultancies
2.1. Business strategies’ implementation
2.2. Evaluation of results and impact
2.3. Tailored business-mentoring program
2.4. Development of business roadmaps
3. Audience-Engaged Journalism Grants
3.1. Online training and mentoring
3.2. Implementation of B-engaged tool and engagement journalism
3.4. Upgrade of B-engaged tool
4.1. Organisation of Hackathon
Media outlets and journalists from Balkans and Visegrad countries.
International Press Institute (IPI).
Thomson Foundation and Media Development Foundation.