Engaged Journalism Accelerator director Kathryn Geels introduces our eight newest grantees, taking the total number of funded news organisations to 12 across nine different European countries.
In October 2018, we launched the Engaged Journalism Accelerator Open Call in which we welcomed applications from news organisations across Europe.
Fast forward to December - the closing date for applications - and we had received 128 applications from across 30 countries. We took to the challenging yet exciting task of shortlisting and, with the help of external assessor associate professor in journalism and media studies Dave Harte, selected eight brilliant news organisations to receive grant funding.
That would have not been possible without the support and co-operation of our funders, the News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and Civil, who share our mission and vision to develop a more participative form of journalism in Europe.
Before we introduce the grantees, we would like to again thank the other 120 news organisations that dedicated time and effort to submit an application. The number, strength and diversity of applications surpassed our expectations, which is a testament to the abundance of organisations - many of which the team had not known of previously - and the quality of engaged journalism that is taking place across Europe.
In October 2018, we welcomed a first cohort of four organisations through the Closed Call for grant funding - Solomon from Greece, Maldita.es from Spain, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: the Bureau Local from the UK, and Tvoe Misto from Ukraine.
We’re now welcoming grantees from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Romania, as well as adding new organisations from Spain and the UK. Like the organisations in our first cohort, our new grantees will work independently to develop their core objectives and activities that they are undertaking as part of their participation in the Accelerator. But they will also work with each other closely, exchanging knowledge and sharing experiences about their successes and challenges that arise during their participation. They will support each other with new approaches, methodologies, technologies and tools, and potentially create opportunities for collaboration beyond the life of the programme.
Please share our excitement in introducing the following diverse, inspiring, community-driven news organisations:
Accelerator lead: Laurence Jenard, director.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 25
What it is: Established in 2014, Médor is a quarterly Belgian magazine and cooperative. Médor's social purpose is "the creation, publication and distribution of a journal devoted to societal issues in a broad way”.
How the Médor team is using the Accelerator funds: In 2019, Médor will implement a new media strategy, including developing a new web platform, in order to engage more with and widen its community. As part of this new strategy, they will use the Accelerator funds to organise a series of events called Médor On Tour, and a subsequent framework and methodology. During the tour, Médor will settle for one month in urban and rural areas outside of Brussels, and open their editorial board to the public in order to meet, discuss and create together an investigation about something happening in that region, which will then be published online.
Accelerator lead: Sune Gudmundsson, director.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 8
What it is: Launched in February 2018, Koncentrat is a news media for young people created by experienced journalists and dedicated teachers. By working with a number of schools, experts, teachers and students, it has created a new way of using journalism as a permanent part of the teaching methods in the country's schooling classes. Combining journalistic articles called ‘concentrates’ with didactic practices, Koncentrat places itself somewhere between the country's youth media and educational publishers.
How the Koncentrat team is using the Accelerator funds: Koncentrat aims to build a platform for enthusiastic and dedicated young people to use journalism as a motor for civic engagement and community change. It will create a core community of young solution-oriented correspondents that want to use journalism to identify possible solutions to pressing problems. Koncentrat will also organise an intensive one-day course in engaged journalism in their newsroom in Copenhagen for the groups of correspondents, and will host frequent editorial sessions with online participation.
Accelerator leads: Rico Grimm, editor-in-chief and Julia Seeliger, engagement manager.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 16
What it is: Founded in 2014, Krautreporter is an independent, digital magazine based in Berlin, specialising in collaborative journalism. Its mission is to rebuild the trust of users in journalism, and it delivers on that by publishing daily original background pieces covering politics, economics and social life. They work with their members throughout the editorial process. Krautreporter is ad-free, funded exclusively by its members and supported by the Krautreporter Cooperative.
How the Krautreporter team is using the Accelerator funds: Krautreporter is aiming to create a trust funnel for membership businesses, including a step-by-step membership journey and a playbook for newsrooms that is based on this funnel. They will do so by using qualitative and quantitative audience data to develop a hypothesis on how to build trust, cluster members (i.e. value or activity), set up a measurement framework and create engagement activities. Krautreporter will also develop KPIs and run A/B tests to uncover what makes its readers happy and how they can be moved up from paying readers to ‘super users’.
Hungary: Kettős Mérce Blog Egyesület (Mérce)
Accelerator lead: Szelim Simándi, brand community advisor and Károly Füzessi, technology lead and developer.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 121
What it is: Launched in 2017, Mérce is an independent, left-leaning news portal publishing daily news, op-eds, analyses and live coverage. As a media outlet financed solely by its readers, Mérce gives a voice to those who are forced to the peripheries of society by Hungarian and global social systems. Mérce was launched by the community of the Kettős Mérce (Double Standard) blog. The news site is operated by the Double Standard Blog Association that also organises the “Free October Festival” and aims to integrate the Hungarian leftist public by facilitating connections and cooperation.
How the Mérce team is using the Accelerator funds: Mérce aims to develop the Mérce Activation Platform (MAP) that will serve as a combined editorial process management and customer relationship management (CRM) system. It seeks to empower its readers, editorial team, and network of bloggers and contributors to foster a more engaging relationship with its community. The MAP system will allow readers to suggest topics to be covered by the editorial team, access volunteering opportunities based on their preferences, provide feedback on articles, provide user-generated content and other information to the editorial team, utilise their personal networks for fundraising.
Romania: Decât o Revistă (DoR)
Accelerator lead: Cătălina Albeanu, digital editor and Cristian Lupșa, editor
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 21
What it is: Founded in Romania in 2009, DoR is an independent journalism platform published by non-profit association Media DoR. Using narrative storytelling to create belonging and spotlight solutions, it helps a progressive audience connect with one another, and understand what they can do to tackle the problems of modern-day Romania. DoR has 20 full-time staff, publishes a quarterly print magazine, and also runs live journalism shows, events, and training to connect to their community. DoR is currently transitioning to a full membership model.
How the DoR team is using the Accelerator funds: DoR will employ two developers and create a members’ area on its website which can host exclusive content as well as conversations with reporters around stories they’re covering. They will also implement a CRM that will help them have a better overview of their community and manage communications to their community as well as experiment with tools to help its journalists manage their participatory projects.
Spain: Fundación Civio (Civio)
Accelerator lead: Javier de Vega, communications officer.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 10
What it is: Established in 2011, the Civio Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation which monitors public authorities, reports to all citizens and lobbies to achieve true and effective transparency within public institutions. It works to achieve free access to information in Spain, to help people understand how public institutions make decisions and to make the public sector more accountable. Headquartered in Madrid, Civio has a multidisciplinary team of journalists, developers, specialists in institutional relations, marketing and business development and works with public representatives to push for change in public policies, such as Public Sector Contracts Law, enforcement of the Transparency Law or the regulation of interest groups.
How the Civio team is using the Accelerator funds: Civio aims to build a community hub to aid participation and incorporate the expertise of their readers, with the goal of enabling its community to collaborate on stories, and to increase membership.
UK (Scotland): Clydesider
Accelerator lead: Amanda Eleftheriades-Sherry, founder.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 35
What it is: Established in 2016, Clydesider community magazine promotes the positive that Dumbarton, the Vale and Clydebank have to offer by showcasing the creative skills, ideas and experiences of local people. Its content is produced by a team of creative contributors, including poets, authors, journalists, photographers plus local artists, cartoonists and designers. The magazine also features positive news about community groups and promotes the hidden gems of West Dunbartonshire.
How the Clydesider team is using the Accelerator funds: Clydesider will bring local individuals and organisations together to share skills, resources and knowledge. The magazine will set up pop-up Community Newsroom Hubs in each geographical area of West Dunbartonshire, running a citizen media training programme for its volunteers. Working with a range of community organisations, businesses and civic/political representatives it will then develop a solution-focused approach to reporting on 'Our Big Issue'.
UK: On Our Radar
Accelerator lead: Paul Myles, head of editorial.
Number of people working for/ contributing to the organisation: 7
What it is: Founded in 2012 and based in London, On Our Radar is a non-profit communications agency for unheard communities, formed of a small interdisciplinary team of journalists, software architects and development consultants. It works with marginalised communities who hold deep insights into the world’s most complex issues, and tackles the lack of agency, connectivity or resources that prevents them from sharing their knowledge and concerns. The team specialises in using appropriate technology to develop solutions which bridge the communications gaps between unheard communities and influential audiences. On Our Radar’s documentaries and projects are often produced and/or published in collaboration with news outlets, including Channel4, BBC, The Guardian, De Correspondent, Deutsche Welle, BuzzFeed and others.
How the On Our Radar team is using the Accelerator funds: On Our Radar will create a toolkit and a training package that allow mainstream media outlets to experiment with and replicate its approaches and different engagement methodologies, such as SMS/ voice platforms, hosting community conversations, using 3D printed phones to capture stories, and producing participatory documentaries narrated by community members. On Our Radar hopes to create a network of fellows and advisors who will help to shape the content of the toolkit, and create a training package to support media outlets to adopt engaged journalism techniques.
We’ll be sharing more details about our second cohort of grantees via Medium, as well as updates about the Accelerator including our new monthly community calls, upcoming events, and the ambassador network. Sign up to our fortnightly Engagement Explained newsletter to be kept up-to-date with Accelerator news.