Much of grant-making in journalism emphasises support for media organisations rather than individual journalists. That makes sense, because individuals are not likely to save the public sphere single-handedly.

Among many other things, journalism requires an infrastructure that brings it to the attention of readers, safeguards quality, and signals trust. Journalism without some sort of managed and branded outlets remains difficult to imagine. Hence, ideally, financial support for organisations fuels the quest for the future order and practice of the profession, whether that be commercial, not-for-profit, public-service-oriented, distributed, or something else entirely.

And yet.

In the end, it is individual journalists…

Photo by Giannis Skarlatos.

The European Union is entangled with journalism in so many ways that it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. That’s because journalism only appears on the label of very few programmes, but can well be an ingredient or theme of many others. So, let’s explore some things to keep in mind and places to look at to find EU funding for your journalism project.

1. Keep an open mind when it comes to grants and commercial contracts

A fundamental aspect to be aware of is that the EU makes grants and awards commercial contracts, which are very different beasts.

Grants enable you to do something that is not commercially…

Notes from the Journalism Funders Forum’s Expert Circle in Brussels

Photo by TheAndrasBarta on Pixabay

The three general-purpose news outlets with the greatest agenda-setting power over European politics — the Financial Times, The Economist, and the BBC — all happen to be run out of London and thus will very soon be based outside the European Union. At the same time, much of the journalism produced in the rest of the EU still focuses almost entirely on the respective national public sphere, and news organisations in many countries struggle to make ends meet.

This irony was not lost on the participants of the Journalism Funders Forum’s Expert Circle in Brussels on October 23, 2018. Fittingly…

Re-defining the migration debate in Germany

Photo by Tembela Bohle

Mobility and migration are key policy issues of the European Union and, accordingly, of the news media. To better understand the dynamics behind migration reporting, we conducted a survey of journalists in nine European media landscapes in autumn 2017. The survey was part of a larger research project called REMINDER.

In this post, we put the spotlight on Germany and discuss some of our findings.

Germany - journalism’s land of bliss?

In many respects, Germany remains journalism’s land of bliss. A strong and well-funded public broadcasting system supplements a diverse landscape of privately owned quality media, as well as tabloids.

Just like everywhere else, most print…

The third Journalism Funders Forum convened in Paris on 15 June 2017 (as usual under the Chatham House Rule), and opened with the launch of the latest in a series of European Journalism Centre-commissioned country reports on philanthropic funding for journalism (available for download as a PDF here). Several topics already discussed in London and Hamburg came to the fore again: Journalism’s demand for specific assistance and training with respect to making grant applications and managing grant-based projects, and the need and proper strategies of philanthropy-funded journalism to assert its independence from the donor.

Perhaps more than the previous events…

The second Journalism Funders Forum took place in Hamburg on 31 May 2017. Once again, an EJC-commissioned country report on philanthropic funding for journalism (download the full PDF here) set the scene for the ensuing debate, which was, however, putting the German situation into the broader European context. As before, the event took place under the Chatham House Rule, which is why statements summarised or quoted below remain unattributed.

Discussions revolved primarily around the role that philanthropic donors can play in journalism; funders and beneficiaries present in Hamburg shared their experiences and expressed their hopes and visions for future cooperation…

On 11th May 2017, the European Journalism Centre (EJC) convened the Journalism Funders Forum London, which discussed the status and perspectives of philanthropic funding for journalism in Europe, with a focus on the UK. The event started with the presentation of a new report on philanthropic journalism funding in the UK (download the full report here, or read an article about it), which had been commissioned by the EJC (disclosure: I was involved in the preparation of the event and edited the report).

The subsequent debate, which took place under the Chatham House Rule, revolved around three main thematic complexes…

Note: I was meaning to talk about this at the 2016 edition of the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, but had to cancel at short notice. Wilfried Rütten, Director of the European Journalism Centre (EJC) kindly agreed to fill my slot, and with great success. At the risk of duplicating some information, I summarise my thoughts below.

Grants for journalists are few and far between. Most are for relatively small amounts that often, however, make a world of difference. If you can afford the €1.500 it takes actually to visit the place you are reporting on, your project might become…

When Google announced the Innovation Fund of its Digital News Initiative (DNI) this spring, I was pleasantly surprised. It appeared as if an organisation with the appropriate clout and credibility was finally making the European news industry get a move on. And indeed, innovation remains in short supply in Europe, with the journalism ecosystem no exception.

The need

US companies and initiatives keep calling the shots. Wolfgang Blau, for instance, warned in his keynote speech at the 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia: “These organisations have size and resources which give them an advantage over domestic market leaders. I wished…

Eric Karstens

Writer of technical prose. Interested in media, journalism, technology, and art.

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