Deadline: 24 April 2020
The European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) have launched a $3 million USD fund to support hundreds of community, local and regional European news organizations.
EJC’s mission is to protect news organizations and journalists that are supporting the most affected communities across Europe. The grants will help them provide essential coverage, inform citizens and fight misinformation with minimal resources during the COVID-19 crisis.
The purpose of the Fund is to provide core funding to support community engagement initiatives, address critical business needs, and facilitate innovative journalistic coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Priority will be given to small and medium-sized news organizations supporting the communities most affected by the crisis.
Core funding is financial support that covers the core organizational and administrative costs of an organization or freelancer. This can include salaries, travel expenses, office rent, equipment, technology, infrastructure, utilities, and communications.
Objectives of the Fund
- Reach: Fund between 100 – 300 news organizations and journalists across Europe, in order to ensure as many communities as possible benefit.
- Urgency: Provide financial support in a rapid and accessible way, which will support beneficiaries at their most crucial time of need
- Protection: Help beneficiaries mitigate challenges related to financial sustainability during the COVID-19 crisis by providing them with core funding.
- Community: Keep affected communities informed with relevant, clear and timely information about COVID-19 and other important stories, by directing support to a diverse range of grantees
- Flexibility: Provide funding that allows beneficiaries to solve their own problems.
- Inspiration: Inspire other news organizations and journalists to engage with their communities by sharing learning, experiences and knowledge.
There are three tracks that will provide grants ranging between €5,000 and €50,000.
- Engagement Fund
- Amount: €5,000
- Eligible: news organizations, freelance journalists, groups of freelance journalists
- Focus: helping local media (community-based and/or community-driven) to engage communities and their conversations to support short-term or one-off COVID-19-related initiatives. These grants may be used, for example, to launch a dedicated newsletter, create a community group, undertake local fact-checking, engage in community data reporting, produce short-run print material, or set-up online events.
- Emergency Fund
- Amount: €10,000 or €25,000
- Eligible: news organizations
- Focus: providing specific financial support to address immediate and critical business needs. These grants may be used, for example, to replace lost sales revenue including from printed and digital products/ services, to fund alternative print distribution methods, to cover key organizational costs, to hire freelancers to replace staff during illness, to maintain essential coverage and services unrelated to COVID-19 and to fund IT, software services and infrastructure support.
- Innovation Fund
- Amount: €50,000
- Eligible: news organizations or consortia of news organizations
- Focus: providing specific financial support to facilitate innovative and useful technological journalistic coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic or technical news organization projects with potential to scale. These grants may be used, for example, to facilitate collaboration and sharing of resources between local publishers sharing resources, for in-depth data journalism projects and gathering data that can be shared, for reporting series to demonstrate developments in communities, to organize help within communities (covering and supporting volunteers), for video coverage of local development where there is no local TV, for development of apps or websites to inform local communities about COVID-19 and to broaden or maintain the coverage of news in deserted but heavily affected regions.
Applicants that meet the following criteria can apply to the Fund:
- Freelance journalists or news organizations (non-profit or for-profit) with their principal place of business located in a country in the Council of Europe
- Actively covering COVID-19
- Serving communities on a hyperlocal, local or regional scale and/or communities of interest. (Communities being served must also be in Council of Europe member countries)
- Publishing and distributing content across print, online/web, television, radio, podcasts, online video, messaging service, e-newsletter, mobile app, social media or any combination thereof
- Have proven community loyalty and a focus on producing public interest journalism
- In existential need of financial support brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
Criteria for Selection
The applications awarded funding will need to meet the eligibility criteria (as described above) and will also be shortlisted on the basis of the best match to the following criteria:
- The current barriers to financial sustainability, staff/ contributor retention and community engagement due to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the potential for impact (within the organization and for the community that the organization is serving) are well defined
- There is a clear, robust and impact-led service provision/ business objective that will benefit from a defined amount of grant funding
- The service provision/ business objective will sufficiently benefit from (i) the funding track (the type of support) that the Applicant applied to, and (ii) the amount of funding that the Applicant has requested
- There is capacity within the organization to execute the service/ objective quickly and proficiently
- There is an ability and willingness to share ideas, experiences and learnings with the other organizations that will be participating in the Fund, as well as with the Fund Partners
- The propensity to help the EJC successfully meets the Fund objectives, mission and purpose and creates long-term impact after programme completion
- The potential resilience of the news organization beyond Fund participation and financial support
- Priority will be given to small and medium-sized news organizations or journalists catering to diverse communities. Special focus will be given to those particularly adversely impacted by the pandemic and/or supporting the communities most affected by the crisis.
Applicants can apply for only one track per wave. Successful Applicants will be notified by email no later than midnight CEST, Monday 4 May 2020.
For more information, visit https://europeanjournalism.fund/