The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) has launched the applications for the Freelancer Support Scheme to provide teams of journalists working outside of newsroom structures with grants of up to €20,000 plus an extra cushion of tailored assistance including training, mentoring and networking opportunities.
IJ4EU’s Freelancer Support Scheme provides grants to cross-border teams made up entirely of freelancers and who can benefit from an extra layer of tailored support.
- IJ4EU is open to cross-border investigative projects on any topic. This includes, but is not limited to, corruption, illicit enrichment and financial crime, security, democracy and human rights, environment and climate change, and health – including the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects must aim to reveal new information that is of relevance to the public in at least two EU member states or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country, or to the wider European public sphere.
- IJ4EU is dedicated to supporting a diverse range of topics and teams across Europe. They welcome projects focusing on underreported issues. Furthermore, teams working in eligible countries where investigative journalism is under pressure, including financial and political pressure, are especially encouraged to apply.
The scheme will provide around €330,000 grants in 2022/23.
- Grantees have six months to complete their projects. During these six months, in addition to grant funding, they benefit from two types of non-financial support, which are integral to the Freelancer Support Scheme:
- Mentorship and training:
- Each awarded team will work with carefully selected mentors according to how their needs evolve as they proceed with their projects. Teams can decide which team members will communicate with the mentor(s) throughout the programme. Mentors will commit to being available on particular days for calls, emails, feedback sessions etc. throughout the course of the projects. The mentors will have expertise in various aspects of investigative journalism (for example, data journalism, pitching, open-source intelligence, best practices in cross-border collaboration and so on).
- In addition to the mentoring programme, the EJC will organise three online expert calls (“Ask Me Anything” sessions) with specialists to allow grantees of the scheme to gain knowledge and improve their skills in fields relevant to investigative journalism. It is up to each awarded team to decide which member(s) will attend the training sessions. At least one person from each awarded team should attend the expert calls.
- The EJC will organise a half-day online event to bring together Freelancer Support Scheme grantees, mentors and other external experts. The event will be in a format that encourages active participation from both grantees and mentors, allowing them to align their mutual expectations and maximise the effectiveness of the programme. At least one member per team should attend the networking event.
- Mentorship and training:
- Projects must be completed and originally published by respected news organisations or platforms in at least two EU member states or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country or Ukraine.
- Projects may initially be published behind a paywall, but must be made available outside of the paywall after one month.
- To be eligible for the Freelancer Support Scheme, applications must be submitted by teams composed entirely of freelance journalists that meet the following criteria:
- They must be based in at least two EU member states, OR
- They must be based in at least one EU member state and at least one official EU candidate country (Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine).
- Third-country team members from further afield are welcome to take part, but they must be part of teams that fulfil the core geographical criteria. In other words, they must be part of teams with members based in at least two EU member states or at least one EU member state and one EU candidate country.
- Please note that unlike in previous editions of IJ4EU, journalists based in the United Kingdom will no longer be treated as equivalent to their counterparts in EU member states. The United Kingdom is now treated the same as any other third country.
- In addition:
- Teams must collaborate on a topic of cross-border relevance, and
- They must be signed up to a press regulator, journalists’ union, trust initiative, or part of a press association, or have current CVs/online portfolios that demonstrate relevant qualifications or a history of working with trusted news organisations.
- Third-country team members from further afield can be part of applying consortia, provided that the consortia already meet the above criteria.
- Applications must justify the relevance of the investigation to the public interest in the eligible countries targeted by the investigation, or to the broader European public sphere.
- Grant funding may be used to cover any costs necessary for the development, completion and publication of the investigation and production of journalistic content, including salary and human resource costs, research-related costs, translation and travel costs. The only exception applies to equipment (hardware) costs, which are not eligible.
For more information, visit IJ4EU.