The Investigative Journalism for Europe is seeking applications for its Freelancer Support Scheme to provide teams of journalists working outside of newsroom structures with grants of an extra cushion of tailored assistance including training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Managed by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), the scheme is designed to support journalists operating outside of newsroom structures who may be underserved by other journalism support schemes and/or who are significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, yet who are nonetheless willing and able to collaborate with others to launch investigations of importance to audiences at a local, national, regional and European level.
Investigations developed for all formats — including print, broadcast, online media, documentary film-making and multi-platform storytelling — will be considered.
- 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 one member state and UK) 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 under-reported issues. Furthermore, teams working in eligible countries where investigative journalism is under pressure, including financial and political pressure, are especially encouraged to apply.
- The Freelancer Support Scheme will allocate a total of €265,000 to cross-border collaborative investigations involving teams made up entirely of freelancers.
- Grants of up to €20,000 will be awarded to successful teams in 2021.
Grantees will have six months to complete their projects. During these six months, in addition to grant funding, they will 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).
- Networking: 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.
- 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 the UK) no later than 28 February 2022. Subsequent publication may continue beyond this date.
- 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 are based in at least two EU member states, or at least one EU member state and the UK
- They are collaborating on a topic of cross-border relevance,
- They are signed up to a press regulator, journalists’ union, trust initiative, or part of a press association, or they have current CVs/online portfolios that demonstrate relevant qualifications or a history of working with trusted news organisations.
- Third-country team members (including those based in an official EU candidate country) 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 https://www.investigativejournalismforeu.net/grants/freelancer-support-scheme/