“Enhancing Audience-Supported Collaborations for Empowered Media and Societies,” co-funded by the European Commission, aims to support independent journalism by facilitating collaboration between journalists from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia, and Greece. We will be working together with Free Press Unlimited, Free Press for Eastern Europe (FPEE), and the Prague Media School.
Press Start will recruit journalists from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia, and Greece to pitch their collaborative, cross-border stories. Successful teams of journalists will have crowdfunding campaigns for their stories launched on the Press Start website. Matching funds will be available for each campaign to help journalists reach their goal. The stories will be published in an outlet or outlets of the journalists’ choosing. We will also translate the articles into English and publish them on the Press Start blog as well as on the Prague Media School’s website.
Each of the project partners brings its unique expertise and experience to support the participating journalists.
Press Start is the first global crowdfunding platform for reporters in countries where the press cannot report freely, potentially revolutionizing the way independent journalism is funded in the developing world and emerging democracies.
Free Press Unlimited and Free Press for Eastern Europe are already operating a collaborative journalism project, involving independent media from 15 Eastern European, Baltic, and Central Asian countries, making them perfect partners for this collaborative crowdfunding project.
Based on its experience of training media professionals from inside and outside the EU, the Prague Media School will design instructional sessions that teach key skills for collaborative, crowdfunded journalism. Graduates will be invited to partner together and apply for crowdfunding on Press Start for their new joint projects.
The Center for Independent Journalism in Hungary specializes in investigative journalism training and will provide mentoring to project participants on investigations, collaborative productions, and story dissemination.
In EU countries where media freedom is being suppressed or threatened, independent journalists often struggle to find funding for important, impactful stories. The project aims to foster independent journalism by connecting journalists with donors interested in funding their stories and raising journalists’ profiles by promoting their crowdfunding campaigns. Supporting cross-border projects could pave the way for future, mutually beneficial collaboration between individual journalists and media outlets. Working collaboratively is also a great opportunity for journalists from different backgrounds to network, share experiences, and learn new skills from each other.
Participating journalists will also be invited to attend prestigious European media freedom and journalism conferences, such as the World Press Freedom Conference in The Hague, the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, and the Prague Media Point event. The conferences are an additional opportunity to network and learn new skills as well as share the benefits of collaborative journalism with the wider European media community. Due to COVID-19 many of these events are moving online.
This project is co-funded by the European Commission under the pilot project: “Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU” (DG CONNECT). This text reflects the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.