The European Journalism Centre (EJC), the News Integrity Initiative, and Civil announced the launch of the Engaged Journalism Accelerator today (13 April), which will offer €600,000 in grants to European independent media over the next year.
The Accelerator is a €1.7 million programme overseen by the European Journalism Centre, which will finance and support projects promoting sustainability and reader engagement initiatives.
The €600,000 will be allocated by the accelerator programme in two separate rounds, in October 2018 and February 2019. Half of the grant money has been put forward by Civil, a decentralised news platform bringing blockchain technology to journalism, while the other half is matched by the EJC.
The grant will fund between 10 and 15 independent European news organisations who have demonstrated a commitment towards building relationships with their communities. The accelerator will focus on offering support through mentorship, resources and events, as well as financial help. The project is led by Kathryn Geels, previously of Digital Catapult and Nesta.
Some of the programme’s key guiding principles are to coach the projects for success; support skills beyond editorial, such as business, legal, or product teams; share case studies; and help to develop diversity in newsrooms as well as audiences.
The projects that will be selected by the accelerator programme will also be able to start up on the Civil platform, and will be offered access to Civil tokens and mentoring.
Civil is building a journalism marketplace to bring the advantages of blockchain technology to the media industry, focusing on permanence and self-governance.
"Being able to permanently archive content is understandably a very existential question,” Matt Coolidge, co-founder of Civil, told Journalism.co.uk in February. “Looking at the US's DNAinfo and Gothamist story, at the fact that a billionaire owner suddenly decided it was not a profitable sustainable line of business and decided to pull the plug on the archives – and with that, eight years of local journalism focused on the New York and Chicago markets were gone,” he added.
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