GIZ invites independent media organisations, national and local media outlets, and other media actors operating in the region of Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia), to apply for Grants for Quality and Innovative Journalism in the framework of the Programme: Support to Media Freedom and Pluralism in the Western Balkans, co-funded by the European Union and the German Government, and implemented by GIZ, in collaboration with Internews and DW Akademie.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in collaboration with Internews and DW Akademie, is implementing a Regional Media Assistance Programme, in six countries of Western Balkans, funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
This Programme is aiming to enhance the Capacities of professional independent media organisations to better adapt to the changing media environment, through helping to create modern high-quality content and appropriate business models thereafter.
Taking into consideration the scarce human and financial resources of the independent media sector, this Programme is providing support that consists of a combination of grant support, tailor-made technical support, and a range of capacity building activities to improve media business and develop high-quality journalism.
The first Call, launched by the Programme in July 2022, identified around 20 independent media organizations from the Western Balkans as strategic media partners of the Programme. They will benefit from provision of financial and tailor-made technical support to enhance their economic performance and sustainability.
With the second Call, the Programme is targeting a wider variety of media actors from the region, to support and help them develop modern and innovative media formats, and enhance the sustainability of quality journalism.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CALL
Enhance conditions for sustainability of quality reporting and increased audience trust and outreach, notably through piloting and/or developing innovative media products and content formats.
- Introduction and/or consolidation of innovative media formats and tools
- Introduction and/or consolidation of mechanisms and processes fostering high-quality journalism
Target: Independent media organisations, national and local media outlets, other media actors from WB6: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
No of Grants to be awarded: approximately 30
Grant Size: up to EUR 25.000
Grant Duration: up to 1 year
The grants will support media actors - as provided for in the goals of the Programme - in piloting and/or developing innovative media products, formats and tools, aiming at increased and diversified audience outreach, including selected target groups, such as young people, women, minorities, diaspora and other underserviced communities in terms of media coverage and inclusion. These products, formats and tools should contribute to sustainable quality reporting, resulting in an increased audience trust and outreach, thus contributing to media business development and sustainability.
Furthermore, the grants will support media actors in piloting and/or developing mechanisms and processes fostering high-quality journalism in their media organization. These mechanisms and processes should enhance journalistic skills and gender-sensitive reporting, but also comprise editorial guidelines, fact-checking and investigative techniques.
By this Call, the Programme will support up to 30 media organizations, national and local media outlets, and other media actors such as civil society organisations1, media production companies; group of media workers, free-lance journalists with recognizable track-record, etc. from the Western Balkans.
The proposal may include one or more from the following areas of interventions (but not limited to):
1. Innovative media products, formats and tools
This area focuses on supporting ideas related to the piloting and/or development of new, innovative media products, formats and tools that require a clear understanding and definition of the target group, distribution channels, tools for delivering, media content and the way of monetization (if applicable). Proposals should help create, distribute, and consume different media formats, using creativity and innovation, technology and design, aiming to make them accessible and attractive to a wider audience The proposed formats should help to reach new audiences and develop the potential for sustainable and strong business models. Extended reality technologies for consumption in new environments (e.g., AR, VR) should be considered as well.
2. Internal mechanisms and processes that foster high-quality journalism [Strengthening and increasing the professionalism within and streamlining of organization of media outlets]
The grants in this area focus on putting in place new procedures and approaches within the media organizations, aimed at the development through increased division of labour and precise description of duties within the outlet, securing independence of the employed journalists and encouraging innovation by developing and enacting editorial codes, within the outlet; fostering cooperation between different media outlets through educational programs and internships; strengthening pluralism and inclusion (especially gender sensitive reporting) in terms of learning the coverage of new subjects important to so far largely neglected audiences; with the aim of increasing the quality of reporting and understanding and responding to the needs of the audience. Digital security might be another area to be further strengthened and consolidated within the media organisation.
3. Experimentation and development of tools and capacities for evidence-based journalism to encounter disinformation and propaganda:
The grants in this area support the piloting, development and consolidation of tools and approaches that enable and ensure reporting based on data, facts and evidences, like: data journalism, acquiring (and learning to use) the available fact checking and investigative tools, debunking fake news and promoting fact-checking at the level of media outlets (including their cooperation on this subject); accountability and solution oriented journalism, etc. Through this call the media organisations can get support to develop further these tools and formats, or introduce new ones, while at the same trying to make them more accessible to the wider public, reaching different communities and new audiences.
The interested media actors can apply using the templates provided below, until November 20th, 2022.
As part of the Application Package, the applicants will need to submit a Project Proposal, containing:
The respective templates need to be downloaded, filled in, signed, and sent via email, in pdf format, to the following address: email@example.com
The supporting documents need to be sent via email to the same address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Selection Process will be based on the following eligibility criteria and criteria for evaluation:
- The applicant should be established and operating in one of the Western Balkans economies.
- Status of applicant: Independent private sector media company; non-for-profit media outlet; civil society organization1; media content production company, media workers; free-lance journalists with a recognizable track record; etc. from the Western Balkans. Public broadcasters and state-controlled media are not eligible.
- Proven commitment to professional and ethical standards of journalism (e.g. through membership in press councils; adherence or compliance with other relevant recognized mechanisms, platforms, etc. established to promote professional and ethical standards in journalism)
- Transparent ownership and/or composition, with no involvement of state or state-affiliated entities; nor of senior political actors or their close relatives
The applicants that fulfil the Eligibility Criteria will be subject to an evaluation process, based on the following Criteria:
I- Relevance of the application with the Objectives of the Call.
II- Quality of the application and of the proposal.
III- Professional and organisational capacities to implement the proposed actions.
IV- Innovation and potential of the proposed idea.
V- Budget clarity and relevance.
The maximum grant amount per grantee will be up to 25,000 EUR and will be paid in tranches, depending on the delivery of the outputs and the achievement of the expected results.
The grants provided for the enhancement of innovative formats and journalistic skills as well as for development mechanisms and processes which should foster high-quality journalism will be accompanied by training, innovation labs and mentoring, e.g. on data journalism, data visualization, multimedia content, mobile reporting and livestreaming.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions in status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence
1 CSOs that deal with media productions and media development formats, and have a collaboration with a media outlet/channel, ensuring the production formats/tools reach the public.