Launch of a two-year support programme to stimulate the production of cross-border, solutions-oriented, and investigative reporting across Europe, and make the European independent news media more innovative, sustainable, and responsive to their audiences.
Four European organisations are joining forces to strengthen cross-border, solutions-oriented and investigative reporting across Europe through “SoJo Europe,” which officially launched on 1 December 2023. With financial support from the European Commission (Creative Europe Media), Transitions (Czech Republic), Journalismfund Europe (Belgium), the Constructive Institute (Denmark), and The South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) will undertake a two-year, multifaceted, 1.6-million-euro programme that will impact the journalism profession across the continent.
The project aims to foster a sector-wide, European network for the exchange of best practices in constructive/solutions journalism on climate change and spur the combination of investigative reporting and solutions journalism to offer more complete coverage of the problems facing European societies. The project will also increase the connections and cooperation between Western and Northern European practitioners of constructive/solutions journalism and their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe. Another goal is the increased economic viability of media outlets through the production of more solutions-oriented content.
SoJo Europe has four main support mechanisms:
- A training, grant, and mentoring programme to stimulate more solutions/constructive journalism, especially for the climate change beat.
- A training, grant, and mentoring programme to stimulate more connected investigative and solutions reporting.
- A training and mentoring programme to spur increased revenue through the production of solutions/constructive journalism.
- A study tour/exchange and grant programme, and an international conference to foster greater collaboration among newsrooms across Europe.
In more detail:
This programme aims to respond to the need for media organisations across Europe to pursue different approaches to increase reader trust, audience share, and revenue by creating a cross-European solutions journalism/constructive journalism knowledge hub and encouraging systemic cooperation among professional news media organisations. Over a period of two years, this initiative will provide subgrants to participating newsrooms for cross-border projects integrating solutions reporting into climate coverage, as well as cross-border investigative/solution journalism projects. Grants will also be given to support cooperation between participating newsrooms in Central and Eastern Europe and their Scandinavian counterparts.
Training and mentoring programmes
This project foresees a training and mentoring programme in various aspects of
constructive/solutions-oriented journalism and investigative journalism, local audience engagement, and newsroom revenue generation. We will also initiative a training-the-trainers programme.
Solutions Journalism Summit
A two-day media conference will be organised in Prague for leading practitioners of solutions/constructive journalism from across Europe. The event will also serve as an opportunity for participating newsroom cohort members/training-the-trainer participants to meet in person, as well as the consortium partners.
This project will target journalists and news outlets from all Creative Europe participating countries (EU and non-EU).
Given the increasing levels of news avoidance and decreasing levels of trust in the media, the industry needs to find “another way.” The watchdog function of journalism is essential; however, it does not provide the whole picture. There must be an additional layer, a constructive, solutions-focused approach that aims to ask “What Now?” and look to the future. This collaborative effort launched by some of Europe’s leaders in supporting constrictive/solutions journalism and investigative reporting addresses this crisis by equipping journalists to investigate not just problems, but how people are responding to them – asking what’s working and why, what are the limitations, and what shareable insights can we take from their efforts.
The total budget of this two-year project is 1.6 million euro with 80% supported by the EU under the Creative Europe Program (CREA), Journalism Partnerships (CREA-CROSS-2023-JOURPART). Philanthropic organisations will cover the remainder of the budget.
Transitions, the coordinator and lead partner in this consortium, is a non-profit organisation based in Prague, with a mission of supporting high-quality, independent journalism and an informed and engaged public. Transitions runs a wide variety of journalism and media training programs, and publishes Transitions, an online magazine that focuses on Central and Eastern Europe, as well as solutions journalism. In this project, Transitions will be responsible for the overall project management and coordination; workshops and mentoring for the journalists and editors of participating newsrooms; a training-of-trainers programme; and a two-day Solutions Journalism Summit in Prague for over 100 media professionals.
More info: https://transitionsmedia.org/
Contact: Jeremy Druker (executive director), Jeremy.email@example.com
Journalismfund Europe vzw is a Brussels-based independent non‐profit intermediary incorporated by citizens in 1998. The organisation was established with the purpose of facilitating investigative, cross-border and independent journalism in order to strengthen democracy in Europe by connecting donors and journalists without endangering the journalists’ independence. In this project, Journalismfund will be responsible for the subgrants to newsrooms for cross-border, investigative, and solutions stories.
More info: www.journalismfund.eu
Contact: Ides Debruyne (managing director), firstname.lastname@example.org
Constructive Institute is a Danish organisation supporting the global news industry to develop constructive approaches for journalism. The institute helps journalists and news organisations to apply constructive reporting in their daily work through providing access to an inspiring best practices portal, a fellowship program, relevant training and workshops, and initiating rigorous, independent, academic research. In this project, the Constructive Institute will be responsible for selecting host newsrooms from Scandinavia and organising a study/exchange tour to foster increased cooperation between Western & Northern European practitioners of solutions journalism and their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe. CI will also manage collaborative initiatives between participating newsrooms.
Contact: Ulrik Haagerup (founder and CEO), email@example.com
The South East European Network for Professionalisation of Media (SEENPM) is a network of 19 media NGOs (working on media development, media freedom, and media research) from 13 countries of Central and South-eastern Europe, as well as Turkey. SEENPM promotes excellence in journalism through policy initiatives, research, and training of journalists and its members were among the pioneers of teaching solutions and constructive journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey. In this project, SEENPM will be responsible for selecting host newsrooms from CEE and organising a study/exchange tour to foster increased cooperation between Western & Northern European practitioners of solutions journalism and their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe. SEENPM will also train newsrooms in developing sustainable revenue streams by monetizing solutions content and will coordinate and oversee newsroom experiments on monetizing solutions content production.
More info: https://seenpm.org/
Contact: Tihomir Loza (executive director), firstname.lastname@example.org
The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) is a US-based non-profit organisation that advocates an approach of solutions-oriented reporting for a systems-level change in journalism. Since it was founded in 2013, SJN has engaged with over 600 newsrooms throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Latin America. More than 27,000 journalists have participated in SJN training events and used its online tools. In this project, SJN will share its valuable expertise and inputs in the training curriculum on solutions journalism and revenue generation, impact tracking, signposting, and climate reporting.