EJC launches three-year Solutions Journalism Accelerator

We’re partnering with the Solutions Journalism Network to provide more than USD $4m in grants, mentoring, coaching, resources and knowledge transfer.

From mistrustful and disengaged audiences to changed and lost revenue opportunities — media organisations across Europe are facing a variety of challenges that hinder their ability to be resilient.

At the same time, a more-balanced, solutions-focused journalism can not only strengthen civic engagement but also help media outlets meet the real needs of their communities, which is key to their financial sustainability.

To enable media organisations across Europe to carry out solutions-focused development journalism, the European Journalism Centre (EJC) is partnering with the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) to provide more than USD $4m in grants, mentoring, coaching, resources and knowledge transfer in the coming three years.

On today’s launch of the Solutions Journalism Accelerator, we are opening the first Call for Applications for the first round of grant funding, mentoring and coaching.

About the programme

The EJC embraces innovation and positive changes within journalism and is optimistic about the many exciting developments taking place across the media landscape in regards to new business models, new formats and technology.

We also understand the significant role that journalism plays in informing people about big societal topics and challenges such as global health and global development.

Since 2013 the EJC has financially supported more than 200 journalism projects reporting on global challenges. Development journalism — the production and distribution of vital information that attempts to document the socio-economic conditions within disadvantaged societies, so that larger and global audiences understand them — has been at the root of EJC’s grant-giving initiatives.

And increasingly we have recognised that solutions-focused and community-focused approaches to such journalism are not only beneficial for media organisations but also for more impactful reporting outcomes.

Based on all of our learnings, the Solutions Journalism Accelerator was created to achieve the following:

Purpose: The Solutions Journalism Accelerator is a programme delivering grant funding, mentoring, coaching, resources and knowledge transfer to support solutions-focused development journalism in European news organisations.

Mission: To create demonstrable impact on the public, key stakeholders and the media landscape through raising awareness of, and enabling media organisations to undertake more, solutions-focused development journalism.

Vision: To inspire and enable all media organisations in Europe to build resilience through creating greater public awareness, critical understanding and positive social change about urgent global issues.

When we say solutions journalism we mean…

Rigorous and evidence-based reporting that primarily focuses on responses to societal problems.

We define solutions journalism as a practice that investigates and explains, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people try to solve widely shared problems.

While journalists usually define news as ‘what’s gone wrong’, solutions journalism tries to expand this notion by emphasising that ‘what works’ is also newsworthy. By adding rigorous, evidence-based coverage of solutions, journalists can tell the whole story.

Call for Applications

Today we are launching a Call for Applications aimed at opinion-forming media organisations based in and/or have significant reach to audiences across France, Germany or the United Kingdom. This strand of the Accelerator is providing grants of up to €130,000 together with bespoke mentoring and coaching for each grantee.

We know from years of experience of running ‘funding plus’ programmes — including the Engaged Journalism Accelerator and IJ4EU — that media organisations and journalists benefit more significantly from grant funding, and for longer term, when they have access to dedicated, relevant mentoring and coaching alongside the funding.

Grant funding

Individual media organisations or consortiums of up to two media organisations will be awarded up to €130,000 to help them deliver one comprehensive solutions-focused development journalism project comprising a 12-month reporting period.

Mentoring

During the Accelerator, grantees will have access to mentors and coaches in order to help them effectively deliver their project objectives, develop skills, knowledge and confidence within project teams, and implement a solutions journalism approach to their stories.

Each grantee will be matched with a dedicated mentor(s) that will provide monthly, online, hands-on expertise, resources and advice. Mentors will be matched with grantees based on the needs of the project team/ project objectives.

Coaching

Grantees will also be provided with group-based coaching on specific topics, concepts or challenges during two, full-day, in-person bootcamps.

The Solutions Journalism Network team will also contribute their expertise to the mentoring and coaching of grantees to ensure project teams are confident, equipped and able to fully employ a solutions journalism approach to their published stories during the Accelerator and beyond.

How to apply

The application deadline is 18:00 CEST / 17:00 BST Friday 6 May 2022. Applications must be submitted, in English, via the EJC’s online grants application platform. Creating an account is free of charge, and after logging in, applicants should select the ‘Solutions Journalism Accelerator’ option in the website menu.

The Call for Applications documentation, which includes the full eligibility criteria, conditions of the grant and selection criteria can be found here.

The applications awarded funding will need to meet the eligibility criteria and conditions of the grant and will also be shortlisted, by an independent jury, on the basis of the best/ most compelling match to specific selection criteria.

The EJC will administer grant awards independently from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Do you have questions?

The Call for Applications documentation details all aspects of the grant funding available for media organisations. If you have a question that is not answered in the document, please refer to the FAQs.

You can also join the first AMA (ask me anything) session via Zoom. The session will be at 11:00 CEST / 10:00 BST, Wednesday 13 April 2022. To attend the session, please register at this link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

And you can contact us at info@soljoaccelerator.com if you have further questions.

To keep up to date about the Solutions Journalism Accelerator, including for other strands of the programme such as the Ambassador Network and publication of resources, sign up to the mailing list.

About the programme partners

The programme, launched in 2022, is delivered by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the European Journalism Centre

The EJC is an international non-profit headquartered in the Netherlands, working to support, strengthen and develop journalism. Our mission is to strengthen the resilience of European journalism and progressive media by connecting journalists and media to new ideas, nurturing communities, making available a wide range of unique experiences, providing grants and skills development, and producing resources and training affordable or for free. Our aim is that every journalist and news organisation shall benefit from an EJC programme or initiative.

About the Solutions Journalism Network

SJN is an international non-profit advancing a system-level change in journalism, leading the adoption of solutions journalism — rigorous reporting on responses to social problems — into the daily news across the world. Our mission is to transform journalism so that all people have access to news that helps them envision and build a more equitable and sustainable world.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Its mission is to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. It partners with entrepreneurs, companies, and other organisations to create incentives that harness the power of private enterprise to create change for those who need it most.

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Lars Boering

Lars Boering

Director European Journalism Centre @ejcnet, specialised in visual journalism & photography. To strengthen, support and develop Journalism is the purpose.