Recently we announced the launch of a new initiative that will help us support and move journalism innovation forward in Europe and beyond: the News Impact Network.
This year, News Impact becomes a conveyor belt for innovative ideas that change journalism methods, formats and practices across Europe. We move from series to ecosystem, and the Network has a key role in this transformation. With the support of the Google News Initiative, we are bringing together sixteen talented innovators from different European news organisations — all previous Academy participants — to join a unique, year-long journey.
The goal is to create a structured and dedicated network, where members support each other in shaping and scaling their ideas while exploring new solutions for some of the most pressing challenges the journalism industry is facing.
Meet the cohort
The sixteen selected members reflect the diversity of the News Impact community across geography, background, organisations and skill-sets, and share the belief that innovation is the only way forward to build a sustainable future for the news industry. The members have been organised into four teams matching their interests and expertise. With the continuous support and knowledge exchange with their fellow team members, each individual will be able to tackle her/his challenges.
Without further ado, here are teams and members of the first-ever News Impact Network:
Community strategies & revenue models
What’s the secret to develop and implement innovative membership-based revenue models? How can we better engage with our communities in order to monetise this relationship? These are some of the questions this team will try to answer.
In Madrid, Paris, Edinburgh and Bratislava, each member of this team serves a different community, not only geographically but also because of the different types of media they work for. We are betting on this diversity to allow them to explore the deeper meaning of journalists’ role in their communities and prototype innovative solutions.
Organisational culture, workflows and processes
How can we drive change in traditional organisations? How can we implement an audience-centred and collaborative culture to develop innovative products and improve workflows in newsrooms?
Working in broadcast and print media in Berlin, Manchester, Rome and Brussels, all members of this team are bringing their colleagues along the innovation journey. This year they will focus on showing the value of change with the use of metrics and fostering experimentation in unexplored territories.
Social impact via community engagement
A team of creative individuals from London, Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw who share the goal of having an impact on society by building strong communities around shared values. By exploring different tools and methods, they focus on the social impact that news can still have today.
How would some narratives change with more women in management positions? How can immersive content contribute to raising awareness around social topics? Once again, it’s the diversity of the approaches that will unlock the full potential of the individual projects.
Leadership, engagement and newsroom transformation
How can we design successful strategies for innovation and audience engagement? What leadership skills are necessary to support and empower our colleagues in the newsroom, while bridging the gap in terms of digital skills?
This team combines newsroom leaders from Amsterdam, London, Hamburg and Helsinki, with a strong track record in the innovation space. Learning from each other’s experiences they will focus on developing new strategies to optimise newsroom processes with the goal of allowing innovation to thrive and improving the interaction between journalists and audiences.
Setting the foundations
On April 15th, we gathered in Perugia, Italy, to kick-off the Network and define rules, goals and milestones that will guide us through the year. The location was of course not a random choice. What better scenario to start than the 12th edition of the International Journalism Festival, a yearly gathering of some of the brightest minds in journalism?
Under the guidance of Tran Ha, who has designed the programme with us and will advise the members throughout the year, our first cohort had the chance to get to know each other and, with a series of design tools and methods, start working with their teams to define challenges and shape the next steps.
Most importantly, during the meeting we reinforced the core values of this initiative: collaboration, openness and commitment. By honestly sharing what struggles we are facing in the newsroom, taking a step back to better understand these challenges, and receiving the feedback from peers, all the members could start defining the specific issues they will be working on this year.
The way forward: what’s next?
We have eight exciting months ahead.
The cohort will meet again twice and throughout the year each member will develop her/his individual challenge with the support of the team. Members will regularly check-in with the programme facilitators and guest speakers will be invited to share their insights, sometimes with the entire cohort, other times with a specific team. Together we have also laid down the milestones that will guide the year.
Mirroring the design process, we will start with empathy and challenge definition to get external perspectives on the issues we are trying to tackle and to reframe our challenges in the clearest and most effective way. In the second part of the year we will then move to the problem-solving space: ideating, prototyping and testing solutions.
Takeaways from the process will be pulled out and shared with our community throughout the year and key lessons will form a tangible outcome at the end of it. Last but not least, all Network members will join the last News Impact Summit of 2018, in Berlin on 3 December. Make sure to join us there if you want to get more insights directly from their own experience.
Innovation needs a network to thrive. This year we will prove it.
Do you want to join the Network in 2019?
There’s only one way: apply for one of our News Impact Academies this year. Attending the Academy is a mandatory first step to be considered for the Network. And it’s fun too!