What are the application criteria?

Two tiers of criteria are the basis of a successful application:

Eligibility criteria

  • Formal preconditions on who can apply
  • Applicants must meet all of them in order to be considered

Selection criteria

  • Distinguishing characteristics which make a project stand out
  • It is not mandatory to meet all criteria

Eligibility criteria

Applicants that meet the following criteria can apply:

  • Media organisations with audiences in one or more of these countries:
    France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden or the UK.
    Media can apply alone or in a coalition of outlets, for instance between media in different countries, or between a major general-interest news organisation and a smaller outlet with a specific expertise and audience.

  • The applicant - or, in the case of consortia, one of the applicants - is an opinion-forming news- or broader journalism organisation with a track record of accurate, fair, and responsible quality reporting.
    In other words: Major international, national or metropolitan news outlets or magazines in print, broadcast, and/or online followed by a large audience and/or decision makers.
    Investigative newsrooms and widely-read sector-specific outlets focusing on development, foreign policy, foreign trade and investment, health, and political communication are also eligible - ideally in co-operation with a major general-interest news organisation.

  • The project focuses on one or more of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
    Focus is on LDCs as defined by the United Nations and/or their development relations with key European donor countries; other countries may be used for further illustration or comparison.

  • The project directly addresses one or several of the first six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely:
    Goal 1: No Poverty;
    Goal 2: Zero Hunger;
    Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being;
    Goal 4: Quality Education;
    Goal 5: Gender Equality;
    Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

  • The project delivers regular instalments that are thematically connected over a period of 12 months which are recognisable as a series:
    : Any format or mix of formats is acceptable.
    Topic: Reporting has to be thematically connected (e.g. in-depth, multi-angle reporting of a single topic or topical cluster or consistent coverage of a cross-cutting issue).
    Recognisability: New instalments may be published in short intervals, with a specific tagline, hashtag, logo, layout, or design.
    : Reporting is published on a dedicated microsite or website subpage and/or is labeled accordingly throughout the publication.
  • The project is considered a flagship project of the applying news organisation.
    Applicants need to demonstrate that the projects benefit from their organisation’s full ownership and that the coverage has full editorial support during its entire run complete with the requisite “above the fold” placement and accompanying promotion.

What is not eligible:

  • We do not accept applications from organisations that already receive direct grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • State-funded media are not eligible. State-funded refers to the direct funding of public service media organisations (whether state-owned or a private non-profits).
    Media organisations indirectly supported through tax reductions or exemptions and/or favourable rates for public utilities are eligible. Organisations that receive direct disbursements, or subsidisation of costs, are eligible. Organisations that have received Covid-19 support grants from governments are eligible.
  • State-controlled entities are not eligible for funding. State-controlled refers to editorial control by a government, which takes direct forms (e.g. through editorial guidelines or ownership structures) or indirect forms (e.g. state-controlled advertising revenue). Organisations that can prove editorial independence through processes, statutes or external assessment are eligible.

Selection criteria

The following criteria help you demonstrate why your proposal is special and should be funded. Please note that they are not mandatory and there is no need to tick off all of them - a good proposal may well show particular strength in one or a few aspects.

  • Partnerships with news organisations and/or freelancers in LDCs.
    Especially in the current situation with world wide travel restrictions and the necessity for remote reporting, established contacts and/or willingness to collaborate with local journalists in your target countries are essential. If your plan involves international travel, please provide a contingency should COVID-19 restrictions not allow that to take place. Remote reporting projects are welcomed.
  • Solution-oriented / Constructive journalism
    Coverage that not merely investigates and calls out what is wrong, but that analyses what is or could be done right and critically examines remedial actions - where possible.
  • Editorial quality
    Does the project emphasise
    under-reported topics?
    Does your approach avoid stereotypes and go beyond the surface of a story?
    Does it assume a fresh perspective or come in a particularly compelling format?
    Is it sensitive to positions of privilege and global north-south power dynamics?
  • Audience engagement
    Does the project propose a strategy to
    connect with and involve your audience?
    Does it have a promotion strategy to draw in a large, broad audience including members of the public who are not traditionally reached by the media?
  • Diversity of your team and professional development
    Do you have a diverse, inclusive team with a variety of backgrounds, competences and knowledge which provides different perspectives and allows peer learning?
    How will you avoid “parachute journalismand aim for inclusive, equitable coverage?
  • Syndication of content
    Additional coverage by sharing your products with other outlets without compromising exclusivity in your publication’s own market.

Conditions of the Grant

How to use the Grant

The grant programme provides funds to enable media organisations to cover development issues and not to receive money for already published work. Please also note that we do not fund short-form news.

The grant takes the form of a stipend that may be used for direct costs which are related to creating, promoting, producing and editing the journalistic pieces.

Expenses are depending on what is necessary and appropriate for the project and can include for example:
- proportional share of the responsible editor’s salary
cost of staff and freelance journalists reporting for the project
travel and accommodation costs for field trips
- expenses for local fixers and stringers
photo- and videographers, graphic designers, data specialists etc.

Financial and output reports of the project

Grantees are requested to submit financial reports and narrative, impact and user data metrics reports for which templates and instructions will be provided.

Grantees are accountable for all expenses, which must be justified and cannot be used for general overhead costs or expenses for other thematic sections of the publication.

Grants are not considered for a supply and are a non-business activity that falls outside the scope of VAT.