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EJC announces the winners of the special funding round for European media

Press release
The European Journalism Centre
24 November 2015

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is delighted to announce the winners of the special funding round for European media launched as part of its Innovation in Development Reporting (IDR) Grant Programme. A combined total of €600.000 will be awarded to Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), De Correspondent (the Netherlands), SPIEGEL ONLINE (Germany) and WeltN24 (Germany) with the aim to support one-year-long innovative storytelling on global development.

The four winning media outlets have been selected out of 44 proposals received from major European media outlets in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The winners were selected for their innovative approaches to covering Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), combining traditional journalism with new and experimental storytelling techniques, alongside with the outlets’ high online impact potential.

“We faced the most difficult choice so far when it comes to selecting the winners of our grant programme. This special round yielded an overwhelming number of high quality applications from well-established European media houses. We are absolutely delighted to be able to support long-term development journalism at top level media outlets. We are convinced that this can create the necessary awareness, including within the media itself, of the viability of quality journalism on international development topics,” said Wilfried Ruetten, EJC Director.

Peter Wolodarski, editor-in-chief of Sweden's Dagens Nyheter, stated: "We're very excited about this project. The development goals are underreported, generally speaking, and we want to do more in this field. With this grant we will be able to boost our reporting, invest in digital development, and engage our audience even more. Our team has a lot of great ideas that will now be turned into reality.”

The managing editor of De Correspondent Karel Smouter mentioned: “We invest our resources – provided by 40.000 paying members – in producing stories that last longer than a day, week, month or even a year. But, how do we make readers aware that these stories exist and still have relevance? This grant enables our designers, developers, journalists and translators to come up with new ways to engage the audience with our stories, taking them – step by step – on our learning journey in the world of the UN and the Global Goals.”

Florian Harms, editor-in-chief of SPIEGEL ONLINE, said: "Being chosen as a recipient of the European Journalism Centre Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme is an honour for SPIEGEL ONLINE. The United Nations aim high with their Sustainable Development Goals and the extent to which these goals will be met is crucial to the living conditions of billions of people. We are convinced that finding suitable ways of explaining and communicating the SDGs is both a challenge for news offices and a prerequisite for achieving the goals. Our data journalism unit will be occupied with developing innovative and experimental storytelling approaches and we're truly looking forward to covering this topic in a positive, engaging way."

Jan-Eric Peters, editor-in-chief of WeltN24, the media group publishing Die Welt, Welt am Sonntag and N24, stated: “We are very excited to be supported by the Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme. It is a great opportunity for WeltN24 to develop a new multimedia format and highlight an important topic that is underrepresented in our everyday coverage. What is particularly exciting for us is that this is not only a short-term engagement but actually a one-year-project that helps keeping the focus on water as a basic and much needed element."

Dagens Nyheter and will focus its year-long reporting on all aspects related to the Global Goal 17, which covers revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development. Rather than tackling individual goals, this focused approach will allow an in-depth look into all the actors involved in Global Goals, their responsibilities and the underlying systemic issues. Using SDG 17 as a starting point, the reporting will reflect stories about how global development work is conducted on an overall level as well as on daily basis at the grassroots level.

De Correspondent will launch an online crash course on the Global Goals. The crash course will give an insight in world politics, taking readers step ­by ­step through an ever­ growing collection of stories on how the world seeks to address its biggest problems. The course will create an online ‘learning environment’ with a number of tools that enable the public to become more engaged and better informed citizens. The platform will have as core focus the creation of a better learning experience, including advanced infographics, online video and interactive design built in an audience friendly way.

Spiegel Online will deliver a platform centred on the ideals of constructive journalism and data literacy. The main question in focus will be: “which options does each individual have to support the sustainable development goals?” Readers will be addressed personally through data-driven elements, interactive tools and multimedia reports in order to provide answers and new perspectives on this issue. Spiegel Online will design a mono-thematic dashboard publicly available on, which will dive deeply into the sustainable development goals' statistical basis, so hard-to-grasp data can be easily interpreted.

WeltN24’s project “Can I get some water?” will shine light on the global importance of this natural resource, put it in a worldwide context and provide a fresh take on the challenges and potential solutions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals on water issues. An interactive multimedia microsite will allow users to discover the topic of water from unexpected angles. Readers can expect at least 20 reports from different regions of the world told through animated videos, interactive graphics, maps, 360-­degree videos and drone flights. Multimedia ‘scrollytelling’, compatible with tablets and smartphones, will be used alongside reflective, classic, long-read reports.

The four winning projects that are eligible for funding will be greenlighted upon signature of a legal contract. All funded projects will be freely accessible to a national or global online audience without any access barriers such as paywalls or registration.

The four winners of this special call as well as the 15 winners of the IDR regular call will join a two-day boot camp training on 10 and 11 December. The event brings together fellow grantees in an environment meant to generate cross disciplinary and cross country collaborations. The bootcamp will allow for the exchange of best practices around publications strategies aimed at achieving the best possible public impact.

Journalists and media organisations interested in breaking away from development journalism stereotypes are encouraged to pitch their creative ideas in the seventh round of applications. The deadline to apply is 2 March 2016 (22:00 CET). The online application form can be found here. For questions, check the FAQ guide or send an email to [email protected].

Note for editors:

The Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme was launched in January 2013 by the EJC with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project aims to reward quality journalism and advance a new and distinctive agenda for development coverage through awarding funding to a selection of state-of-the-art reporting projects of great impact and high visibility. Since 2013, the programme has granted funding to 82 projects.

The IDR Grant Programme has received $1,785,000 for the period of 2015 and 2016 that will be awarded to innovative journalistic projects centered on global development topics. In 2016, the programme will again run two rounds of applications and organise two boot camp style trainings tailor-made for the winners of each round.

The IDR Special Edition was launched on 23 September 2015 and ran until 2 November 2015. The Special Edition aims to support coverage of selected United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in a regular rhythm over the course of one year. The call is aimed at publishers, major news outlets, and high impact online publishing houses from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is a non-profit international foundation with the remit to improve, strengthen, and underpin journalism and the news media. This mission has two main aspects: On the one hand, it is about safeguarding, enhancing, and future-proofing quality journalism in Europe and on the other hand, it is about supporting initiatives towards press freedom in emerging and developing countries. This often includes creating the framework conditions for independent and self-determined journalism in the first place. To these ends, the EJC provides thematic training, professional capacity development, and a wide range of support activities for journalists.


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