SoJo Europe Application Details

Become a member of the first cross-European cohort of newsrooms practising solutions journalism and receive grants for cross-border, solutions-oriented, and investigative reporting across Europe.

Eligibility Criteria

  • This grant programme is open to all small legal entities (media outlets/newsrooms). This project will target news outlets from all Creative Europe participating countries: EU27, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Ukraine.
  • The legal entities should have a turnover of less than 1.5M EUR and shouldn’t be part of a group or consortium with a consolidated turnover that exceeds an amount of 3M EUR.
  • The media outlets must be legal entities officially incorporated at least one year before the application deadline of the grant call. 
  • Media outlets should already have made journalistic content available to a general public at least one year before the application deadline of the grant call (no Business2Business journalism).
  • The aim of this grant programme is to stimulate solutions journalism across Europe through the creation of a cross-European cohort of newsrooms who pledge to expand their production of solutions-oriented content. Grants will only be available to cohort members. For more information about cohort membership, see below. 
  • Grants will be mainly available in three major areas: to publish solutions-oriented stories related to climate change; to combine investigative journalism and solutions journalism, i.e. to investigate a problem and then an effective response to that problem; and to expand revenue generation based on increased production of solutions-participating media outlets must cooperate with at least one other cohort member
  • Training organisations cannot apply for this grant.
  • Only one project application is possible per applicant.
  • Only applications submitted via the Journalismfund Europe’s online application platform will be eligible.
  • The grantees and all other persons involved in the project have to endorse the principles of the Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists as well as the national codes of ethics that are in force.

Technical Assistance and Mentors (Media Experts)

  • Successful applicants for grant funds will be assigned mentors to provide feedback during story production (though, of course, we realise that some applicants will have more experience than others). Consortium partners led by Transitions will assign mentors from its pool of mentors (consisting of experienced investigative and solutions journalists from across Europe), in consultation with the media outlet.
  • Mentors are selected based on either the focus of the story or the need for competences in a specific skill. A mentor can have a significant positive influence on a team and its story, particularly for journalists with less experience in the field of solutions journalism and/or transnational, investigative stories. The total sessions available for mentorship depends on the case at hand and the needs of the journalists involved.
  • A mentor gives advice, shares knowledge and can act as a sounding board. S/he does not fully participate in the investigation or solutions story. The average amount of mentoring days per project is three, the maximum five.    
  • Mentors will also be available in the area of revenue generation, i.e. media outlets who wish to explore revenue models based on the production of increased solutions/constructive journalism. 
  • The mentors will be paid from the budgets of consortium members. The applicants do not need to include a mentor in their budget proposal.

Deadlines and Timing

  • For the selection to become a member of the cohort, there are two application rounds scheduled, one in 2024 and the other in 2025.
  • The first application deadline will be 04 April 2024 
  • After the application deadline, independent jury members will assess the applications for formal compliance with the eligible countries and completeness of answers. They will make their determinations on who will be part of the cohort based on the criteria set forth. 
  • Applicants are usually informed about the decision around 40 days after the application deadline.
  • Subscribe to Journalismfund Europe’s newsletter to stay tuned and receive the latest updates.

Assessment Criteria

The jury will assess the applications based on the following criteria:

  • Enthusiasm for a solutions-journalism approach
  • Experience in the area of solutions/constructive journalism 
  • Experience in investigative journalism
  • Experience in cross-border journalism
  • Quality of research methods and presentation/storytelling
  • Team structure and experience of the applicants
  • Work effort requirement
  • Pooling research capacity and knowledge
  • Ability to demonstrate adherence to core journalism principles: fact-based, accurate, independent, fair, impartial, accountable
  • Respect the right to reply for people being criticised
  • Have a publicly accessible code of ethics describing the principles above.
  • Provide information and encourage information exchange and debate on public interest issues.

Finally, the selection team will also take into consideration the variety within the global selection of granted projects. This means diversity in terms of:

  • Region (both in topics and team members - north, south, east, west dimensions of Europe, pan-European projects)
  • Team composition (gender, age, experience, skills, media background, origin)
  • Methods and approaches (data approach, solution journalism approach, etc.)
  • Diversity of outputs/publications (print, online, multimedia, video, TV, radio)

Jury

  • The applications are assessed by an independent jury of experts in solutions journalism. The jury members are collectively chosen by Journalismfund Europe and the consortium partners based upon a long list of names suggested by all parties involved.
  • The jury decides independently which media outlets will be part of the cohort, based on the grant rules and on the assessment criteria.
  • Both Journalismfund Europe, the consortium partners, and the jury members are bound to strict confidentiality – before, during and after evaluation of the applications.
  • The jury members remain anonymous until all the projects are finalised, to safeguard both the independence of the jury process and the confidentiality of the applicants and its investigations.
  • Jury members are bound to Journalismfund Europe's strict conflict of interest policy, which is designed to ensure the highest standards in terms of ethical conduct and to ensure the independence and objectivity of decision making.

Grant Conditions (For subsequent calls open to cohort members)

  • The grantees and all other persons/organisations involved in the project shall endorse the principles of the Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists as well as the national codes of ethics that are in force (i.e. Truth & Accuracy, Independence, Fairness and Impartiality, Humanity and Accountability).
  • Every grantee signs an Agreement with Journalismfund Europe that states the mutual arrangements and conditions.
  • Grants are paid in two instalments: the first (2/3) upon signature of the Agreement, the second (1/3) after publication of the project and submission and approval of the financial report and supporting documents (in this respect please read the Financial Report tab in the budget template carefully).
  • Grants are paid in euro. They are only paid out on the bank accounts of the grantees, not via other money transfer services. Any bank charges for international payments are carried by Journalismfund Europe, except for exchange rates.
  • Any journalistic product that is the result of the supported project explicitly has to mention the support from Journalismfund Europe.
  • Applicants need to consent with Journalismfund Europe’s general grant rules.

Becoming Part of the ‘Cohort’

Being a part of the cohort, an exclusive group of European media outlets, will be a great opportunity to help shape the growth of solutions journalism across the continent and benefit from the latest methods for using this approach to increase reader trust and revenue. 

If you are selected in the public call, you will automatically be part of the cohort of media outlets and have the opportunity to receive grants for investigative projects. You will:

  • Join monthly online meetings, including workshops on solutions-focused climate reporting, investigative + solutions journalism, and other relevant topics. You will also benefit from hearing about the experiences of other cohort members. 
  • Have the opportunity to apply for up to 40,000 euros per newsroom to produce cross-border stories related to climate change, investigative topics, and more. The first application deadline for cross-border projects for cohort members only is expected in May 2024.
  • Collaborate with newsrooms across Europe on crucial issues facing the continent. 
  • Receive obligatory online mentoring for newsroom journalists and editors during the production of funded stories. 
  • Participate in a Train-the-Trainers (ToT) programme on solutions journalism to ensure knowledge-sharing within media outlets and boost sustainability (each newsroom must nominate a staff member to participate).
  • Be part of the development of resources on reporting climate change with a solutions perspective.

More Questions?

Consult our FAQ or contact us.

SoJo Europe