Democracy and qualitative (local) media are under pressure these days. On the one hand more and more global problems are pushed towards local governments and cities (e.g. migration, climate, employment, education, housing, mobility,...) and its citizens (e.g. socialisation in healthcare, emphasised individual environmental responsibilities, etc.). On the other hand reliable local information - necessary for making qualitative and informed decisions - is not available because in many cities in Europe (including Belgium and The Netherlands) there is a decrease of investigative journalism on the local level. As a result, democratic participation is undermined.
The aim of this project
With this pilot project, Journalismfund.eu aims at addressing the shortage of local independent journalism by awarding grants to local investigative journalistic projects in Belgium and the Netherlands and by stimulating the cross-border collaboration. In this way, cities in Belgium and the Netherlands could mutually strengthen each other (e.g. by forming each other’s benchmark) and as such increase the impact of the supported publications.
This pilot aims at strengthening local cross-border, independent and investigative journalism in order to increase the availability of qualitative local news, and at making citizens more aware of local - and often interrelated and global - issues and possible solutions. As such it aims to contribute to citizens’ critical thinking, well-informed debates/decisions and to foster civic engagement.
The execution, monitoring and evaluation of this pilot will enable to determine the pilot project's effectiveness and whether further steps need to be taken towards the ultimate objectives:
- the setup of a Local Cross-Border Investigative Journalism grant programme across Europe, and
- establishing a European network of local (investigative) journalists.
This Local Cross-Border Investigative Journalism Project is a philanthropically supported initiative of Journalismfund.eu. Many philanthropic organisations are locally focused. That is why it is often difficult for them to get involved in European projects. But this new bottom-up initiative makes this more attractive. In this project foundations can step into a local story, but with European impact. The idea is that in every country where a foundation donates to this programme, local journalists can take the initiative to set up a local cross-border investigation.
Philanthropic organisations interested in joining this innovative project can contact Ides Debruyne, managing director of Journalismfund.eu, via ides.debruyne(at)journalismfund.eu.
Teams of investigative journalists (starters and seniors) from at least The Netherlands AND Belgium who have good ideas for a local cross-border investigation in that region. When relevant for the story, team members from elsewhere can be accepted, too.
In 2021, there is € 52,000 to distribute in one application round.
The money comes from the Flemish Government.
The next application deadline is 3 February 2022 at 12 pm CET (noon Brussels time).