BRUSSELS - Journalismfund.eu is starting a pilot project in which Belgian and Dutch journalists can jointly apply for a grant for local investigative journalism. Journalismfund.eu has the ambition to further roll out this project on a European scale, and is looking for donors to do so.
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.
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.
There is only one application round in 2020.
Deadline for applications is 12 October 2020, 4 pm Brussels time.
The total amount to distribute is 56,000 euros. The money comes from an international foundation that was audited and positively evaluated by Journalismfund.eu in accordance with our Ethical Funding Policy.
All information can be found on our application website.
This Cross-Border Local 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. As a foundation you step into a local story, but with European impact. The idea is that in every country where a foundation donates to this program, 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 vzw, via ides.debruyne [at] journalismfund.eu (ides.debruyne(at)journalismfund.eu).