BRUSSELS - The Local Media for Democracy project (LM4D) is supporting 25 small media outlets and freelance journalist groups from around Europe. They will receive a total of  €667,854 funding as well as mentorship to strengthen their reach and funding models so that they can better serve their local communities.

The 25 media outlets and journalist groups are from: Bulgaria (1), Czechia (3), France (2), Greece (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (2), Poland (6), Portugal (3), Romania (3), Slovakia (1), Slovenia (2) and Spain (1). 

The jury, whose identities are anonymous, selected initiatives that operate in the so-called news desert areas and target local communities with the aim to revive local media. Amongst other criteria, the jury was informed by the first-of-its-kind comparative study on the state of news deserts in the EU by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF). The final study will be published early next year. 

You can read more about each project by clicking on the links:

Teams of freelancers

  • Czaban Robi Raban (Piotr Czaban & Małgorzata Rycharska) – Poland
  • Ferrol360 (Alicia Seoane & Marta Corral) - Spain
  • Gyvenu (Brigita Sabaliauskaitė, Jurgita Naglienė & Daiva Bartkienė) – Lithuania
  • Okraj (Klára Filipová, Simona Janíková & Jan Žabka) – Czechia

One juror commented that they received many applications of “grassroots projects that build on the people in the locality and their knowledge of it.” The programme also includes a voluntary mentoring programme to provide local media technical assistance on topics such as community engagement, data analytics, implementing gender policies, and more.

“[These] projects … will contribute to the development of media and democracy. This is a difficult time of change for regional media, as the way of reaching audiences, as well as the principles of content creation and distribution, are changing significantly.” – juror.

For this second and final round of applications, we received 127 applications from 22 EU countries. In total, 104 media outlets and 41 journalist teams applied coming from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece , Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. 

So far, the LM4D project has supported a total of 42 media outlets and journalist groups with over one million euros. The project has also provided mentorship support from media experts  to the grantees. It aims to help local media to better serve the public interest in localities in the EU where access to information has significantly decreased.

Read about the first round of grantees here.

The Local Media for Democracy project is an 18-month project co-funded by the European Commission, Porticus and the King Baudouin Foundation and launched by a consortium of partners: the Journalismfund Europe, the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), International Media Support (IMS), and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

In addition to the grant programme, these organisations are undertaking a multifaceted programme to help struggling local, regional and community media in the news desert areas in Europe, by providing financial support and organisational capacity building and conducting research to map the situation on the ground.

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