Enhancing Audience-Supported Collaborations for Empowered Media and Societies

Donor name: European Commission (EC)

Overall objective: The general objectives of this project are 1) to help raise awareness among the general public across the European Union of the importance of media freedom and ethical journalism for democracy, 2) to encourage independent collaborative journalism and support to its practitioners in the European Union, and 3) to facilitate building a European community of media professionals and organisations that are active in the field.

Partners: Stichting Free Press Unlimited (FPU) – Project Coordinator

Specific objectives:

  1. To raise the profile of participating journalists through campaigns run through the platform and social media and through their participation at European media freedom conferences, leading to greater recognition of the importance of their work.
  2. To expand and enhance existing platforms (Press Start and Prague Media School) in order to create a significant, sustainable source of income for journalists working in European countries with restricted or unfree media, especially those engaged in cross-border collaborative journalism, including investigative stories.
  3. To further cross-border collaboration between verified journalists and independent media outlets through the platform. The Press Start platform and Prague Media Schools will not only serve as a place where campaigns for stories of cross-border importance are taught and showcased, but also media that connects local media outlets looking to collaborate on a particular story with journalists who are experts in the given subject that they would otherwise have difficulty finding.


  • Roll out extensive recruitment campaigns promoting the Press Start (http://pressstart.org) crowdfunding site and a call for new applicants for Press Start and the participation in Prague Media Schools (http://pragueschool.media/eng). 
  • Conduct collaborative and innovative journalism courses at the Prague Media School For journalists and other media professionals from all 8 target countries (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia, and Greece). 
  • Select 12 diverse, collaborative stories to be funded, using the review process further described below. Particular attention will be given to new/emerging (digital) media outlets, local journalism and journalists working in countries where collaborative or innovative journalism is less developed. 
  • Include matching funding. A very effective incentive for potential donors, matching funds mean that every euro pledged on Press Start would be matched by a euro from a budget line reserved only for this purpose as part of this project. In this way, chances to succeed for every campaign are significantly higher as only 50% of each campaign goal needs to be funded by the crowd. 
  • Provide mentoring support to collaborative stories that will receive support through Press Start, namely in: collaborative production, planning and realization of dissemination. This will be done together by Transitions, Prague Media School and a range of our European partners, such as Center for Independent Journalism in Budapest which also represents the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) with centers in Croatia, Romania and Slovenia among target countries of this Action.
  • Publish completed stories on the Press Start blog and Prague Media School community. 
  • Enhancement of the Press Start journalists’ profiles. With the help of EU funding we will make certain categories searchable by adding new tools such as tagging to allow search according to region, journalistic “beat,” language knowledge, etc. This will encourage cross-border collaboration as journalists seeking a collaborator in another country will be able to search under countries or categories for relevant Press Start “alumni” who have already been screened through a very rigorous process. 
  • Fund journalists’ participation at conferences. For those journalists whose collaborative stories will be successfully funded, we want to create further networking opportunities by bringing at least 9 journalists in total to participate at European media freedom conferences, such as the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Prague Media Conference and at least one other – either Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum or World Press Freedom Day 2020.