Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund

Local independent journalism, the most important source of truth in times of war, is hanging by a thread in Ukraine, but also in Russia and Belarus. To provide immediate support to local journalists working under the most extreme pressure, Transitions and a group of over 30 media support organizations and media outlets launched a Kickstarter campaign to create the Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund. The fund paid for stories related to the war produced by Ukrainian journalists, as well as several Belarusian and Russian reporters. With all the money now dispersed, here are final numbers: 

  • 306 backers pledged $35,769 to help us hit our goal. Separate donations made to the campaign – not on the Kickstarter page – increased the amount to almost $45,000.
  • Our main partner was SEENPM, a network of 19 media centers across Southeastern Europe.
  • Special thanks for larger donations from the Erste Foundation, the Solutions Journalism Network, and the Media Diversity Institute.
  • We also owe our gratitude to Kickstarter, which highlighted the fund as their “featured” campaign on their homepage in the final days of the drive and even put us in their most popular newsletter, which reaches several million people. 
  • The application site went live on World Press Freedom Day. Journalists used a streamlined form to submit their applications, which expert committees reviewed on an ongoing basis.

By the numbers: 

  • Total number of applications: 81
  • Number of journalists supported: 55  
  • Breakdown of applications by country: Ukraine/Belarus/Russia: 67/11/3
  • Breakdown of supported applications by country: 45/7/3
  • The average cost of a project: 737.45 euros
  • The minimal cost of a project: 65 euros
  • The maximal cost of a project: 5,000 euros

Translations of some of the stories are available here

Donors: Erste Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Media Diversity Institute

Journalists run for cover after heavy shelling on the only escape route used by locals, while Russian troops advance towards the capital, in Irpin, near Kyiv, Ukraine March 6, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria – RC2WWS9S1GSL