The NewsSpectrum Professional Placement Fellowship supports short-term work/experience placements or study visits by minority-language media professionals at majority-language media. 

The Fellowships are designed to be flexible in nature and can support skills development of minority-language media and knowledge exchange on various aspects of the newsroom, including reporting skills as well as expertise in digital transition, audience engagement, community building and monetisation. (Journalists planning a specific reporting project should apply under the Collaborative Reporting Fellowship.)

Up to 20 fellowships will be funded in 2021, providing a total of €240,000 to minority- and majority-language journalists and media outlets in the EU.

How does it work?

The Professional Placement Fellowship offers applicants, in agreement with a host majority-language media organisation, the opportunity to design and put forward a flexible exchange opportunity that supports their needs.

The Fellowship supports the following activities:

  • Short-term work/experience placements (at least two weeks) of minority-language media professionals at majority-language newsrooms. 
  • Study visits of minority-language media professionals to majority-language newsrooms (flexible length). 
  • Applicants may also suggest other/custom models of exchange or collaboration between minority- and majority-language media. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis. (Note: Specific reporting projects should be funded under the Collaborative Reporting Fellowship.)

The fellowship strongly encourages in-person work placements and study visits. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, online placements and study visits will be considered. Applicants will need to describe how the activities can still be carried out effectively online.  

The fellowship does not require fellows to produce a specific outcome. Activities conducted as part of the work placements are carried out per agreement between the fellow and the host organisation.

Applicants are encouraged to secure the agreement of a majority-language media organisation prior to submitting their application. However, while doing so will strengthen your application and increase your chances of being selected, it is not a requirement. The NewsSpectrum team (IPI and MIDAS) will seek to find a placement for promising applicants from minority-language media who were not able to do so. 

Who can apply?

Applications for the Professional Placement Fellowship must be sent by a media professional working for a minority-language media organisation in the EU or the UK. The fellowship is open to all members of the media organisation, including journalists, editors, photojournalists, newsroom managers, social media managers, community managers or staff focused on digital innovation. Freelancer journalists who are regular contributors to a minority-language media organisation are also eligible.

The host majority-language media organisation must also be based in the EU or the UK. Cross-border work placements are encouraged.

The Fellowship is open to journalists and media organisations working on all platforms, including print, broadcast, online media and multi-platform story-telling.

Which minority media outlets are eligible?

Minority-language journalists are eligible for the fellowship if their media outlet is based in the EU and produces its content in a regional or minority language (including migrant languages and Roma languages) this means any language that is not a national official language of the country where the media outlet is based. (For more details, see “How do you define minority-language media” on our FAQ page.)

In addition, priority will be given to media that meet the following criteria:

  • publish original content on a regularly scheduled basis (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly). Original means self-produced information that is not republished content or a simple aggregation of news;
  • have a track record of quality content;
  • have at least 2 employed journalists or regular contributors; and
  • an audience based primarily in the EU or the UK.

Funding details

Applicants at minority-language media may request up to €6,000. Travel costs (train/airfare) to in-person placements will be covered separately. In addition, host majority-language media organisations are also eligible to request up to €6,000 to cover their costs of participating in the fellowship. 

Applicants must submit a budget as part of their application, using the budget template provided. Applicants must also state if they have additional funding from other sources for their project.

For minority-language journalists, the fellowship will cover:

  • Salary costs during the fellowship. Salary costs will be reimbursed directly to the journalist’s employer. Freelance journalists will receive a stipend directly.
  • A reasonable stipend to cover local costs as part of the in-person portion of the fellowship (accommodation, local transport, subsistence).
  • Travel costs (e.g., train/airfare) to and from the location of the majority-language media organisation (covered separately and above the €6,000 budget).

For majority-language media organisations, the fellowship will cover:

  • Salary costs for staff members working with the minority-language media fellow.
  • Other relevant costs, such as admin, travel or research costs.

The budget template provides further details about which costs can be included; please read the instructions on the budget template carefully.

Selected projects will sign a grant agreement to receive the funds. In most cases, half of the fellowship amount will be disbursed at the start of the fellowship. The second half will be disbursed after completion of the fellowship and delivery of a brief report to IPI/MIDAS.

Grantees will be asked to keep detailed documentation (e.g., receipts) of their spending or accounting information for three years and will be required to provide them upon request.

Length of fellowship and expected outcomes

The length of the fellowship will vary and depends upon the type of the placement (e.g., work placement or study visit) and the agreement with the host majority-language media organisation. The length will be spelled out in the fellowship agreement. However, the following conditions should be kept in mind:

  • All fellowships must end no later than December 31, 2021.
  • Work/experience placements should last a minimum of two weeks.
  • The maximum fellowship funding amount of €12,000 (up to €6,000 for the minority-language media professional and up to €6,000 for the host majority-language media organisation) should be kept in mind.

Unlike the Collaborative Reporting Fellowship, grantees under the Professional Placement Fellowship are not required to produce a specific reporting project or other outcome. Activities conducted as part of the work placements are carried out per agreement between the fellow and the host organisation. However, fellows will be asked to provide a report on their activities and how they met the aims of the fellowship. 

Application requirements

The NewsSpectrum application process aims to be simple and efficient. All applications must be submitted in English via the online Good Grants platform. Good Grants is a free-to-use secure platform for submission and storage. It is ISO/IEC 27001 certified and GDPR compliant, and has multi-factor authentication, encrypted data, multi-tier backups and a secure multi-server architecture in VPC.

In order to apply, applicants should first create an account via the dedicated NewsSpectrum Good Grants application portal. Applicants are encouraged to do so as soon as possible to familiarise themselves with the application form questions and instructions.

The application consists of:

  1. Completed application form (background information about the applicant and host organisation, description of planned activities, timeframe, motivation, expected benefit, sustainability, risk assessment)

and the following supporting documents:

  1. Fellowship budget of up to €12,000, with a maximum of €6,000 per fellowship partner (applicants must use this budget template). If you have already secured the agreement of a host majority-language media organisation,the full budget including costs for the host organisation, should be provided. If you have not yet secured the agreement of a host organisation, include your costs only. 
  2. Signed letter from the host media organisation supporting your application. If you have not yet found a placement, you do not need to provide this.
  3. Minority-language journalists who are employed by a media organisation need to submit a letter of agreement from their editor or manager. (Freelancers do not need to provide this.)
  4. CV of the minority language journalist.
  5. CVs of key staff at the host majority-language media organisation who will be involved in the fellowship.

Selection process and timeline

The second call for applications for the Professional Placement Fellowship will be open from 7 July to 9 August 2021 (23:59 CEST). A further application call is foreseen in September 2021. Fellowship applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis

Applications will first be assessed to ensure that they fulfil the basic application requirements. Applicants may be asked to provide further information or provide any missing documents.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to secure the agreement of a host majority-language media organisation before applying. This will increase your chance of being selected for the fellowship. However, IPI and MIDAS will work to secure a placement for promising applicants who were not able to do so.

The successful projects will be chosen by a selection committee consisting of one representative each of IPI and MIDAS and three outside experts from the fields of journalism and academia. The outside experts will be chosen from among individuals with a thorough understanding of minority-language media communities in Europe as well as the wider knowledge of media pluralism and independent journalism. High value will be placed on diversity to ensure a well-rounded and informed selection of fellowship projects. The names of the selection committee members will be made public after all application rounds have been completed.

The selection committee’s decision will take account of, but not necessarily confine itself to, the following criteria:

  • Fulfilment of basic fellowship criteria 
  • Potential for the fellowship to strengthen skills and development of the minority-language journalist applicant and the journalist’s news organisation
  • Potential for the fellowship to establish sustainable links between minority- and majority-language media
  • Clear and defined fellowship plan
  • Feasibility of the fellowship within the proposed timeline and budget
  • Adequate risk assessment
  • Track record of the journalists and media outlets involved, in particular as relates to independence, impartiality and journalism ethics

The selection committee will also consider the overall package of fellowships with a view toward ensuring:

  • Geographical balance
  • Thematic balance
  • Balance among media types (print, online, radio, television, etc.)
  • Inclusion of representatives of different minority groups throughout Europe. Special attention will be given to the inclusion of migrant-language media and Romani-language media.

Examples

Need some inspiration? Here are some examples of what could fit under the Professional Placement Fellowships:

  • A journalist at a Polish-language media outlet in Lithuania spends three weeks as a guest fellow at a Polish-language media outlet in Poland (cross-border).
  • A Hungarian-language journalist in Slovakia spends a month as a guest fellow at a Slovak-language media outlet in Slovakia (same country).
  • A Turkish-language journalist in Germany learns about business models and community management at a German-language media outlet in Germany (same country).

Questions and contact

Our FAQ section provides answers to many specific questions about the grant. For further questions, applicants should contact the International Press Institute at mmiletic@ipi.media.


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