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Here’s what ProPublica learned about managing a collaboration across hundreds of news organizations
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Jan. 24, 2019, 11:33 a.m.

As one accelerator closes, another opens — or, well, announces the teams it’s selected.

The Engaged Journalism Accelerator, funded by the News Integrity Initiative and Civil, shared the eight newsrooms chosen for its second round of boosting journalism that involves audiences at a deeper level. Here’s how we described the accelerator at its own launch in April:

Ten to 15 European journalism organizations will receive grants from a €1.7m accelerator launched by the European Journalism Center with contributions from cryptocurrency-based journalism marketplace Civil and Jeff Jarvis’s News Integrity Initiative, the EJC announced Friday. The funding will go to “emerging media organizations with proven user loyalty.” In addition to money (from a €600,000 pool), participants will receive coaching and access to a peer mentorship network. The EJC will also run events and meet-ups across Europe, which will be open to any interested newsrooms.

The first cohort, comprised of Greece’s Solomon, Spain’s Maldita.es, the U.K.’s The Bureau Local, and Ukraine’s Tvoe Misto, kicked off in October. Here’s the doubled second group and their ideas for increasing engagement (many of which involve building out membership systems):

Médor, a quarterly Belgian magazine and cooperative

In 2019, Médor will implement a new media strategy, including developing a new web platform, in order to engage more with and widen its community. As part of this new strategy, they will use the Accelerator funds to organise a series of events called Médor On Tour, and a subsequent framework and methodology. During the tour, Médor will settle for one month in urban and rural areas outside of Brussels, and open their editorial board to the public in order to meet, discuss and create together an investigation about something happening in that region, which will then be published online.

Koncentrat, a one-year-old Danish media outlet by journalists and teachers geared toward young people

Koncentrat aims to build a platform for enthusiastic and dedicated young people to use journalism as a motor for civic engagement and community change. It will create a core community of young solution-oriented correspondents that want to use journalism to identify possible solutions to pressing problems. Koncentrat will also organize an intensive one-day course in engaged journalism in their newsroom in Copenhagen for the groups of correspondents, and will host frequent editorial sessions with online participation.

Krautreporter, a Berlin-based digital magazine that is ad-free and member-funded

Krautreporter is aiming to create a trust funnel for membership businesses, including a step-by-step membership journey and a playbook for newsrooms that is based on this funnel. They will do so by using qualitative and quantitative audience data to develop a hypothesis on how to build trust, cluster members (i.e. value or activity), set up a measurement framework and create engagement activities. Krautreporter will also develop KPIs and run A/B tests to uncover what makes its readers happy and how they can be moved up from paying readers to ‘super users’.

Mérce, a reader-financed left-leaning news portal in Hungary

Mérce aims to develop the Mérce Activation Platform (MAP) that will serve as a combined editorial process management and customer relationship management (CRM) system. It seeks to empower its readers, editorial team, and network of bloggers and contributors to foster a more engaging relationship with its community. The MAP system will allow readers to suggest topics to be covered by the editorial team, access volunteering opportunities based on their preferences, provide feedback on articles, provide user-generated content and other information to the editorial team, utilize their personal networks for fundraising.”

Decât o Revistă, a Romanian journalism nonprofit focused on narrative storytelling and solutions journalism

DoR will employ two developers and create a members’ area on its website which can host exclusive content as well as conversations with reporters around stories they’re covering. They will also implement a CRM that will help them have a better overview of their community and manage communications to their community as well as experiment with tools to help its journalists manage their participatory projects.

Civio, a news and transparency nonprofit in Spain which lobbies the government for free access to information

Civio aims to build a community hub to aid participation and incorporate the expertise of their readers, with the goal of enabling its community to collaborate on stories, and to increase membership.

Clydesider, a local community magazine in Scotland

Clydesider will bring local individuals and organisations together to share skills, resources and knowledge. The magazine will set up pop-up Community Newsroom Hubs in each geographical area of West Dunbartonshire, running a citizen media training programme for its volunteers. Working with a range of community organisations, businesses and civic/political representatives it will then develop a solution-focused approach to reporting on ‘Our Big Issue’.

On Our Radar, a London-based nonprofit communications agency for “unheard communities”

On Our Radar will create a toolkit and a training package that allow mainstream media outlets to experiment with and replicate its approaches and different engagement methodologies, such as SMS/ voice platforms, hosting community conversations, using 3D printed phones to capture stories, and producing participatory documentaries narrated by community members. On Our Radar hopes to create a network of fellows and advisors who will help to shape the content of the toolkit, and create a training package to support media outlets to adopt engaged journalism techniques.

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