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The Investigative Journalism for Europe fund is back.
The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund will disburse €1.1 million in grants to cross-border projects in EU member states in 2021 and launch an ambitious new support scheme for freelancers.
The latest edition of the programme will be implemented by the same consortium as IJ4EU 2020. The partnership is led by International Press Institute (IPI), along with the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).
Back for a third year, IJ4EU has secured core financing from the European Commission to continue its work strengthening the watchdog role of investigative reporting on transnational subjects in the public interest. IJ4EU has established itself as a trusted intermediary for channelling public and philanthropic money into quality investigative journalism without compromising editorial independence.
“We’re delighted that IJ4EU is back with a full war chest of funds to help journalists collaborate across borders and launch complex investigations,” Timothy Large, IJ4EU programme coordinator for IPI, said.
“The upheaval of the past year has made watchdog journalism more critical than ever. It’s also amplified pressures on journalists, especially when it comes to doing the kind of resource-intensive investigations needed to do justice to transnational subjects.”
In 2021, the IJ4EU fund will make €1.1 million available through two grant schemes for journalistic teams based in at least two EU member states (or at least one EU country and Britain).
The backbone of the programme is the Investigation Support Scheme, which offers grants of between €5,000 and €50,000 for new cross-border investigative projects. Run by IPI, the Investigation Support Scheme aims to disburse €835,000 in 2021. IJ4EU expects to announce the first call for applications in June, with a second call scheduled for the autumn.
In 2021, a new Freelancer Support Scheme will provide teams of journalists working entirely outside of newsroom structures with grants of up to €20,000 plus an extra cushion of tailored assistance including training, mentoring and networking opportunities.
Managed by the EJC, the Freelancer Support Scheme will have a pot of €265,000 for grants. There will be a single call for applications in 2021, expected in June.
“Freelance journalists are often a crucial, but overlooked, part of the investigative journalism ecosystem,” said Adam Thomas, director of the European Journalism Centre. “This programme will directly fund vital reporting produced by freelancers. Moreover, we will support innovation, new skills and professional development by connecting them to resources, training and a global community of journalists.”
The latest edition of IJ4EU will also feature events familiar from the last round of the programme, including an award celebrating excellence in cross-border investigative journalism in Europe and a conference designed to foster collaboration and innovation.
Managed by ECPMF, both the IJ4EU Impact Award and the #UNCOVERED conference will take place in 2022.
Lutz Kinkel, managing director of the ECPMF, said: “Through the IJ4EU Impact Award, ECPMF established the first prize for European cross-border investigative journalism. It honours outstanding investigations of reporters in the field. We are proud to use the prize to amplify the prize-winners topics and to strengthen a common European public sphere.”
“The #UNCOVERED conference is the perfect frame for the award ceremony, showcasing the IJ4EU grantees and reflecting on the conditions of investigative journalism in Europe. This is where journalism meets media, and where media meets politics.”
Along with funding and networking opportunities, all IJ4EU grantees will benefit from practical, editorial and legal assistance, allowing them to work independently in a supportive environment.
In 2020, IJ4EU received core funding from the European Commission with co-financing from Open Society Foundations, Fritt Ord, Luminate and the City of Leipzig.
In 2021, the programme has again received funding from the European Commission as a Preparatory Action. Other donors will be announced as further partnerships are confirmed.
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The team managing the IJ4EU fund at the EJC are Kathryn Geels, programme director, Zlatina Siderova, project manager, Meenal Thakur, project manager, and Madalina Ciobanu, project manager.