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A new programme to empower and connect freelance journalists in Europe


A new programme to empower and connect freelance journalists in Europe

Picture of Ana Maria Salinas
Ana Maria Salinas — Project Manager
June 09, 2020

The Freelance Journalism Assembly offers free online training and mentorship, unconferences, and an in-person event in 2021.

The number of freelance journalists across Europe has been growing over the past years. Although in most countries statistics remain limited, in the UK alone, the number of self-employed journalists rose from 18,000 in 2015 to 34,000 in 2016. In Germany, it is estimated that there was a threefold increase in the number of freelancers from 2003 to 2017.

More and more professionals are going freelance — partly of their own choice, partly due to the newsrooms’ reorganisation processes. According to the findings of the European Journalism Centre (EJC), this transition has created increasing professional and personal challenges for freelancers, mostly related to economic sustainability, the need to work in an international environment, and the ability to make new connections.

The COVID-19 outbreak has only heightened these challenges, bringing with it a sudden loss of income, new obstacles to travel and reporting and an unknown professional and personal environment. In this time of uncertainty, freelance journalists need a support network more than ever.

For this reason, the EJC, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is proud to announce the Freelance Journalism Assembly, a programme designed to empower and connect the freelance community in Europe. The Assembly offers journalists the opportunity to acquire skills and build connections through online training and mentorship activities, virtual unconferences, and a major event in 2021. The Assembly is part of the EJC long-term strategy to enable a strong structure around freelance journalism.

Collaboration is the overarching topic of the Assembly, and in that spirit, the EJC is joining forces with other organisations that support freelancers across Europe. Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV), Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (DJU), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Freischreiber, Hostwriter,, Neue Deutsche Medienmacher, N-OST, One World Media, Rory Peck Trust, Refugee Journalism Project, Society of Freelance Journalists, and are the first partners that have joined this exciting new movement around freelance journalism.

What you will find in the Freelance Journalism Assembly

The Assembly seeks to address and provide answers to the main questions facing freelance journalists:

  • How can I increase my revenue and manage my finances efficiently?
  • What are the best strategies to create a personal brand and for developing audience engagement strategies?
  • How to increase my success when pitching a story and negotiate fees in my favour?
  • How to cope with stress and pressure?

The programme includes four tracks, each one covering one essential topic to freelance journalists.

The programme incorporates the following elements to provide the freelance journalism community with skills, tools and networking opportunities:

  1. Online training sessions: Our online training sessions are designed to build skills and provide the members of the Assembly with practical tools. Experts in the different tracks will facilitate the sessions.
  2. One-on-one mentorship: After following the online training (in real-time or the recorded sessions), the participants will have the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one mentorship activities and receive personal advice from experts on specific topics.

3. Online unconferences: Empowering the community is a fundamental part of the Assembly. For this reason, we will develop participant-driven meetings where freelancers can connect and exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas.

4. In-person event 2021: The programme includes an in-person Assembly to be held in 2021 that will gather together the freelance journalism community in Europe.

After you sign-up for the Assembly, you can enrol for free in the different activities depending on your interests and needs. The calls to participate in these sessions and events will open progressively starting in June 2020.

How to be part of the Assembly

The Assembly is designed for the freelance journalists based in any of the member states of the Council of Europe. Once you sign up, you can enrol for free into the different tracks, activities and resources. Are you ready to be part of the Assembly? Join now on the Freelance Journalism Assembly website.

The future is collaborative

We believe that creating new connections to join forces and work together is the first step to address the challenges of the community. For this reason, the Assembly is partnering with the Society of Freelance Journalists. This communication and collaboration hub led and managed by freelance journalists will be the meeting place where the members of the Assembly can exchange knowledge and experiences, create new connections and find opportunities.

Connecting freelancers and publishers is also a priority to build a closer relationship that can help address challenges in the media industry. The Assembly is also partnering with Hostwriter and its initiative COVID-19 Collaboration Wire. This project seeks to connect editors with a reliable network of journalists all over the world ready to fact-check, research and report from their regions.


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