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Innovation needs a network to thrive


Innovation needs a network to thrive

Picture of Mattia Peretti
Mattia Peretti — News Impact Lead
March 26, 2018

The European Journalism Centre and the Google News Initiative announce the News Impact Network along with eight new editions of the News Impact Summits and Academies.

Moving one step further.

For the second consecutive year, this is the challenge that News Impact has taken upon itself. At the end of 2016, after 18 editions of the News Impact Summits — media innovation events that focus on how new technology, tools and methods are changing the way journalists work in the newsroom — we asked ourselves a tough question. How can we keep supporting, inspiring and connecting all the European news innovators we have met on our journey? This was the question that gave birth to the News Impact Academy.

The Academy is a series of workshops where digital innovators come together to explore how design methodologies can unleash their creativity and to learn new ways to face some of the most pressing challenges in the journalism industry. We learned a lot during the first five editions and at the end of 2017, the question was again the same. One hundred of the most creative minds in the industry had joined the Academy, explored new methods and shared their challenges with unprecedented openness. How could we support them even further?

Empathy, ideation, testing

The feedback collected from participants has guided the development of News Impact since the pilot Summit in Vienna back in 2014. A new programme could not have blossomed in any other way.

We grabbed our post-its and brainstormed until we came up with a rough concept, ready to be tested. Our idea had a very clear label and that label was ‘mentorship’. It was centred around the belief that only structured and lasting connections among innovators at different steps of their careers could unlock the potential of the many programmes built around knowledge sharing and leadership support, including our Academy.

As a next step we picked up the phone — well, Skype and Hangouts, it’s 2018 after all — and shared that initial idea with some of the most talented professionals News Impact has allowed us to meet to gather their feedback. What did we discover?

We were right. And yet we were wrong.

Looking for the right direction

Call after call, a clear trend emerged. Structured connections and a platform to share ideas as much as challenges were indeed the sought-after elements by our poll of interviewees. But we were looking in the wrong direction. Rather than a vertical mentor/mentee relationship, a horizontal peer-to-peer support network was the missing link.

The Academy had tried to provide exactly this in 2017 but there was a limit. The one-day format would not allow enough time to develop long-lasting connections among participants. A new programme should have filled this gap by extending these connections on a much longer time frame.

That’s why we have created the News Impact Network.

Edit: Meet the first-ever News Impact Network cohort

A support scheme for future media leaders and catalyst for innovative ideas

The Network will be joined by sixteen selected members from various countries and backgrounds. They will be organised in teams, around four areas of study:

  • Leadership, Engagement and Newsroom Transformation
  • Community Strategies & Revenue Models
  • Organisational Culture, Workflows and Processes
  • Social Impact via Community Engagement

All teams will be part of a year-long programme with the goal of solving common challenges and developing individual projects. The members will support each other in advancing their professional careers and produce reflections and new findings to be shared with the wider News Impact community.

By mixing online check-ins and in-person meetings throughout the year, the News Impact Network will provide meaningful connections, leadership skills, inspiring ideas from outside the journalism industry and other tools to navigate the changing media landscape.

The programme will kick-off in Perugia, Italy, during the International Journalism Festival, where all selected members will convene for a full day dedicated to build the team spirit and define challenges and milestones, with the facilitation of Tran Ha, expert in design and media experiments and advisor to the Network.

From series to ecosystem

Participants of the 2017 News Impact Summit in Budapest
Participants of the 2017 News Impact Summit in Budapest

A new project does not mean leaving aside the old ones. Quite the opposite.

Building on the experience and feedback received in the past three years, we are revamping the format of our Summits and Academies, to keep inspiring, empowering and connecting all creative types who are innovating the news industry ​from inside ​and ​outside ​newsrooms. Together we will push the development of new creative solutions that could ensure a sustainable future for journalism.

When, where and how you can join News Impact?

In 2018 we are organising 3 Summits and 5 Academies with the following schedule:

  • Academy, in Amsterdam, on 17–18 May
  • Summit, in Paris, on 25 June
  • Academy, in Paris, on 27–28 June
  • Academy, in Barcelona, on 25–26 September
  • Summit, in Cardiff, on 15 October
  • Academy, in London, on 17–18 October
  • Academy, in Warsaw, on 5–6 November
  • Summit, in Berlin, on 3 December

The Summits are one-day events and free-to-join, as they will always be, and you just need to register on our website to attend. The Academy instead is a two-day workshop that can be joined via a simple application process with twenty participants selected for each edition.

Taking inspiration from our own Academy, the first News Impact Summit in Paris will focus on the intersection between journalism and design. Some of the questions we will explore include:

  • How can journalists learn from the design industry in terms of smart approaches to innovation and problem-solving?
  • What are the most interesting case-studies of media innovation that have blossomed thanks to the application of a user-centred approach?
  • How can you apply design methodologies in the newsroom to improve workflows and processes and develop an organisational culture centred around innovation?

The topics of the Summits taking place in Cardiff and Berlin in autumn will be announced later this year.

As for the News Impact Academy, each edition this year will also explore a specific topic. To find out more about project and topics make sure to check

For more information


European Journalism Centre

The European Journalism Centre is an international non-profit that connects journalists with new ideas. Through grants, events, training and media development we have been building a sustainable, ethical and innovative future for journalism since 1992.

Google News Initiative

We collaborate with the news industry to build a stronger future for journalism through products, partnerships and programs. The future of journalism depends on all of us working together.

More at and discover our training centre at

Related reading:

  • Design in journalism: beyond the buzzwords
  • Why bridge roles are essential to a newsroom’s evolution
  • This is what the European Journalism Centre will focus on in 2018


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