The EU has been investing billions of euros into media-related projects through several funds and programs, with the goal of improving the quality of journalism and the resilience of the media sector. But what is the impact of these funds on the quality of journalism we get today? How many of its research projects have led to groundbreaking findings that changed the media ecosystem in Europe? What kind of projects, topics and organizations has the EU funded? In an effort to understand the impact of EU funding on the media and journalism across Europe, we have launched in 2023 a project that aims to build a data-driven map of media-related projects that are funded by the EU to serve as a basis for analysis of various aspects of the EU funding in the media.
Step 1: Collect data allowing for an overview of existing EU funds going into media and journalism, specifically and in a broader sense (how many are there? are there distinct types of funds? are they partially or fully funded? how do they distribute their funds? who is/how are they deciding and what are the criteria? where does the EU make available the data about who and what they fund and the budgets attached)
Step 2: Systematize search (guidelines, indicators, categories, order)
Develop indicators to categorize the funds (who oversees them? what are/is the sources/budgets/legal basis for the funds? at what level do they operate? e.g., continental vs regional, which sector or types of organizations/projects are they focused on? what about funds that are primarily for other fields but also fund media projects?)
Develop categories for the types of organizations/projects/ operations that are being funded (e.g., physical/digital media, languages, local or regional/country-specific/focused on European regions /continental, type of journalism e.g., news, investigative, sector/niche focused)
Collect data about the organizations (e.g., how much are they receiving, where they are from, what type of media organization they are, other sources of funding, what is their mission etc.).
Step 3: Build database
Design and set up database (in the order previously established), sort organizations/projects/operations into categories and put relevant data into database
Step 4: Analysis
We will issue an overview analysis in the first phase where we will summarize the key findings (e.g., total funds distributed, who is being funded, development over time). We will open the database to researchers and research institutions interested in using it to write their own studies.
Marius Dragomir is the Founding Director of the Media and Journalism Research Center, which continues the work of the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS), which he led between 2016 and 2022. Dragomir previously worked for the Open Society Foundations (OSF) for over a decade where he managed the research and policy portfolio of the Program on Independent Journalism (PIJ), formerly the Network Media Program (NMP), in London. He has also been one of the main editors for PIJ’s flagship research and advocacy project, Mapping Digital Media, which covered 56 countries worldwide, and he was the main writer and editor of OSF’s Television Across Europe, a comparative study of broadcast policies in 20 European countries.
Nikolas Schäfer has joined the Media and Journalism Research Center as an intern researcher for the summer of 2023. His work at the Center revolves around EU funding for media and journalism projects. Fluent in German, English, Spanish, and French, he is a Master’s student in the Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy in the Global Public Policy track. After completing the first year of his degree at Central European University in Vienna, he will move to Barcelona to continue his studies at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionales in the fall of 2023. He has a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Administration and International Relations from Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany, with his semester abroad taking place at American University of Beirut in Lebanon. In the past he has worked for several NGOs, including the European Food Banks Association in Brussels, in union consulting and at the intersection of journalism and research.