What is the Transition Accelerator?
Run by IPI, the Transition Accelerator supports digital transition in established digital and legacy outlets by providing financial support (grant) and coaching. It will bring newsrooms along a media-first design and innovation journey, focusing on supporting newsrooms’ editorial, technology and business strategies. The project team will work closely with each newsroom to coach and provide the necessary resources to implement its transformational business or product strategy over a six-month period. The Transition Accelerator grant will provide funding and coaching for two types of projects:
- The development of a technological or audience-centric product or idea focusing on news gathering, crowd-sourcing revenues, and the creating or distribution of an outlet’s reporting with the goal of revenue diversification and growing audience reach.
- Business plan for digital transformation in an existing newsroom or other organizational plans leveraging innovation for sustainability and increased competitiveness that ultimately grow the quality of Europe’s news ecosystem.
Which activities does the Transition Accelerator include?
The Transition Accelerator consists of five main activities:
- An introductory meeting: Here, all selected participants of the accelerator will exchange information in a video conference about their projects, set and share audience, newsroom and business goals, and meet the accelerator trainers, coaches and other experts.
- Two day in-person bootcamp: A meeting that gathers all accelerator participants. Participants will undergo a needs assessment and hone their project proposals through strategy-sprints and feedback sessions from trainers. Towards the end of the bootcamp, each team will present their work plan and receive feedback from the rest of the cohort and media experts. The bootcamp will foster strong relationships between the accelerator participants.
- Structured learning phase: Bootcamps will be followed by a series of training sessions, comprised of pre-recorded online lectures by prominent media experts and subsequent “ask me anything” sessions with the trainers. The lectures will cover:
- Audience research methods and practice
- Product management
- How to diversify your revenue streams: philanthropy, sponsorships, events, programmatic advertising, branded content, digital subscriptions, advertising to businesses, nonprofits and governments, and more
- The latest in storytelling formats
- Audience engagement – from surveys and comments to subscribers and CRM management
- Diversity and inclusion in product development
- Product hypothesis to design and prototype
- How to diversify revenue streams and what makes sense for you, from grants to events and native advertising
- Business models and the northstar framework.
- Reader revenue: how to successfully implement a membership, subscription and/or donation model.
- 1:1 coaching: Accelerator participants will be offered 1:1 coaching sessions with experienced newsroom practitioners and trainers. Each participant will be paired with coaches that are able to provide the most value in terms of skills- and knowledge gaps identified in the needs-assessment. The participants are expected to attend coaching sessions biweekly.
- Guest speakers: Throughout the accelerator, participants will be exposed to the latest innovations in journalism delivery and business diversification from experienced leaders in the industry.
Additionally, accelerator participants will be expected to produce and publish a promotional or descriptive post or story that describes what went right or wrong in their innovation journey. This can be in the form of an individual or series of stories, podcasts, videos, newsletters or other journalistic formats. The journalistic product can be related to the accelerator in one of two ways:
- It highlights how the organization applied the learning on innovation in their newsroom;
- An editorial informing readers about the changes the organization went through in the accelerator, explaining how these changes will better serve its audiences.
Who can apply for the Transition Accelerator??
The Transition Accelerator is open to or small to mid-sized digital or legacy media outlets seeking to transform their journalism, products or business by investing in audience research, experimenting with new revenue models, deepening audience engagement, or investing in new content and distribution products based on user needs, among other strategies. Newsrooms are welcome to apply if they have:
- a clearly identified challenge or problem they want to solve;
- a plan on how to address the challenge or problem they face;
- recently conducted audience research or other market testing activities;
- willingness and a plan to reach out to new audiences with quality content.
To apply, you must have a team of three staff members declared that will participate through the accelerator’s duration of six months.
How long does the Transition Accelerator last?
The Transition Accelerator takes place for six months. Participants will have the opportunity to extend mentorship and will remain involved in the network.
How many projects will be selected and how large is the grant?
15 newsrooms will be selected to participate in the Transition Accelerator.
The Transition Accelerator grant provides up to €20,000. In addition, each team member (three per project) will receive a travel grant to attend the bootcamp.