Grow your media, faster

The Transition Accelerator supports European media organizations towards digital transformation and audience-centered solutions.

Join us

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Deadline

Applications will go through August 18, 2024, 23:59 CEST.

Need more info?

Sign up for our info sessions on 11 July and 25 July.

The Basics

IPI’s Transition Accelerator is an eight-month programme for established digital or legacy media outlets in Europe seeking to grow and experiment with renewed investment in digital transformation of their journalism, editorial products, business model or revenues with the goal of becoming viable and competitive in their respective markets. The programme, already in its second edition, will offer funding, personalized advisory services, tools and guidance to help you identify market needs, discover new opportunities and build sustainable solutions to enable continued digital transformation.

Why apply?

The accelerator has been designed to support European newsrooms in transition that have a clear and defined understanding of the challenge they seek to address. We will support participants in finding and implementing the best solution to this challenge through a core grant scheme funding a specific digital transformation project, comprehensive one-on-one needs assessment by IPI’s in-house experts and a tailored accelerator programme that will train, coach and guide grantees toward self-sustained resilience and successful implementation of this project.

How does it work?

The format is based on IPI’s innovation and product development practice, refined in our 2022 Transition Accelerator, in which publishers from all over Europe achieved measurable benefits such as doubling and tripling video, newsletter and paying subscribers, delivery of new products, as well as long-lasting content and funding partnerships. One key benefit communicated repeatedly by the group was that connections among the cohort allowed them to build a community and share ideas with media in similar situations.

>> Learn about our 2022 Transition Accelerator participants and their success stories here.

Application Process and Timeline

Apply by submitting the application form. Applicants can save the application form by clicking “save” and return to it until they have completed it and are ready to submit. They will be emailed a link to their application, which they can return to until 18 August 2024 [23:59, CEST]. Once the application is submitted, it can no longer be edited.

Only applications in English received via the Jotform platform by the stated date and time will be considered. You will receive an email confirmation of your submission.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, contact [email protected] or sign up for our upcoming info sessions on 11 July and 25 July. Past experience shows how important it is to build a diverse cohort and we encourage you to reach out if this sounds interesting to you!

APPLICATION DETAILS

  • Up to €20,000 to deliver your project. 
  • One month of personalized needs assessments to identify your challenge, problem statement and roadmap solutions. 
  • Intensive training focused on tools and skills that can be transferred to your newsroom well beyond the duration of the accelerator, focused on problem solving and identifying solutions, audience research, strategic planning and product management, journalism formats built for user engagement, digital business models and diversifying revenue models.
  • One-on-one personalized advisory services bespoke to the needs of your newsroom, with flexible, on-demand industry-experts as coaches during the accelerator.
  • Access to a networking platform with the current cohort, expert coaches, all programme alumni and a network of media innovators.
  • Access to an e-learning platform with training modules and recordings from industry-leaders. Monthly “Ask-Me-Anything” sessions allows attendees to directly pose questions to industry experts.
  • Group coaching sessions with peers developing similar projects.
  • Speaker sessions based on themes determined in the needs assessments.
  • 3-day, in-person bootcamp in Vienna with 2-3 members from each media in the accelerator.
  • Applicants must be a media organization based in one of the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, and Ukraine.
  • Your organization must be an established media (digital and legacy) investing in research, growth and development, that has a clear and defined understanding of the challenge it seeks to address
  • Your media organization is independent from political or business interests, is consumer facing, and investing in an audience-centric concept or product for news gathering, creating or distributing journalistic work, and monetisation; or innovation in your media’s business model that will help make the company sustainable, competitive and of value to its community and European media landscape.  
  • You must submit a plan that identifies the specific challenge you want to resolve, the target audience you serve, the logic of your approach and the articulation of a clear and well-defined understanding of the problem you are seeking to solve.
  • Your organization should have recently conducted audience research or other market testing activities and be able to establish this in your application. 
  • Your media should demonstrate a willingness to undertake audience research and find ways to serve new audiences, explore and implement new ideas, tools and technologies to enhance storytelling and audience engagement, while learning from experts and each other.
  • You will be asked to describe your vision of success with metrics to measure against, including a plan for sustainability once the project period is completed and the resources needed to implement the project. (Note: it is anticipated that this project will change or evolve during the accelerator period).
  • You will be asked to compile a budget for using the funds granted through the accelerator programme, describing the financial resources you will need for your project to succeed (e.g. technology costs, web development, human resources, costs required to reach audiences)
  • You should have a commitment to quality, independent journalism that serves the public interest, and a track record of this.
  • Your media should have a clear vision for the future of their organization, including plans for how they will grow, expand and/or adapt.
  • You should have the capacity to carry out the innovations you will identify, the support of senior management for the digital transition and the time to work through the accelerator programme to develop and implement lasting solutions.
  • Your organization must have a team of at least two individuals who are willing to commit to accelerator activities throughout the eight months (this is estimated at a time commitment of four hours per week, divided between the team of two).
  • You should have diversity in each transition leadership team, including representing different skill sets and parts of the media organization.
Applications will undergo an initial pre-screening to review basic application requirements. Applicants may be asked to supply additional information during this phase. Applications that do not meet basic requirements will not be forwarded to the jury.

An independent, international jury will select the projects to participate in the accelerator. The jury will be made up of individuals with a deep understanding of innovation in independent newsrooms, particularly in Europe, including product directors, media managers, media founders and managing editors from different countries across Europe.

Any attempt by any donor or partner organization to interfere in the decisions of the jury will be immediately reported to the rest of the jury. Jury members will be required to declare any possible conflicts of interest, and will be asked to recuse themselves from any judgment where such conflicts may interfere with independence or the public perception of independence. These recusals will be recorded.

After jury selection, the selected teams will go through a process to check their proposed budget and project. The IPI project manager together with the coach assigned to the team will streamline the project and ensure its feasibility, including ensuring the implementation of any recommendations from the independent jury.

Successful projects will be asked to sign a contract with IPI.

The Transition Accelerator funds may cover any percentage of a project’s costs, up to 100 percent of the total. Co-funding is encouraged but not mandatory. Applicants must declare any existing sources of funding on their application.

Applicants to the Transition Accelerator can request grants up to €20,000. Selected projects will sign a grant agreement with IPI to receive the funds. The disbursement of funds will be made in three instalments:

  • IPI will transfer to the recipient 60 percent of the Transition Accelerator grant amount upon signing this contract. 
  • 25 percent of the grant amount will be transferred to the media upon presentation of the second project design review in the fourth month of the accelerator and verification of completion of all key activities set out in their governing framework. 
  • The final 15 percent will be provided on the approval of a one-page narrative document measuring the success of their project over the eight-month accelerator, a review of how it contributed to the overall growth of their newsroom, and a review of how the grant was spent and what their newsroom’s future plans are.

The Transition Accelerator grant may be used to cover nearly any costs necessary for the production of their proposed project. This includes, but is not limited to, programmatic and operational costs (e.g., travel costs to the annual Media Innovation Festival), software, web development, human resources, research- and production-related costs, travel costs and translation costs. Hardware costs (e.g., computers and video cameras) are not eligible.

Note, that the submitted budget does not need to cover the travel and living costs for the in-person bootcamp in Vienna. The Bootcamp costs will be covered by the Transition Accelerator programme separately.

Apply now

Please note that we only accept applications in English.

For preparation only, please find in this Google Doc all the questions of the form below. You can make a copy of the document. The Google Doc is not needed for the application, it is just a resource to help you prepare to fill the form below.


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FAQ ABOUT THE LOCAL NEWS ACCELERATOR

Run by IPI, the Transition Accelerator supports digital transition and audience-centered solutions by providing funding, coaching and training. It will bring newsrooms along a media-first design and innovation journey, focusing on supporting newsrooms’ editorial, technology and business strategies. Over an eight-month period, the project team will work closely with each newsroom to coach and provide the necessary resources to implement its transformational business or product strategy. The Transition Accelerator will provide training and coaching for two types of projects:

  • A technology or audience-centric concept or product for news gathering, creating or distributing journalistic work, and monetisation; or
  • A journalism-focused digital transition business project or other innovation that will help make the media outlet sustainable, competitive and of value to its community and European media landscape.
The Accelerator consists of five main activities:

  • An introductory meeting: Here, all selected participants 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.
  • Structured learning phase: A series of training sessions, consisting of pre-recorded online lectures by prominent media experts and subsequent  “Ask-Me-Anything” sessions with the trainers. The lectures will cover:
  • Human-centered design for local journalism
  • Practical audience research methods for local news
  • Product management skills and methods for local journalism
  • How to diversify revenue: identify and build philanthropy, sponsorships, events, programmatic advertising, branded content, digital subscriptions, advertising to businesses, nonprofits and governments, and more
  • Reader revenue: how to successfully implement a membership, subscription and/or donation mode
  • The latest in storytelling formats
  • Audience engagement – from surveys and comments to subscribers and CRM management 
  • How to pitch your media to partners, funders and investors
  • One-on-one coaching: Accelerator participants will be offered one-on-one coaching sessions with experienced newsroom practitioners and trainers. Each participant will be paired with coaches who 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. 
  • 3-day in-person bootcamp in Vienna: Participants take part in workshops and coaching with experts and networking among the cohort

 

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.
The Transition Accelerator is open to established digital or legacy media wanting to accelerate the digital transition of their journalism, products, business model or revenues to become viable and competitive. Newsrooms must be based in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Ukraine. 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 two staff members declared that will participate through the accelerator’s duration of eight months.  

The Transition Accelerator takes place for eight months. Participants will have the opportunity to extend mentorship and will remain involved in the network.
18 newsrooms will be selected to participate in the Local News Accelerator.

The Transition Accelerator is co-funded by the European Union.