Tender – Terms of Reference
(one-off contract)

Purchase of services for an external evaluation of the NewsSpectrum programme

A consortium led by the International Press Institute (IPI) and including the European Assoc​​iation of Daily Newspapers in Minority and Regional Languages (MIDAS) seeks tenders from potential providers to conduct a final evaluation of the NewsSpectrum project, which provides residences at host majority media organisations to journalists and other media professionals working in minority language media. The residencies are structured either as an element of a collaborative project or as a professional secondment. Participants will also benefit from a training and networking programme in the post-residency period. With funding from the European Commission, the current NewsSpectrum project period runs until March 31, 2022. Please see https://newsspectrum.eu/ for more information.

The final evaluation is scheduled to take place during the final month of the project period, from March 1 to March 29, 2022.

Terms of Reference

1. Background

The project’s overall objective is to develop an internship programme that serves the professional development of journalists and other media professionals working in minority languages in Europe, including migrant languages, paving the way for a more informed and impactful discussion of European affairs in minority-language media and the communities these media serve. This took the form of a pilot programme in which minority language media professionals – including journalists and other professionals working within the newsroom, such as community managers – took part in one of two types of placements with host media organisations. The internship programme was then complemented by training and networking opportunities to broaden the sustainability and reach of the pilot programme.

The specific objectives and expected results of the programme to be evaluated are:

  • Enhance minority media professionals’ knowledge and professional abilities. Indicators: At least 40 media professionals working in minority-language media participate in one of two residence internship schemes with host media organisations, increasing their knowledge of different newsroom cultures and command of journalistic techniques (as reported through post-placement surveys); Journalists and other media professionals actively participate in online training and networking sessions.
  • Encourage collaborative working partnerships between media professionals working in minority language media and others working in majority-language media outlets within the European Union. Indicators: Minority language media professionals and host media organisations develop and execute collaborative projects through the internship programme; Online networking sessions strengthen new and existing relations between media professionals working in minority language media across the EU, potentially leading to joint journalistic projects; a database of potentially interested host media organisations is developed, allowing potential applicants to search for appropriate placements.
  • Contribute to the open discussion of European affairs in minority-language media. Indicators: at least 10 pieces of content are produced within the Collaborative Reporting Fellowship that portray European affairs in a new format or from a new angle.
  • Stimulate innovation and sustainability in minority language media amid the digital transition. Indicators: Through internships and post-programme training and networking, minority language media professionals gain skills and professional insights from their host media colleagues on meeting the needs of the journalism of the future, including the production of impactful online and multimedia journalism, managing the digital transition through new funding models, and the building of online communities and audiences that is central to the survival of strong public-interest journalism in the digital news age.

The activities conducted under the programme consisted in 1. Design of internship programme, 2. Selection of participants/host organisations, 3. Logistical support for participants/host organisations, 4. Information and communication, 5. Financial management, and 6. Monitoring and evaluation.

2. Objectives of the evaluation

An indicative list of the areas of assessment is provided below. The evaluation questions can be further refined by the provider carrying out the evaluation.

Relevance: Assess whether the funds from the European Commission contributed to the advancement of minority-language media in Europe, the professional development of minority-language journalists, and the strengthening of coverage of public interest and European affairs by minority-language media by providing opportunities for collaborative partnerships and work placements.

  • To what extent did NewsSpectrum achieve its overall objectives?
  • To what extent did NewsSpectrum contribute to the development of exchanges between minority- and majority-language media?
  • To what extent did the two fellowship schemes achieve their specific goals?

Effectiveness: Assess whether the grant was implemented effectively and efficiently by the partners in the consortium to fulfil the planned deliverables, especially amid upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • To what extent were the planned activities carried out and were these delivered within the planned budget and timetable?
  • Were risks properly identified and managed and challenges that arose properly addressed?
  • How effective was the programme’s design in the success of the project?

Impact: Assess the changes resulting from the programme (positive/negative, direct/indirect, intended/unintended).

  • To what extent did NewsSpectrum support the advancement of minority-language journalism in Europe as part of a vibrant and pluralistic media landscape?
  • How did NewsSpectrum help to foster collaborative work between journalists across the minority language- and majority language-media?
  • To what extent did the project contribute to stimulate innovation and sustainability in minority language media amid the digital transition?
  • What measurable impact, if any, did NewsSpectrum-supported outputs have on public discourse or any specific outcomes?

Sustainability and Replicability: Assess whether the impacts achieved through the programme are likely to be sustained after the current funding period.

  • What are the prospects for NewsSpectrum to develop into a sustainable programme?

Learning Review: Identify and expand upon lessons learned that have not been drawn in the sections above.

  • This section will cover any key areas that have not featured in the sections above and that may surface throughout the evaluation process

3. Methodology and Deliverables

The selected provider will:

  • Review all grant-related documents;
  • Interview staff from the consortium organisations involved in the project, including project managers and senior management;
  • Interview a broad cross-section of NewsSpectrum fellows;
  • Other relevant activities.

All interviews with the fellows and staff at host organizations will remain confidential and anonymized. During all contacts with stakeholders, the independent evaluation provider will clearly identify themselves as independent consultants and not as an official representative of the consortium behind NewsSpectrum.

The consultant will provide one draft report (approximately 30 pages long) covering all areas noted in Section 2. It shall be submitted to IPI by April 8, 2022. The final report – which incorporates or has responded to any internal feedback provided on the draft version – should be submitted to IPI by April 22, 2021.

4 Eligibility Criteria

The selected provider will need relevant subject knowledge and experience conducting journalism-related evaluations.

The independent evaluation provider must be strictly neutral, and will not have had any involvement in the project prior to this activity, so as to avoid any potential conflict of interests.

Award criteria

  • Quality of the offer (60%), including:
    • Methodology proposed;
    • Previous experience in evaluating journalism-related projects/programmes;
    • Technical competence and experience in conducting evaluation from a distance/by video conference.
  • Financial offer (40%).

Eligible tenderers will be invited for an interview to discuss their credentials and proposed plan. All tenderers will be informed about the outcome of their submission by email.

5. Applications

Interested parties must provide a short proposal outlining their approach (two pages maximum). This should be accompanied by:

  • CV(s) of the tenderer/any staff who will be involved in carrying out the evaluation;
  • A proposed methodology for carrying out the monitoring and evaluation;
  • Ideally, one example of an evaluation report recently completed in English.

Tenders shall be submitted by email only (with attachments) to the email address info@ipi.media with the reference “NewsSpectrum evaluation”. Deadline for submission: January 31, 2022.

Interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place between the following week, and these will be conducted remotely to address COVID-19 related health and safety risks.

6. Other considerations

The assignment shall be conducted remotely, following all COVID-19 safety recommendations.

The maximum amount available for the evaluation of the project, covering all the deliverables to be achieved by the selected tenderer as listed above, is 15,000 Euros. The allocated budget includes consultancy fees, and travel and subsistence if relevant and in line with COVID-19 safety rules, and translation costs, if any.