The media partners will now put their projects and ideas into practice, benefitting from co-funding for their innovative proposals while cooperating across borders. The selected initiatives were chosen from the total of 101 submissions, across two Calls for Initiatives. The first call resulted in 17 winning initiatives, announced here, and the overview above summarizes the next 13 winners.

From the 101 proposals received, many more than 30 were innovative and relevant, we hope some others will come back for future competitions,’’ stated prof. Luciano Morganti of VUB, and Stars4Media Project Coordinator, adding “A whole set of criteria helped to make these difficult choices. The three juries were chaired by VUB, WAN-IFRA and EFJ, and I thank all jury members involved.

The current, second edition of the Stars4Media programme was launched during the Media4Europe conference that took place on 3rd March 2021. The Conference opened with a speech from Commission VP Jourova who stated “The project called Stars4Media is a great example of collaboration to develop innovative ideas.” The selected projects will be presented at the next Media4Europe event, on September 23.

Christophe Leclercq of Europe’s MediaLab, the Stars4Media initiator, highlighted: “Innovative journalism partnerships are expected to start tackling business sustainability. Our hope is that Stars4Media will help some media companies to embark on full business transformation.

Stephen Fozard from WAN-IFRA said: “I am delighted to note the high quality and ambition of the proposals selected and I look forward to supporting them during the next 12 months.

Stars4Media Second Edition projects in a nutshell:

The winning proposals are balanced around three key journalism themesJournalism, trust, participation (11 winning projects); Media technology (11); and Other media innovations (8).

Some of the most recurring topics are constructive journalism and new formats in digital storytelling. Building strong and informed local communities is also in focus, as well as digital well-being and mental health of both media professionals and users. The majority of applicants cover, in one way or another, the integration of digital tools in content development.

Women make 42% of the total of 185 participants

A majority of Initiatives include, among others, nationals from BelgiumFranceSpainUKCzech Republic, and Italy. In terms of regional balance, 40% of participants reside in Western Europe, 22% in Southern Europe, 20% in Northern, and 18% in Eastern Europe
Among the 76 participating media companies, a majority of companies are small (up to 15 employees) or very small (up to 5 employees). Among the 20 large media (more than 50 employees) taking part are top brands such as The GuardianLa RepubblicaLe MondeCourrier InternationalLa Libre BelgiqueDernière Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA) and Euronews, plus the Spanish and Czech News Agencies EFE and CTK, and several specialised media.


Stars4Media is an innovation exchange programme aiming at facilitating cooperation between media professionals, to accelerate media innovation and cross-border cooperation.

Media professionals, media organisations and tech companies from EU countries have the chance to cooperate around bottom-up Initiatives to test ideas and technologies, develop new business models and produce journalistic content.

A Stars4Media initiative is a 4-month innovative collaborative project, in which at least two media organisations from two different EU countries cooperate on  innovative practices, at editorial, technological or organisational levels. Media organisations can participate with a multidisciplinary team, typically composed of three media professionals. Participants in a Stars4Media initiative do not have to suspend their usual work. The implementation of the cross-border cooperation can be carried out in parallel to the day-to-day activities of the media professionals.

Partners of the project are the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Europe’s Media Lab (Fondation EURACTIV), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and WAN-IFRA. The project is co-funded by the European Commission. Read more about the project team.

You can learn here about the first edition, which ran from November 2019 to October 2020, and supported 21 cross-border initiatives, involving 42 media organisations and 105 media professionals from all over Europe.

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