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Today’s media sector is in crisis, with disinformation and fake news abound, falling levels of trust and readership, and changes in skills and business models. Change must come from within the sector itself with innovation as the key driver. Within this context the EU has co-funded a pilot project on media innovation and cross-border cooperation:


Exchange programme for young professionals: call for applications open!

The aim of Stars4Media is to provide support and accelerate innovation in the media sector in Europe by involving media outlets, publishers’ associations and journalists’ and media unions by way of an exchange of young media professionals around ad hoc media innovation initiatives. The project, launched at the end of November 2019 (see the press release for more information), targets young media professionals with 2-10 years of media experience. They can come from different departments of different media outlets: journalists, graphic designers, developers, and managers of social media, product marketing, etc. The idea is to cut across the silos, foster innovation and speed up these media rising stars’ careers.


The exchanges will last from 4-12 weeks and will be between two media outlets. The selection will be based on the creative, business and/or technology ideas the applicants propose in their application and should be related to their jobs. The idea is to set up the 100 people in 20-40 groups. “Over the next year, about 100 media professionals across Europe will learn new skills through paid placements in media organisations from other countries. This is a pilot project and I very much look forward to the lessons learned to understand if and how this scheme should be scaled up”, says Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Youth, Innovation, Education & Culture. 

The project has three objectives: 1) promote media innovation along three axes – technological, marketing/business and quality content production 2) build new media partnerships and mobility across Europe 3) foster and environment conducive to quality journalism and media pluralism supporting democracy versus online disinformation.

45 media stakeholders expressed their support, then [it was] relayed by 15 MEPs from the four main political groups and voted by the Parliament… Public support for journalistic cooperation or press freedom are useful [but] this one is different: it’s about innovation across borders and economic sustainability”, explains Christophe Leclerq, founder of the EURACTIV Media Network.


The consortium will be led by SMIT, Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology, a research group that belongs to the Vrije Universiteit Brussels and IMEC, with input from the VUB’s International Relations office in terms of exchange programmes and mobility.


=> The call for applications is now open and the deadline has been revised to give more applicants the opportunity to submit. The application process is a flexible one, with three different windows to apply with the following deadlines - 20 February, 20 March and 20 April 2020. All the information and how to apply is available on the SMIT-VUB website, so check it out and apply now!