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The Stars4Media exchange programme for media professionals

Stars4Media is an exchange programme for young media professionals (“rising stars”), between cooperating media organisations, to accelerate media innovation and cross-border coverage in Europe.


Approach and objectives

The project has three objectives:

  1. Promote media innovation, along three axes: technological, marketing/business, and quality content production, with the aim to unleash new business models.
  2. Build new media partnerships and mobility across Europe, exchanging not only future leaders, but also sharing content, product ideas and new technological tools.
  3. Foster an environment conducive to quality journalism and media pluralism, supporting democracy versus online disinformation.

Challenges facing the media sector in Europe  

This Pilot Project is responding to the needs identified by the #Media4EU research project. According to this analysis, media professionals often fail to communicate across “silos” (i.e. commercial, editorial, communication, social media, IT); but also, most importantly, they often fail to communicate across borders. In particular, within most traditional media, top management lacks the skills to lead fast changes across editorial & commercial boundaries. Therefore, they need to deepen their social media knowledge and to support the shift towards online and events products.

European media networks have been created recently, but they often do not include a social media strategy and sustainable revenue models. Moreover, most media companies do not have enough resources to set up their own skill-building exchange and innovation programmes.

As such, participants of this project will be young professionals (“rising stars”) with 2-10 years of media experience, coming from different departments (general journalists, data journalists, graphic designers, tech developers, and managers for social media, products, marketing). This cuts across functional “silos” hindering new ideas, and speeds up media professionals’ careers.

A solution to boost media innovation

Stars4Media will encourage innovation through skill-building activities between media outlets with a common interest. The process consists of three steps:

  1. Selection: at the match-making event, 100 media professionals from ca. 40 media outlets are paired around innovative initiatives and benefit from ad-hoc training.
  2. On-the-ground exchange: 4-12 weeks of joint concrete cooperation between paired media, involving both geographic and virtual mobility.
  3. Debrief and follow-up: “rising stars” meeting at top industry summits to evaluate impact and award the best initiatives.

What is a “thematic wave”?

A thematic wave is an exchange round focused on a specific topic. Paired media organisations will test ideas, produce contents and develop initiatives around this topic. Different thematic exchanges will bridge “like-minded” media, that is to say, media dealing with the same politics, same technology field, same target group or same topic. The proposed thematic waves for this Pilot Project are:

  1. Constructive Journalism
  2. Fact-Checking
  3. Data-Journalism
  4. Artificial Intelligence and Translation technology

These strategic themes will be regrouped under two headings, “TRUST IN MEDIA” and “DATA FOR MEDIA“, both aimed at stimulating media innovation. Extra topics could be proposed, and they will be assessed by the ‘TRUST for media’ and ‘DATA for media’ independent juries.

This initiative was voted as a Pilot Project by the European Parliament into the 2018 and 2019 EU budgets (see the list of moral supports, including 15 MEPs).