World Association of News Publishers

Innovation programme for young media talents: first round of participants announced.

Innovation programme for young media talents: first round of participants announced.


Stars4Media has announced the six first projects to participate in its project-driven leadership and training programme for young European media professionals. The one-year programme will support and coach young talents to develop project-based sustainable innovation and encourage cross-border collaboration between European news organisations. The programme is co-funded by the European Union, coordinated by VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), with the support of Fondation EURACTIV, the European Federation of Journalists, and WAN-IFRA.

Twelve jury members have selected the successful candidates after a Stars4Media Lab virtual training event held on 30 March.  After pitching their projects and one-on-one coaching sessions with the jury, five proposals received a green light and are ready to kick-start their projects.

The national news agencies EFE (Spain) and LUSA (Portugal) are supporting "Euragora", one of the six selected projects.

"Media need to diversify their sources of income. One of the alternatives is the organisation of sponsored events, particularly discussion forums on topics of public interest. Our initiative consists in exchanging knowledge and experiences to organise a real debate, on a topic of European interest designed to reach a multinational, multilingual audience."  said Catalina Guerrero, head of the EuroEFE section. "Euragora will help to assess how the audience of events can be enlarged through the use of new technologies and social networks, to reach a trans-European, multilingual audience." adds Mónica Garcia, Chief Marketing Officer at LUSA. "This initiative will test new techniques to transnational debates: webinars, live broadcasting, automatic translation, among others". 

Café Babel (France) presented another selected project. Café Babel will work with radio Arabel (Belgium), on "La Chronique européenne de Cafébabel". The initiative will focus on trust in the media, thanks to solution-driven journalism. The goal is to highlight concrete solutions from the community players in Europe. The applicants acknowledged the emerging audience drawn to constructive and solution-driven journalism contents.

"It will start from local news, will stretch the question on a European scale and will provide some answers by addressing initiatives with a positive impact. Cafébabel will broadcast the reports and will produce new and publishable content on its different platforms", explains Safouane Abdessalem, journalist and Senior Editor at Café Babel. 

Two other successful initiatives include a partnership between the Näringslivets medieinstitut (Sweden) and the business newspaper Børsen (Denmark) and a collaborative project between the news portals Azonnali (Hungary) and Transindex (Romania). The first team will investigate how European news media manage the quality assessment of journalism. For their part, the team formed by Azonnali and Transindex will address the overcoming nationalistic narratives in Eastern Europe.

Five other applicants received a conditional acceptance and are still looking for partners. For details and potential cooperation, please join the  Stars4Media online forum.

"We selected initiatives which had thoroughly understood the philosophy behind Stars4Media: cross-border collaboration, cross-disciplinary teams and of course ambitious young media professionals!", stated Stephen Fozard, Chair of the Stars4Media Trust wave, and Project Director of the Global Alliance for Media at WAN-IFRA.  "We are still looking for technically innovative proposals and particularly those with a focus on Data", he added.

"Adapting the terms of participation so quickly to the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak was a real challenge. We are particularly proud to have shifted our working community on a dynamic virtual mode. Innovation must be open, collaborative, transdisciplinary. It proves now that it also ignores economic contingencies, however radical they may be." commented Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA.

The complete list of selected projects can be found at


The deadline for media professionals with 2 to 10 years of experience to apply is on Wednesday 20 May 2020. Proposals addressing the media response to the Coronavirus outbreak will be eligible, in addition to projects revolving around Trust in Media and Data for Media.

Stars4Media is a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation in the media sector and test ideas to address urgent needs. In cooperation with another European media team for 4 to 12 weeks, participants will increase interdisciplinary experience & training on data journalism, fact-checking, artificial intelligence, business development and social media. Editors and publishers supporting participants will have an opportunity to build new capacity in their teams, motivate and develop the skills set of their most promising talented young professionals while networking with European peers.


Stars4Media stimulates media innovation and cross-border collaboration in Europe. A cross-disciplinary programme, Stars4Media will sponsor projects developed by journalists, graphic designers, social media managers, technology or product developers, and marketing experts. One hundred young media professionals with 2 to 10 years of media experience will participate in the programme through ideation, skill-building assistance and concrete product development in four key areas: constructive journalism, data-journalism, artificial intelligence, and language technologies.

The project is co-funded by the EU and coordinated by VUB (SMIT-Imec at Vrije Universiteit Brussel), with the support of Fondation EURACTIV, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and WAN-IFRA, the World Association of News Publishers. 


For inquiries, please contact Stephen Fozard, Project Director Global Alliance for Media Innovation, WAN-IFRA  | Stars4Media

ABOUT WAN-IFRA. WAN-IFRA is the World Association of News Publishers. Its mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. WAN-IFRA provides its members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. With formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, it derives its authority from its global network of leading news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 60 national association members representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.

ABOUT GAMI, THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR MEDIA INNOVATION. The Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI) is the network for innovation within WAN-IFRA. With GAMI, WAN-IFRA provides its members with new ideas and applied research by bringing the outside in, looking beyond what is already known. GAMI supports and coordinates international research and innovation programmes. The Alliance develops platforms for news publishers to better work and engage with emerging technology entrepreneurs and innovation centres. Its goal is to rapidly advance new technologies and talents to the market and lead to a better economy of scales for news publishers and tech companies in developing and acquiring the next level of innovation tools.

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