European Federation of Journalists

EFJ study on new business models to promote journalism

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) report “Digital Journalism & New Business Models” underpins the trends in new business models for the digital newsroom: from the British Guardian to the pioneering French Mediapart, from Sweden to Spain, we witness the increase in new funding models, in so-called entrepreneurial journalists who take care of both fundraising and the newsroom and still achieve trusted journalism with the highest editorial standards, values that ground the fourth estate in a democratic society in order to hold the powerful to account.

The EFJ Digital Expert Group presents its report on “Digital Journalism & New Business Models” days after the adoption of a Declaration on the financial sustainability of quality journalism in the digital age by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers that “encourages states to put in place a regulatory and policy framework that facilitates the operation of “quality journalism”, while not constraining media outlets’ editorial and operational independence”.

It also reaffirms: “The right to freedom of expression and media freedom, as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, is wide in scope and contributes to promoting and protecting the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law on which the Council of Europe is built and which it is committed to uphold”.

The EFJ Digital Expert Group report, written by Andreas K. Bittner, EFJ Steering Committee, also makes the case that investigative journalism is a driving force behind the new business models aiming at protecting the editorial operations from interferences and maintain the highest level of independence even though it means trusting its readership more and breaking the sacrosanct wall between editorial and funding sources. But start-ups can fail dramatically if they miss their target. Even when  alternative models move away from the traditional publishing house, it doesn’t guarantee success is always around the corner nor sustainability.

“The challenge is to survive as a professional  journalist while remaining credible and be open and able to continue delivering quality  journalism”.

The report also discusses the role of journalists’ organisations in these changing times. It is an ongoing project and has received European funding via the EFJ two- year project on Managing change in the media.

Download the full EFJ Report – Digital Journalism and New Business Models