Poland: Engaging local communities to fight government-funded “news” portals

TuŁódź is an independent Polish news portal that reports on local and community media in central Poland city Łódź and the surrounding area, among which is Piątek. No independent news existed in this area so TuŁódź decided to start writing about this commune as part of the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project. TuŁódź is a traditional newsroom that covers a wide range of local and community news topics. With only 2,000 inhabitants, Piątek is normally a news desert. TuŁódź felt that this project was important to the local community as the people who live there have no information on…

Czech Republic: EFJ organises conference on local journalism in Europe

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is organising the Local Journalism Festival at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, on 17 – 18 June, as part of the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project. In light of the upcoming EU elections, the role of local media is ever more important to keep local communities informed and encourage their political participation in elections. Ultimately, how can we support local media in these emerging news deserts and how to prevent it from spreading all over Europe? The Local Journalism Festival will highlight success stories of vibrant, resilient local journalism and media as…

Greece: Bridging the gap between journalism and active citizenship

A Greek media outlet based in one of Europe’s poorest regions has adapted its business model and editorial line to become more attractive to young and old alike. Xronos Media Group, which operates in the regional unit of Rhodopi (Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region), with a population of around 105,000, aims to promote the importance of local media in the daily lives of this declining and aging population, with the ambition of inspiring better informed and more active readers and citizens.  “We are happy to see how, in media with a long-standing tradition such as Xronos, both the ownership and…

Croatia: Interview with Lika Club, bringing the local to diaspora

Based on a recent study by the Centre of Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) that maps news deserts in Europe, the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project financially supports independent local media outlets operating in areas at risk of becoming news deserts. We talked to Ante Fumić, owner of Lika Club, about the opportunities from the development of the Lika App, which aims to provide relevant news, information, and content that directly serves the interests and concerns of the local community. By focusing on their specific needs, the app will enhance accessibility to regional media and foster a stronger…

WPFD24: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis

To mark World Press Freedom Day – the theme of which this year is “Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis” – the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) pays tribute to the local journalists who play a unique role in providing critical information to the public on environmental issues, and connecting local stories to the broader climate crisis.  “On World Press Freedom Day, we emphasise that an atmosphere of security and respect must be built to allow media professionals to report accurately on the climate crisis. We need to ensure that journalists reporting on environmental and climate stories can…

Czech Republic: Media start-up Okraj.cz develop its own code of conduct for AI

Most journalists use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to improve their work and manage their workload. Okraj.cz, a group of three passionate, young journalists from Ostrava, Czech Republic, are no exception. Thanks to funding and mentorship from the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project, the media startup developed its own code of conduct for  AI to generate illustrations for their articles, but within reason. The three journalists come from different journalistic backgrounds. Jan Žabka worked in Prague looking into disinformation and digital chaos, Simona Janikova has experience in a range of topics, including local businesses, human stories and environment, and Klara…

Portugal: Journalists developed a WhatsApp chatbot with local communities in Algarve

A group of journalists decided to improve their working conditions by developing their own online newspaper Sul Informação in the Algarve region. Through funding from the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project, Sul Informação developed an audience engagement tool called “Do You Have News for Us?” to create a direct communication channel between the public and the newsroom.  Readers send information that will be verified and, eventually, transformed into news by the journalists. This allows the newspaper a new way to get information about what is happening in the municipalities in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo. The tool works via…

Business models for local news in Europe: The need to diversify revenue streams

Changes in the consumption and distribution of news content has affected the news media industry, specifically local media. A latest report by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) indicates that local media outlets are diversifying their revenue streams to replace the traditional advertising-based model of funding. A subscriptions-based model is one of the more popular and reliable sources of long-term income. Podcasts are a format of subscriptions-based media that is a powerful tool for connecting with audiences, particularly younger listeners. Memberships are also used by local media to attract revenue. Different from the subscriptions-based model, it is…

News deserts on the rise: public support is crucial for local media to survive

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched on 5 March 2024 the report “Uncovering news deserts in Europe. Risks and opportunities for local and community media in the EU” at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Dace Melbarde. Over 100 participants, including policymakers, local journalists and members of European media organisations, attended the roundtable discussion in Brussels and online. Published by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) as part of the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project, the study explores challenges and opportunities for local and community media in the 27 EU Member States, analysing the news…

News deserts on the rise: a first comparative study indicates the fragile situation for local media across the EU

The study “Uncovering news deserts in Europe. Risks and opportunities for local and community media in the EU” by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) was published today. This research detects challenges and opportunities for local and community media in the 27 EU Member States, analysing the news deserts phenomenon from a holistic perspective. A network of researchers spanning all the 27 EU Member States ran the investigation, using the methodology developed by CMPF. They assessed risks based on 55 variables that relate to the local media market conditions; local journalists’ safety and working conditions, local outlets’…

Feature: Local journalism that contributes to social progress

Local media and community outlets have at the core of their works the social issues they strive to impact. The latest LM4D blog post by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) explores the social integration efforts of local news. Researchers Urbano Reviglio and Danielle Borges explore social integration techniques by local and community media outlets in the EU. They spotlight specific best practices from “street newspapers”, newspapers or magazines targeted at people in marginalised communities. Innovative responses offered by local media outlets are essential to survive the harsh competition of the attention economy. While local and community…

Local media and journalist groups awarded half a million to improve local reporting

The Local Media for Democracy project (LM4D) is supporting 25 small media outlets and freelance journalist groups from around Europe in the second round of funding. They will receive a total of  €667,854 funding as well as mentorship to strengthen their reach and funding models so that they can better serve their local communities. The 25 media outlets and journalist groups are from: Bulgaria (1), Czech Republic (3), France (2), Greece (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (2), Poland (6), Portugal (3), Romania (3), Slovakia (1), Slovenia (2) and Spain (1).  The jury, whose identities are anonymous, selected initiatives that operate in…

Understanding audiences is crucial in an ever-changing digital environment

Audience research methods was the topic of the two workshops organised by the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project, as part of a series of workshops developed for this project. Journalists from the first round of grantees of the LM4D Media Funding Scheme attended the two online meetings on the subject.   Understanding audiences in the modern and ever-changing digital environment is crucial not only for developing content and distribution strategies, but also for developing innovative products and business models.  “LM4D offers a capacity building program to assist local media in achieving their project objectives and strengthening their long-term sustainability. The…

Feature: Newsletters and podcasts are on the rise for local media in Europe

The digital transformation has encouraged local and community media outlets to explore new strategies for audience engagement and content distribution, according to a recent blog post by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF). Researchers Urbano Reviglio and Danielle Borges surveyed various best practices of local and community media in Europe. They found innovative responses offered by local media outlets to engage audiences amidst the harsh competition of the attention economy. Newsletters are one of the most popular strategies, which are used by media outlets around the region as a tool to deliver customised and specifically-targeted news to their readers.…

Ireland: Local and independent newspaper fights for underserved communities

Dublin county is one of the smallest in Ireland but by far the most populated, given the capital city sits there. While the centre is bustling with activity and news, just 20km north risks getting left behind. Local newspaper Dublin Inquirer is hoping to fill this gap by expanding its innovative business model to the region of Fingal county.  Towards the end of last year, one of the largest media companies in Ireland shut its edition covering Fingal in the north of Dublin. The Dublin Inquirer, a local and independent newspaper, is hoping to fill this gap by expanding their…

Lithuanian public prosecutor investigates story thanks to local radio station

Lithuanian radio station, Radio FM99, a partner of the EFJ-led Local Media 4 Democracy (LM4D) project, published a story about a development plan that would destroy the historical heritage of Alytus. The story gained traction and the Prosecutors’ Office opened an investigation into the plan. All of this was funded by the LM4D and the radio benefited from the mentorship by the project. We talk to Vilija Ramanauskiene, journalist at Radio FM99, to find out more. Radio FM99 is a legacy radio outlet in South Lithuania and one of the first commercial radio stations in independent Lithuania. This year, it…