Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund

A lifeline for journalists from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia

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Local independent journalism, the most important source of truth in times of war, is hanging by a thread in Ukraine, but also in Russia and Belarus. To provide immediate support to local journalists working under the most extreme pressure,  we – a group of over 30 media support organizations and media outlets with deep experience across the region – are launching the Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund. The fund will support stories produced by Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian journalists who are reporting the truth on the war despite the enormous risks. 

The fund will serve as a lifeline to allow them to stay on the job even as their normal income plummets or vanishes, the direct consequence of living and working in or near a war zone. 

 

The Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund will pay them directly for their reporting work for local and national media outlets so they can continue to accurately inform their audiences and to tell the world what’s happening on the ground.

We are starting with a fund of nearly $45,000 raised through a recent Kickstarter campaign, plus some additional donations.

What kind of stories will the fund enable?

The primary goal is to pay for independent, on-the-ground reporting on the war and all its repercussions.  The costs to administer the fund will be kept at an absolute minimum so virtually all the funds raised will go directly to the selected journalists.

Will the fund only work with freelancers?

No. The fund also will pay staff reporters working on stories for independent media, both local and national. In all cases, journalists should have a demonstrated history of reporting freely and independently and not in the service of any political or economic interests. The fund’s partners will use their contacts and experience in the region to closely evaluate every application.

How will we evaluate the stories?

Journalists reporting from a war zone and neighboring countries don’t need complicated application forms. We will set up a streamlined process for funding stories. A rapid reaction committee of media experts will review the applications as soon as they come in and will arrange funding immediately. Our organizations have managed dozens of subgranting programs for reporters and have funded thousands of stories. We know many journalists from the countries in question from earlier programs and those of our partners.

Size of Grants

  • Support will typically be in the range of 200 euros - 1,000 euros.

  • Typically, the production of single stories will be supported, though, in rare cases, we may support multiple stories.

  • There is no minimum or maximum.

  • The size of grants will also depend on the selected format (features/analysis, investigations, multimedia stories, series of stories, etc.).

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The fund coordinator is Transitions, a Prague-based publishing and journalism training organization that has supported and trained journalists for more than 20 years. Our mission is to foster high-quality, independent journalism and an informed and engaged public. The heart of our operation is our flagship newsmagazine, with insightful reportage from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, Turkey, and Eurasia. With over 25,000 articles published to date, we serve as a platform for the region’s independent journalists to cover topics often underreported in their home countries.

 

More than 10,000 journalists and journalism students have passed through our training programs. We also run Press Start, the first global crowdfunding platform to provide a lifeline for reporters in countries where the press cannot report freely.

We set up the Eastern European Independent Journalist Fund in partnership with the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) – a network of 19 media centers and institutes across 13 countries of Central and South Eastern Europe – and a number of other media support centers and media outlets.

Partners

Contacts

If you have any other questions or would like to contribute to the fund, please write to: lifeline4journalists@tol.org