The Journalism Value Project

Through the Journalism Value Project we aim to support European public-interest media to become financially sustainable through better monetising the value they provide to society.

The project has three key strands:

  1. Research and analysis of the context and opportunities for European independent media;
  2. Facilitating peer-to-peer collaboration between the 26 members of Reference – the European Independent Media Circle, on concrete business challenges;
  3. Changing the conversation on the agreed social value of public interest journalism.

There is currently limited shared understanding on the most effective business models for European independent media. While there are a plurality of approaches – from membership to paywalls and grant funding – and examples of success stories, a comprehensive and systematic framework has yet to be established.

Netzwerk Recherche will build on their new sector mapping through coordinating a large-scale survey of European independent media, looking in particular at their funding structures, the role of audience research in their business strategies, and external factors that influence their choice of business model. This research will allow us to analyse and compare country contexts, and determine if there are trends or opportunities to be leveraged, with the insights published online and shared widely.

We will also go in depth exploring concrete examples through speaking with independent media. Fumaça and Átlátszó Erdély will conduct in-depth interviews with the 26 members of the Reference network, delving into real-life practices and experiences, which we will publish as podcasts.

We will coordinate 26 on-location peer-to-peer visits between members of the network, to enable members to share knowledge and co-create solutions for specific business challenges.

Building on all of this, we aim to reassess the political-economic consensus on public-interest journalism’s societal value. To do this we will facilitate two meetings between independent public-interest media and journalism funders as well as social investors, and four public online meetings to discuss important questions for the sector, such as whether all audiences should have to pay directly for independent journalism, and how we can square the circle that the very action of funding independent journalism challenges the grantees’ independence. Based on all our learnings, we will publish a white paper reflecting on the value of independent media

Consortium members

The Journalism Value Project is run by a consortium of five partners that are all organically European and cross-border at their core:

Arena for Journalism in Europe facilitates open networks for journalists to collaborate across borders and enhances the field through training, publishing articles, speaking, developing educational materials, and advising on cross-border collaborative journalism. The Reference network is currently being incubated by Arena.

Netzwerk Recherche, a non-profit, is Germany’s association of investigative journalists. For years, it has supported, and advocated for, the case of non-profit journalism on a national and European level in multiple ways (workshops, conferences, lobbying, grants, research).

Átlátszó Erdély is an investigative journalism outlet covering the 1,2 million Hungarian community living in the Transylvanian region of Romania.

Fumaça is a Portuguese outlet, bringing investigative reporting in podcast form, often focused on covering inequalities and injustices in Portugal and around the European Union.

Investigate Europe is legally registered in Germany as a European cooperative, but has a presence in 12 different countries. It functions as a multinational team that merges national facts in order to point out responsible transnational structures and actors in issues of Europe-wide relevance.

Project Coordinator: Arena for Journalism in Europe

Contact: Johanna Pisco –


The Journalism Value Project, awarded under the title “Monetising Value, towards financial sustainable independent public-interest journalism”, is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.