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Industrial Transformation: time for change management 

End of March, the European Commission launched the European News Media Forum with a structured dialogue on the safety of journalists. Helping journalists work safely is essential to their role, crucial in our democracies.

Equally critical is a sustainable news media ecosystem, where priorities are for journalists to get paid, and where money is invested in technology. Stable and diversified funding is key and it will be addressed during the next News Media Forum, to take place in autumn.

Meanwhile, the EU Commission is multiplying legislative efforts, as Commissioner Thierry Breton just announced yet another European Media Freedom Act in 2021. For real impact to happen, it is time for the news sector to bring things together. News consumption has never been higher and the News sector should embrace opportunities, rather than simply following protective strategies. This is not only about technology, users and competition challenges. It is about the lack of change, in the news rooms, in other key departments, and last but not least, in leadership structures and boards.The media crisis is also self-indicted, and in fact it is not universal.

Cross-border content sharing might be one of the promising ways forward: this is the focus of the strategy study we carry on behalf of the European Commission, together with our partners at IDATE. Stakeholder views, thoughts and ideas are welcome. Being open to content and experiences from others requires an equally open mindset and a set of specific skills. These can be grown through positive experiences, leading to tangible results, plus trusted relations with partners in change projects. And the courage to step out of allegedly comfortable silos.

After initiating Stars4Media for younger professionals, Europe’s MediaLab starts thinking about a change management programme, for media organisations themselves. Views and suggestions welcomed.

Marc Sundermann, Director (fondationdirector@euractiv.com)

Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chairman (founder@euractiv.com)

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News from the MediaLab: Antonia Loncar joins
We are very pleased to announce a new team member at the MediaLabAntonia Loncar is joining the team as Senior Communications & Project Manager. She is a communication professional working in the field of EU communications since 2013, specialised in the EU project management, strategic communication and content development for web and social media. She has honed her skills working for a variety of EU funded projects, most recently as communication coordinator for the Erasmus+ eTwinning project at the European Schoolnet and the European Commission Agency for SMEs, where she managed communication activities of COSME, EU Programme for SMEs. Native Croatian, she speaks fluent English, Spanish and Italian, and is currently learning French.

Our governance also becomes more diverse, across five countries: we welcome new board membersGilles Vanderpooten (Paris) Irene Braam (Washington DC), Dan Luca (Brussels), Karolina Zbytniewska (Warsaw) and Eva Simekova (Bratislava).

We have a number of Senior Fellows: experienced professionals who wish to contribute to the mission of the MediaLab through a reduced time-commitment, but a high impact on the media sector. For more information you can contact Marc Sundermann, who is also one of our Senior Fellows.

THINK – Platforms and media

Feasibility study on a content sharing platform
Contracted by the EU Commission‘s DG CONNECT, Europe’s MediaLab as initiator and its consortium leader IDATE DigiWorld – plus three consultants – are carrying out a feasibility study for the European digital distribution of curated content, especially news, information of public interest and quality media content. Interested to provide your input and insights on what content sharing European platform(s) should look like? Please do not hesitate to contact us:

Marc Sundermann, Director
Christophe Leclercq, Executive Chairman

Platforms and publishers: continued struggle, plus attempts to divide

Admit It, Tech CEOs: You’re Publishers (Bloomberg)
On March 25th, Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey appeared once again in front of the US Congress to testify about the spread of misinformation and disinformation across digital platforms controlled by their companies.

Google-Rcs, intesa per ospitare le notizie del Corriere su Showcase (Corriere della Sera)
”Il Corriere della Sera e il suo editore, Rcs MediaGroup, hanno firmato un accordo pluriennale con Google. L’intesa porterà alla pubblicazione di contenuti delle testate quotidiane del gruppo (Corriere, Gazzetta dello Sport, El Mundo, Marca e Expansion) su Showcase, il prodotto che Google ha varato lo scorso anno per offrire ai suoi utenti l’accesso ad alcuni contenuti giornalistici.”
Read more: Google signs deals with Italian publishers for content on News Showcase

Is Facebook Buying Off The New York Times? (Washington monthly)
‘’To collectively bargain with Facebook, small newsrooms will need the biggest ones to sign on. With those larger organizations receiving millions of dollars from the social media giant through side deals, the smaller publications could be left stranded and defenseless.’’

Google s’achète à bas prix une tranche de la presse française (Fonds de la Presse Libre)
‘’Google va verser 63 millions d’euros (76 millions de dollars) sur trois ans à un groupe d’éditeurs de presse français regroupés au sein de l’APIG (Association de la presse d’information générale). Cet accord signé le 21 janvier, et resté confidentiel, vise à mettre fin aux menaces de procès et aux nombreux litiges sur la rémunération des droits voisins (comparables à des droits d’auteur) par les grandes plateformes numériques. Il est d’ores et déjà fortement contesté.’’

Libération renonce à son contrat avec Facebook (Liberation)
‘’Si Libération a signé un accord de rémunération avec Google (plus de 3 millions d’euros, selon Reuters), le quotidien contrôlé par le groupe Altice de Patrick Drahi, via un fonds de dotation, a annoncé  rompre un accord avec Facebook.’’

Scoop: Facebook explores paid deals for new publishing platform (Axios)
After Australia, the wrangle between publishers and Big Tech has reached new levels (CNBC)

Platforms regulation is needed but slow 

Taking on Big Tech, French antitrust chief urges others to do the same (Politico)
“I think it would be better for the global effect of the DMA if the Commission can rely on NCAs to also enforce the DMA,” said Isabelle de Silva, stressing that “The idea of having the DMA and nothing else is not the best’’. [NCA: National Competition Authorities]

RSF dépose plainte contre Facebook en France pour “pratiques commerciales trompeuses”(RSF)
‘’Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a déposé plainte auprès du procureur de la République de Paris contre Facebook à propos de la prolifération massive de haine en ligne et de fausses informations. En cause, la contradiction manifeste entre les engagements du réseau social vis-à-vis des consommateurs et la réalité de son fonctionnement.’’

Reporters Without Borders files complaint against Facebook for ‘deceptive commercial practices’ (EURACTIV)
Google’s Secret ‘Project Bernanke’ Revealed in Texas Antitrust Case (The Wall Street Journal)
Commission on track for digital levy proposal by June (EURACTIV)

Media freedom and media pluralism remain top issues
Orbán’s influence on the media is without rival in Hungary (Telex)
‘’Since taking office in 2010, Orbán has identified four economically strategic sectors where he aimed to have the proportion of Hungarian ownership “by all means exceeding” 50%. These are energy, banking, retail, and the media sector where, as of February, the goal has been reached.’’

Orban-friendly owner gets Hungary independent radio frequency (EURACTIV)
Brussels urged to intervene in Poland media takeover row (FT)
Council of Europe voices concern on Polish media laws (EURACTIV)

Why does so much news about the European Union still come out of London, even post-Brexit? (NiemanLab)
“Other than Google Translate, what are some possible solutions? There have been plenty of efforts, many of them funded by EU dollars (er, euros). European publishers have partnered up across borders to share each other’s work with their audiences. Sites like Euractiv and Voxeurop aim to build pan-European audiences from scratch. Some have called for more cross-border investigations and data sharing. Others have debated whether there really is a “European” public sphere to serve, or whether the continent needs better media to help invent one.”

Disinformation
How Facebook’s Oversight Board Is Looking To Fix Content Problems (Denver channel)
Critics think the board lacks the necessary leeway to make transparent, independent decisions: ”Facebook controls what information they have, which cases they reveal, what the process looks like. And the board is also bankrolled by Facebook,” said Jessica Gonzalez, CEO of Free Press.

10 Confidence building measures for platforms to deliver verifiable and tangible actions to tackle disinformation online (ACT: Association of Commercial Televisions)

Google to contribute €25 million to new EU fund to fight fake news (EURACTIV)
(Disclosure: Christophe Leclercq is on the Advisory Board of EDMO-European Digital Media Observatory)

DO – Stars4Media

The Stars4Media call for initiative is out! Send us your innovative idea before July 1st:

.Read the call for initiatives

.Reach out to our team for information: info@stars4media.eu

Visit our website and join our LinkedIn community of young media professionals and media experts to share ideas and find colleagues from all over Europe.

.You can now register for the Stars4Media Lab opening conference ‘The Future of Innovation In the EU Media Sector – A round table discussion with media Experts and Managers‘, on May 25.

Take a look at this year’s thematic waves: 

You wish to participate in the programme but you don’t have a partner? Check our list of initiatives looking for a partner and send us a message at info@stars4media.eu if you wish to get in touch with one of them!

EVENTS

High-Level Conference of the Portuguese Presidency “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism – Will AI take hold of the 4th estate?”, 11-12 May 2021, Online, Portugal

The aim of this eventis to raise awareness for the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the production, distribution and consumption of news, and to reflect on its impact on journalism in the digital era. Europe’s MediaLab Christophe Leclercq is moderating the session on policy and support from public sources on May 12. Registration

European Digital Media Awards, WAN-IFRA, 25th May 2021, Online, Austria

The Awards recognise the best projects in the news media industry: from new reader content strategies to impactful native advertising campaigns, from the innovative use of online video to novel audience engagement tactics.

World Press Freedom Day: EU determined to do ‘more’, in Europe and abroad (EURACTIV). The EU stated it is ready to pioneer new approaches for press freedom, against  disinformation and for sustainable business models for independent media.

May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day, is also Difference Day in Brussels. Event organisers and partners  are the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Erasmushogeschool Brussel, IHECS, BOZAR, & Evens Foundation, together with other partners such as EPC MPA, EBU, Bertelsmann, European Commission, UNESCO, European Endowment for Democracy. Further endorsements by the media EURACTIV For us, this means honouring people and organisations that make a difference in promoting these values.