News media innovations – now and future / NEWSLETTER

News media innovations – now and future

Europe’s MediaLab initiated a major programme for cross border media innovation, and now helps to carry out two strategy studies for the media sector. In order to help to make the European media sector more resilient, innovative and to foster collaboration among media professionals we invite you to discover and contribute to the projects below.

Considering that Stars4Media pilot projects already help media companies, the aim now is to build on the experience gained and work towards a more permanent, programme-like structure. Media professionals, coming from different countries and different sectors, exchange experiences, knowledge and best practices through joint projects. Now, their cooperation could go beyond: enabling a long-term business transformation of the news media sector.

With this in mind, together with consortium members VUB, WAN-IFRA and EJC, MediaLab presented a proposal to the EU’s Call for Journalism Partnership. The funding would help a new phase of Stars4Media programme called NEWS. Interested co-funders are also welcome to join in and support these activities, where their goals and principles are mutually beneficial.

The focus is on creating new business models and leading newsroom transformation while facilitating adaptation and implementing sustainable change management. Stars4Media NEWS proposes a two-phase coaching programme, where applicants respond to an open call with an independent jury that shortlists 15 projects to be funded and enter the EXPLORE phase. Subsequently, 10 of these projects will be selected to scale-up to the BOOST phase. Each collaborative project will focus either on: business transformation & new business models (products, services, financial, and/or organisational design transformations), or Newsroom transformation & innovative processes. Participants will receive specialised coaching to steer processes and strategies. Stars4Media NEWS aims to enhance knowledge transfer in view of building resilience in the EU news media sector.

Now, moving to strategy and policy. Beyond transformation of individual media companies, Europe also needs a lot more sharing of content and data. MediaLab works on the feasibility study for a European content sharing platform for quality news. Currently in its final phase, the study analyses options for content sharing. It may also help to feed thoughts for a potential industrial strategy building on the EU’s Media Action Plan from December 2020. The proposed model will be tested with interested stakeholders.

MediaLab is also delighted to announce to be part of a consortium that will deliver the study for the second phase of the Digital European Platform of Quality Content Providers. This Media dataspaces study continues the work on content sharing study. The Media dataspaces have the potential to change the cooperation between innovators,creators, producers and distributors. The way sharing of data of simple and complex formats (e.g. user data, 3D animation models) and  micro-transaction services (e.g. blockchain model) may be shared are key elements. The study will kick-off in Autumn 2021 and is prepared on behalf of the DG CONNECT  together with our consortium partner PWC EU Services, University of Leuven and Carsa.


Marc Sundermann, Europe’s Media Lab Director, 

Antonia Loncar, Europe’s Media Lab Sr. Communication & Project Manager, 

P.S: On relevant calls for proposals the Commission continues its effort in shaping Europe’s digital life. The European media platforms call for nearly 6 mil EUR worth of grants, is set to improve the EU’s citizens’ access to trusted information across. The call will fund a maximum of three initiatives. Several stakeholders monitor this call closely and remain open to potential collaboration so do not hesitate to get in touch!

The multilingual EU affairs using European media platforms call for proposals aimed to increase the production, curation and circulation of professional and multilingual news media and non-functional content (in any format) on EU affairs in at least 5 EUlanguages.


For its second round Stars4Media announced the 185 media professionals, grouped around 30  initiatives involving  76 media organisations, selected as the beneficiaries of the programme’s second edition. The media partners will now put their projects and ideas into practice, benefitting from co-funding for their innovative proposals while cooperating across borders. The selected initiatives were chosen from the total of 101 submissions, across two Calls for Initiatives.

The Stars4Media Second Edition consortium partners (VUB University, European Federation of Journalists, WAN-IFRA and Europe’s MediaLab) are delighted to announce the upcoming virtual conference “#Media4Europe”.

The conference is the follow up event of Media4Europe Summit which took place on March 3rd this year, including a speech by the European Commission VP Věra Jourová. 

The conference will focus on:

  • Opportunities for cooperation between national media at European level, also supported by Stars4Media

  • Business transformation of the media sector and change management & skills

  • The digital and technological transformation of the media sector

  • Possibilities for news media to innovate through training programmes, Creative Europe and EU funding supporting news media’s (NEWS bundle)

It will bring together representatives from the Commission, MEPs, European media publishers, media associations, and technology companies.


Apple now wants to be your “News Partner” (meaning they’ll let you keep more of your readers’ cash if you join Apple News) (Nieman Lab)
Following Apple’s release of the ‘News Partner Program’’, publishers now only pay 15% of the subscription to their app, but news publishers need to publish a ’’robust’’ channel on apple news. In practice, the News Partner Program only matters for publishers who already make more than $1 million in annual App Store sales.. Last year, The New York Times pulled its content from Apple News, maybe this deal would change their mind?
Read also: As it faces more scrutiny, Apple will reduce App Store fees if publishers provide Apple News content (CNBC)

Facebook can lead users down vaccine misinformation rabbit hole (EURACTIV)
Global advocacy group Avaaz held an investigation on Facebook’s  algorithm behavior. The investigation focused on content recommendation for the  to new users who have not interacted with the anti-vaccine posts. The results showed that it did not take long before pages spreading vaccine misinformation were being recommended to users.

Laure Durand-Viel, Chantal Rubin et Carole Vachet, la task force qui veut réguler les contenus des Gafam (La Lettre A)
‘’Les ministères de l’économie et de la culture ont formé une équipe chargée d’élaborer la position française sur le “Digital Services Act” européen. Sous la conduite du cabinet de Cédric O, ces hauts fonctionnaires ont œuvré à la transposition anticipée du DSA via le projet de loi séparatismes.’’

Droits voisins : l’heure du rassemblement a sonné (Le Point)
Jean-Marie Cavada va présider l’organisme de gestion collective destiné à négocier les droits voisins de la presse avec les géants du numérique. Il a déclaré: « L’indépendance économique de la presse est une condition indispensable de son indépendance éditoriale, au service des libertés. Ce qui est en jeu dans ce sujet économique, c’est l’un des fondements de notre démocratie ».

Gernelle – Google, entreprise malfaisante (Le Point)

Is Facebook Buying Off The New York Times? (Washington monthly)
In October 2019, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook News, with The New York Times as a marquee paid partner, getting prime placement in a new vertical designated for “trusted” news sources. “We always reserved our rights to do what we needed to do for our own business and to continue to fund our journalism in the interim,” New York Times CEO Thompson insisted “I don’t really see this as a conflict of interest or an issue of principle, it’s the real world.” But ‘’Once news outlets take any amount of money from Facebook, it becomes difficult for them to let it go’’, notes Mathew Ingram, chief digital writer for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Following a study showing that YouTube’s algorithm is fuelling harmful content, the platform has pledged to increase information from trusted sources and decrease the spread of videos containing harmful misinformation in an effort to improve its response to dangerous and misleading content.’’ (EURACTIV Digital brief) Meanwhile, Facebook takes action against ‘disinformation dozen’ after White House pressure (CNN)

German publisher Axel Springer to acquire US news website Politico (EURACTIV)
‘’Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner told German news outlet Handelsblatt that Politico is its biggest investment ever, without mentioning the price. Politico was not immediately available for comment.’’

Media crisis: Democracy forum calls for state intervention (DW)
‘’It is a critical moment for journalism. Circulation is sinking and fake news is undermining the credibility of the media. Many outlets have seen their budgets slashed. Some say it is time for the state to intervene.’’

La dépendance des médias à l’égard des GAFA met à mal l’indépendance de la presse (VoxEurop)

Google, Facebook, Microsoft top EU lobbying spending (EURACTIV)
“Commission high-level officials held 271 meetings, 75 percent of them with industry lobbyists. Google and Facebook led the pack.
In spite of publicly supporting these proposals, meeting minutes, leaked lobbying strategies and position papers show Big Tech are still lobbying against them, trying their best to water down any hard rule”, a Corporate Europe’s study shows.
Green MEP Alexandra Geese says that it is “unacceptable how tech companies dominate the public debate on digital legislation, especially DSA/DMA, through their direct access to the European Commission and legislators, as well as through think tanks and academic institutions funded by them.” and that “we need more independent experts in academia: even for lawmakers it is difficult to find expert advice by academic institutions that are not funded by tech. This is not in the best interest of our citizens.“
Read here the Commission’s response to the study: Commission won’t monitor lobbying access despite growing Big Tech pressure (EURACTIV)

Open Letter to EU Policy-Makers: How the Digital Services Act (DSA) can Tackle Disinformation (EU DisinfoLab)
More than 50 civil society organisations and #disinformation experts have signed an open letter urging EU policymakers to revisit the proposed Digital Services Act (#DSA) and include stronger measures for tackling disinformation: ‘’the DSA already contains a number of good things: safeguards to prevent over-removals of content and explicit language on the need to tackle systemic risks tied to “information manipulation”. But this is not nearly enough. That is why, we identify 6 areas that should be addressed, meeting objectives of greater platform accountability and more democratic oversight’’.


Full text: Our open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (News Media Canada)

Publishers rethink their value to stave off subscription fatigue among new paying readers (Digiday)

Comment les GAFA engrangent des millions de subventions avec leurs datacenters (Korii)

Google appeals France’s ‘disproportionate’ €500 million fine in copyright row (EURACTIV)

Google, condamné à payer 500 millions d’euros de droits voisins en France, fait appel (LeParisien)

Interested in more news and articles regarding the media sector? Follow @EuropeMediaLab on Medium to have access to our posts and archive, comment and share with your views to enhance the discussion around the media!

Check out some of our articles:

European strategy for the media sector? Possible keywords for 2019–2024

Cristophe Leclercq’s Net Take: “Avoid Censorship, Dilute Fake News with Quality”

#TackleFakeNews : Co-regulation? Leveraging media fact-checking into platform algorithms