Journalism is going through a period of upheaval. Old business models are becoming less and less effective. Media diversity is under threat. Non-profit journalism is one of many responses to what some people are calling the »crisis in the media«. We believe it is a necessary addition to state-funded and commercial journalism because a free press is a prerequisite for an open society and a vibrant democracy.
Through its various charitable funding activities, the Schöpflin Foundation supports and promotes the building of a sense of critical awareness in children, young people and young adults; equally it supports and promotes strong democracy and its further development. To achieve these goals, our society must be well-informed – and it is here that journalism has a central role to play.
Today, classic journalism of the type published by the media giants is going through a financial and structural crisis. State-funded media are trying to find a new role in an ever more digitalised society where most people below the age of 30 scarcely ever turn on the television for their news.
During this period of upheaval, we see non-profit journalism as a vital addition to the other forms of journalism currently on offer. While the major publishing houses are coming under increasing financial pressure and public broadcasters are becoming ever more main-stream, the non-profit journalism model adds an extra dimension to the mix.
As well as supporting actual journalism projects and initiatives, we also want to support all those business activities that are vitally important for the further development of non-profit journalism.
This includes the »Haus des gemeinnützigen Journalismus« project (»Non-Profit Journalism Centre«). Through this project we want to create a space where networking and collaboration can grow in order that journalism as a whole might flourish.
Foto: Jann Wilken
Amal is a group of journalists with a refugee background who live in Berlin and Hamburg and work together to produce local news in the Arabic and Persian languages. They have been online in Berlin since March 2017 and in Hamburg since April 2019. Amal publishes news, reports, videos and podcasts and informs those who have no access to German media. In this way, they help displaced people feel at home in Germany more quickly.
We are convinced that people who are aware of what is happening in their environment are more likely to join in, have their say and help shape events. But many newly arrived refugees get their news from media from their home countries or from international media outlets. These offer little information about political and social life in Germany. And for its part German media rarely targets its news at newly arrived refugees and displaced people. This means that often all that is left is social media offerings – but in many cases these are not true journalistic contributions; furthermore, they frequently reinforce prejudice and spread rumors. This is where Amal fills a gap, as evidenced by the increasing demand for its output. Amal is all about ensuring that information reaches specific target groups, which is why authorities and institutions are now looking to cooperate with the Amal project.
By working together with Amal, we want to achieve integration on two fronts. Firstly, Amal offers journalists who have had to leave their homeland - often due to oppression and persecution - an opportunity to continue practising their profession. 14 journalists in exile have been employed by Amal and, consequently, found a place in society. And secondly, these journalists are themselves now making an important contribution to bringing integration to the wider communities of refugees. Given that they now regularly write for German newspapers, they are also broadening the perspective of the majority society helping it to understand the perspective of the new arrivals – and this, in turn, is promoting mutual understanding and acceptance. Amal is now moving to the next phase: the plan is for the project to become an innovative social enterprise that increasingly generates its own budget.News
Fritt Ord Foundation
Nicolas Puech Foundation
Rudolf Augstein Stiftung
CIVITATES provides funding for civil society actors to come together, revitalise public discourse, and ensure that all voices are heard. Because we need a strong civil society to shape vibrant and open European democracies that work for all.
With its Sub-Fund »Public Interest Journalism in Europe«, CIVITATES aims to establish a strong cohort of independent public interest journalism organisations which defend democracy in Europe by exposing abuses of power and drivers of polarisation, and defending a space in which all voices are heard.
Our mutual goal is to support independent journalism and to help bring new funding into the sector, while providing structural, core support for the organisations in the field that need it the most.
Photo: NDR Jenny von Gagern
Bad news dominates the news agenda. The mantra »bad news is good news« still persists – because, so the thinking goes, »bad news« sells more papers and thus generates more profit. Constructive Journalism is an approach that promotes deeper thought that goes beyond the headlines. It is all about reporting the full context of issues and the potential solutions to those issues and problems.
The Schöpflin Foundation supported this year’s Constructive Journalism Day event. On 14th February 2019 the Hamburg Media School and the broadcaster, NDR Info, ran a one-day conference in Hamburg on this form of journalism.
The aim of the conference was to set out exactly what Constructive Journalism is – in all its forms. The initial comments, the presentation of issues and questions relating to practical experience and the various exercises were all designed to enable conference participants to work together and to encourage them to think along the lines of results-driven constructive journalism.
Keynote speeches highlighting their own experiences of working with Constructive Journalism were given by Tina Rosenberg (author at the New York Times and co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network) and Oliver Reinhard (deputy editor of the features section of the Sächsische Zeitung newspaper).
Rudolf Augstein Stiftung
CORRECTIV is the first non-profit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. CORRECTIV carries out extensive investigative research into stories that most other media ignore. CORRECTIV aims to give every citizen the information he or she needs in order to be able to understand the world. A key feature of what we do is to make our articles and contributions available to other media outlets, who can then publish them free of charge. It’s for this reason that CORRECTIV is also launching a journalism training programme so that as many people as possible can have access to the information.
A free press is a prerequisite for an open society and democracy. With the large publishing houses coming under increasing financial pressure, and state broadcasters tending to go ever more main-stream, the non-profit journalism model has an important role to play. This is where CORRECTIV comes in. It aims to give every publisher and every broadcaster in Germany access to its investigative and informative journalism so that the media can properly perform its watchdog role.
Together with CORRECTIV we want to work on the key questions currently facing our society. These include: What sort of future will our children have? How will we live together in the future? Who actually holds the reins of power in our democracy?
Photo: Diskutier Mit Mir
Diskutier Mit Mir e. V. is an initiative that encourages democratic dialogue. The NGO's goal and aspiration is to give all citizens a voice. The app of 'Diskutier Mit Mir' ('Discuss with me') opens safe spaces for digital exchange and brings people with different views into discussion. Every chat is a path to mutual understanding, every engagement and every contribution strengthens the central concern of 'Diskutier Mit Mir' to counteract hatred and polarization in our society. In this way, 'Diskutier Mit Mir' is aiming at hundreds of thousands of users in the run-up to the 2021 federal election.
Political discourse in Germany has become characterised by what are known as online »filter bubbles« – in other words we are, for the most part, connected with only those people who share our views. Pre-selected information, and a lack of discourse and political polarization create a divided society. Instead of well-thought-out debate, emotionally charged half-truths seem to be the order of the day. We are supporting the 'Diskutier Mit Mir' project because it promotes contact between people with diverging points of view.
We want to develop 'Discuss With Me' into a leading standard tool for political communication in Germany. The focus is on low-threshold offers for all those who otherwise do not feel listened to and who have so far hardly been involved in the debates. Our goal is to create positive experiences of democracy in order to overcome the growing distance between political actors and the 'invisible third' in society.
Fondation Nicolas Puech
EUobserver is a not-for-profit, independent online newspaper, established in Brussels in 2000. Independent European journalism is essential in making European democracy actually function. Today, there is a gap between the decision-makers in Brussels and the people they represent. EUobserver's goal is to fill this gap.
EUobserver plays a key role in monitoring and contextualizing Europe's political establishment and thus holds a critical function at a time of dwindling trust in EU decision-making, questioning of European solidarity in the face of the crisis, and the rise of polarization and authoritarianism.
The object of funding is to secure financial stability and grow EUobserver readership while keeping the newspaper's journalistic quality. Together, we aim in particular to strengthen reporting on public money invested in the European Union into greening of the economy.
The European Journalism Centre, founded in 1992, is an international non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands with the remit to improve, strengthen, and underpin journalism and the news media in the interest of a functioning democratic public sphere.
The Schöpflin Foundation and the European Journalism Centre (EJC) share the conviction that free access to information and a free press is a prerequisite for an open society and a cornerstone of democracy. The EJC is strengthening the resilience of European journalism by connecting journalists to new ideas, skills, people and funding with its programmes.
The EJC, Schöpflin Foundation, and other foundations are partnering on the Journalism Funders Forum (JFF). JFF is an open community of European foundations and journalists working together to ensure more effective and impactful funding of journalism in Europe.
Rudolf Augstein Stiftung
Luminate UK, PHINEO, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation and the Schöpflin Foundation are cooperating on a field report that
The report focuses on Germany, but also takes into account outstanding European and international examples. It will be published by the end of September 2020.
We are currently experiencing a reorganization of journalism: Obsolete and collapsing financing models, dependence on tech platforms and a crisis of trust and authority suggest that there is a lack of viable concepts for sustainable journalism.
One of many approaches to ensuring quality journalism for the future lies in the systematic and increased promotion of corresponding offers in the area of freedom of information and expression and journalism projects oriented towards the common good.
By identifying offers and potentials in the field, the report can serve as a guideline for funding decisions and provide quality-assured orientation for financial commitment. In this way, relevant actors in the field are supported and the journalistic commitment to the public benefit, as well as freedom of information and expression is strengthened in the long term.
FragDenStaat.de (literally ‘Ask-The-State’) is Germany’s freedom-of-information online platform. It enables everyone to obtain information from the authorities in a straightforward and transparent way. Using campaigns and strategic actions, FragDenStaat is improving the freedom-of-information ecosystem – and empowers journalists, campaign groups and private individuals to assert their right to information.
FragDenStaat is a digital infrastructure for democracy. As such it fulfils the goals of freedom-of-information legislation and creates transparency. This improves the democratic process by which opinions are formed and decisions made. It also facilitates better monitoring and oversight of how the state operates.
We want more people to benefit from FragDenStaat. To achieve this, we are developing new campaigns for greater openness with environmental information for example; we are expanding the platform’s functionality; and we are bringing new strategic legal actions relating to freedom of information.News
Duration of building project still to be confirmed. Start of construction work: 2018
approx. € 25 m
In 2018 work will begin in Berlin on building a place where people will be able to learn how to gather information and news, how to edit it, and then how to disseminate it. It will be a place where people do media; a place for networking and a place for the future. This 500-square-meter, multi-storey building will house a newsroom, co-working work-spaces, living and relaxation space, a café, a restaurant and an event space. The bringing together of creatives from all fields – illustrators, media professionals, programmers, playwrights, film professionals and teachers, to name but a few – could give rise to totally new forms of non-profit journalism, and completely new products.
To have free and non-profit journalism you need an infrastructure and networking opportunities. In this way, synergies can be achieved and skills passed on. The building of the Haus des gemeinnützigen Journalismus is also about providing a space for a critical public.
The Haus des gemeinnützigen Journalismus will be a place where networking and collaboration can happen and where journalism in general can be further developed. While the centre will be equipped to meet the needs of regional and local media, it will also be able to welcome other European media professionals, thus giving the venue a true international feel.
France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal
Investigate Europe brings together nine investigative journalists from eight countries who, together, are researching issues which are of major significance socially and politically across Europe. The results of this research will be jointly published and will be further disseminated across Europe by other media partners. Investigate Europe’s media partners include Tagesspiegel, Publico, Aftenbladet, Newsweek Polska, Il Corriere della Sera and Falter.
The issues that affect our society both nationally and internationally are becoming ever more complex. At the same time, it is becoming more and more difficult for people to have an overview and to obtain relevant information. In order to ensure that we are all able to play a part in the ongoing democratic shaping of our society we, as a society, need to be able to make sound judgements. Investigate Europe is working to make this possible.
Together we want to ensure that the research carried out by Investigate Europe can be accessed by a much larger target audience across the whole of Europe. As well as expanding the network of partner media organisations in individual countries, it is also vital that we further improve Investigate Europe’s level of professionalisation and develop its internal structures.
Netzwerk Recherche e.V. was founded in 2001 by a group of journalists in order to bolster investigative and quality journalism in Germany. By 2017 this not-for-profit network had notched up more than 800 members from every branch of the media industry. In order to share its research techniques, the network runs conferences – like the network’s annual conference attended by some 900 journalists – and produces publications. Netzwerk Recherche directly supports journalistic work through research grants and provides bursaries for journalism projects.
By partnering with Netzwerk Recherche e.V. we believe there is an opportunity to further strengthen and grow investigative and non-profit journalism and thereby establish it as a third and important pillar of journalism, alongside the journalism provided by the major publishing houses and by state media.
Together we want to show that there are new ways to set up and finance non-profit journalism. The joint ‘Grow Bursary’ programme supports start-ups and non-profit journalism, helping them to implement their projects.News
[Translate to English:] Bild: dpa
#UseTheNews ist ein breit angelegtes, mehrjähriges Projekt mit Partner*innen aus Medien und Medienforschung. Es verfolgt das Ziel, Nachrichtennutzung und Nachrichtenkompetenz genauer zu verstehen, bessere Nachrichtenangebote insbesondere für jüngere Menschen zu entwickeln und die Vermittlung von Nachrichtenkompetenz in Deutschland zu verbessern.
Ziel der Förderung ist die Durchführung einer Fachkonferenz am 15. September 2021 zum Thema Nachrichtenkompetenz, die sich an Journalist*innen und Lehrkräfte richtet. Die Tagung wird von netzwerk recherche e.V. gemeinsam mit der Deutschen Presse-Agentur (dpa) und der Behörde für Kultur und Medien Hamburg (BKM) durchgeführt.
Die Fachkonferenz soll dazu beitragen, die Vermittlung von Nachrichtenkompetenz in Schule und Alltag zu stärken. Nachrichtenkompetenz ist in der heutigen Zeit eine Grundvoraussetzung für eine kritische Bewusstseinsbildung bei Kindern, Jugendlichen und jungen Erwachsenen sowie für eine starke Demokratie und deren Weiterentwicklung.
#UseTheNews ist eine gemeinschaftliche Förderung unserer Programmbereiche Medien & Gesellschaft und Lernen & Partizipation.
Photo: Benjamin Jenak
Open Society Foundations
GLS Treuhand e.V.
Veto Magazine for Protest and Responsibility is published by Rederei gUG, a Dresden-based agency for dialogue and political and societal engagement that develops strategies and concepts to promote engagement and commitment throughout society. It also offers political education projects on news.
Who and what is “civil society”? It is precisely because these questions often go unanswered that Rederei gUG launched Veto magazine with the aim of making political and societal engagement and commitment visible in Germany. From 2020 there will be a quarterly print edition of the magazine. Veto wants to be the voice of the ranks of thousands of politically and socially engaged individuals and to show what they do and achieve, day in day out.
Veto magazine fills a gap in the media landscape because Germany has no comparable media outlet that brings together and disseminates the knowledge, experience and the ideas of the country’s politically and socially engaged and committed individuals. Together we shall ensure that the general public is made fully aware of successful strategies and projects.
International and national
up to € 5,000
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring about positive change. Through its »Rapid Response Grants« the Schöpflin Foundation provides organisations and projects with straightforward and rapid financial support - enabling them to implement their innovative and sustainable ideas, projects and initiatives. The maximum grant is €5,000 per project, no applications ca be submitted.
Investigate Europe gSCE mbH | Coaching for prospective founders in the field of journalism
International and national
up to € 5,000
Aktion gegen den Hunger | As part of the Human Rights Festival Berlin 2020, the »Climate Story Lab« is taking place, where work is being done on innovative, sustainable storytelling as a communication medium for communicating the climate crisis.
Dis:orient - Video News | Freelance journalist Nalan Sipar provides video news on Covid-19 in Turkish on youtube, informing about the current status of the pandemic and about the virus and the political and economic measures.
Photo: KU Kreatives Unternehmertum
KU Kreatives Unternehmertum gGmbH has devoted itself to business education and promotes a new approach to education in terms of how to shape the society in which we live. The approach involves organisations and individuals having an entrepreneurial impact on, with and for society that is orientated towards the common good and the public interest. From its premises it carries out research into the liveable future and, together with other pioneering organisations, devises education formats for groups and organisations that shape society. The work is interdisciplinary and inter-generational.
Local media enable citizens to take part in democracy; guarantee public scrutiny; contribute to a sense of identifying with the local environment; and even go so far as to act as a counterbalance to the global sphere of influence. But how can this form of journalism be financed and organised now that the traditional ways of working are no longer valid? On 18th October 2018 around 100 participants from a wide range of sectors came together to look at these issues and to discuss new models that could be developed for collaboration between the business world, civil society and public-service broadcasters. We support this type of event because local journalism has a key role to play in the future of our democracy.
Journalism, it would seem, is no longer a successful business model. Today, it’s all about attracting attention and as many readers as possible – and far less about actual information. In the digital world, businesses place their adverts wherever they can attract the highest number of mouse clicks. The danger is that journalism becomes little more than a side-show – which results in a loss of democratic opinion-forming and democratic diversity. The aim of the ‘Local Journalism and Democracy’ conference was to rediscover local journalism as an expression of corporate social responsibility through multiple visions and perspectives.
The majority of media articles are predominantly negative. Studies show that this leads to a skewed perception of reality and needless pessimism. The Noah Foundation therefore promotes journalism that focuses on opportunities and solutions. This gives readers a more balanced world view and increases the likelihood that they will play a more constructive role in society.
High-quality and constructive journalism contributes to a more optimistic and responsible moulding of society. It is therefore important to strengthen this form of journalism so that it becomes a truly integral part of what shapes public opinion.
Together we have strengthened and grown support for solution-oriented journalism. In addition to regular, tried and tested bursaries for journalists, the Noah Foundation has developed its innovative Good News App.News
"Critical and high-quality journalism enables me to participate in society. Achieving this for as many people as possible and thereby contributing to greater democracy is the very bedrock of our Media & Society program."
Lukas Harlan is head of the Media & Society program at the Schöpflin Foundation. He has worked as a founder, social entrepreneur, and cultural and educational manager. For many years, he has been advising civil society organizations on strategy and development issues. He studied philosophy, cultural reflection and public policy at the Universities of Witten/Herdecke and the Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin.