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Journalism Breakthroughs - Innovation in Media Organizing

September, 2019 - December, 2022
Open Society Foundations
Project managers
Research areas

CMDS has launched Journalism Breakthroughs to collect data and information about innovation in journalism and improve the ways (formats, channels and frequency) in which we package and disseminate content. 

Phase 1 of the project ran from September 1, 2019 to Sept 1, 2020 saw the publication of over 40 pieces of content, in a variety of formats - articles, podcasts, videos and animation -  covering a wide range of topics from business models to community radio, the impact of Covid-19 on innovations and collaborative journalism, just to name a few. Geographically, it included case studies and reporting from regions rarely covered when we discuss innovation in journalism such as Zimbabwe, Nepal, Mexico, Romania, Syria, Peru and Kazakhstan. 

Phase 2 of the project will run from October 1, 2020 until 31 October, 2021 and will build on the experience from the project’s first phase and will bring forward three complementing activities:

  1. Audience research. In order to better tailor the content, the format and the channels to the needs and preferences of our target audience (journalists and media practitioners primarily, but also researchers and policymakers, especially in countries underserved by research and information on innovation), we are proposing to conduct a mapping of needs of our target group. 
  2. Innovation Lab / Clinic. We will  develop the concept of an innovation lab or clinic, including a testing phase to see how the concept works. The main purpose of such a project is to give an opportunity for media organizations in need to consult with our wide network of experts on innovation, broadly understood (including business models, audience engagement, organizational structures etc.), which would serve the immediate needs of newsrooms facing various problems in their daily work.
  3. Content production. We will continue the production of content related to innovation in journalism, with the same commitment to diversity in topics, formats and geography. The audience research and the development of the innovation lab/clinic concept will provide rich material for publications.

Phase 3 of the project will run from January 1st to December 31st 2022 and will focus our work on collaboration in journalism. Building on the work we started in Phase 1 and 2, we will expand our inquiry into innovation, specifically looking at new ways in which media organizations from around the world organize in networks of support to fight for their rights, to fund their operations, and to create healthy media ecosystems. The focus of this new phase is to look at how solidarities can be developed within the media field (between media organizations), but also between the media field and other professional fields such as civil activism, human rights defense, research and academia, labor organizing and others.