Location: Europe (flexible)

Deadline for applications: March 15, 2021

Purchase of services for an external evaluation of Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) – funding cross-border investigative journalism in Europe

A consortium led by the International Press Institute (IPI) and including the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) seeks tenders from potential providers to conduct a final evaluation of the IJ4EU programme, which supports cross-border investigative journalism in European Union member states and candidate countries.

With funding from the European Commission and several co-donors, the current IJ4EU project period runs until April 30, 2021.

The final evaluation is scheduled to take place during the final month of the project period, from March 20 to April 20, 2021.

Terms of Reference

Background

The programme’s overall objective is to continue the facilitation and development of serious cross-border journalistic research within the European Union, following IJ4EU’s pilot implementation in 2018 and in line with the EU’s objective of encouraging journalistic work on issues of common interest to its citizens and therefore strengthening the European media and the public sphere.

The specific objectives and expected results of the programme to be evaluated are:

  • Contribute to a vigorous news ecosystem across Europe by providing the financial resources to enable cross-border investigative journalism. Indicators: A series of cross-border investigative journalism projects are published/broadcast;
  • Stimulate and/or bolster collaborative working partnerships among teams of journalists working in different EU members states and/or candidate countries. Indicators: Teams of journalists based in different countries come together to act as watchdogs on issues of cross-border public interest and as shields of solidarity when a colleague faces risks associated with their investigative work;
  • Promote a diverse media landscape. Indicators: Grantees publish their stories in emerging media outlets, widening the public perception of trustworthy sources of information;
  • Build up journalists’ knowledge and resilience through training and by fostering networking engagement across borders. Indicators: Grantees undergo in-depth training and participate in the IJ4EU conference on investigative journalism in Europe;
  • Contribute to foster debate on common issues across borders, creating a more pluralistic coverage of issues of public interest. Indicators: The publication of cross-border investigations is followed by engagement from the public perceptible through social media, namely by sharing the hashtag #IJ4EU; and
  • Stimulate innovation in the field of European investigative journalism. Indicators: Prizes are awarded to innovative cross-border investigative journalism projects; journalists receive training and mentoring on how to make their storytelling more attractive to the audience and use such techniques in their work.

The activities conducted under the programme consisted in 1. The design and implement a cross-border investigative funding scheme, 2. The selection of grantees ensuring a geographical and thematic balance, 3. Providing practical support and training to the journalists involved in the funding scheme, 4. The disbursement of funds and sound financial management, and 5. Ensuring the dissemination of results and communication with the grantees.

Objectives of the evaluation

An indicative list of the areas of assessment is provided below. The evaluation questions can be further refined by the provider carrying out the evaluation.

Relevance: Assess whether the funds from the European Commission (and other co-donors) contributed to the development and implementation of serious cross-border investigative journalism across Europe.

  • To what extent did IJ4EU achieve its overall objectives?
  • To what extent did IJ4EU contribute to the development of cross-border investigative journalism projects?
  • To what extent did the two funding schemes achieve their specific goals?

Effectiveness: Assess whether the grant was implemented effectively and efficiently by the partners in the consortium to fulfil the planned deliverables, especially amid upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • To what extent were the planned activities carried out and were these delivered within the planned budget and timetable?
  • Were risks properly identified and managed?
  • How effective was the programme’s design in the success of the project? (Elements of the programme’s design include the roles and responsibilities of consortium partners; the model of IJ4EU as an intermediary organisation distributing public and philanthropic money to journalistic projects without compromising editorial independence; the selection of projects; the work of the independent jury and so on.)

Impact: Assess the changes resulting from the programme (positive/negative, direct/indirect, intended/unintended).

  • What measurable impact, if any, did IJ4EU-supported investigations have on policy, public discourse or any specific outcomes?
  • How did IJ4EU help to consolidate collaborative work between journalists across the EU?
  • To what extent did IJ4EU help build trust in fact-based, impartial watchdog journalism?
  • To what extent has IJ4EU acted as a proof of concept that public and philanthropic money can support quality journalism without infringing on editorial independence?

Sustainability and replicability: Assess whether the impacts achieved through the programme are likely to be sustained after the current funding period and if they are replicable in other regions.

  • What are the prospects of the programme being sustained?
  • To what extent has a combination of government (EC) grants and private philanthropy been successful in contributing to the production of independent journalism in the public interest?
  • To what extent are the outputs of the project (i.e., supported investigations) likely to continue fostering debate across borders and result in progressive change?

Learning Review: Identify and expand upon lessons learned that have not been drawn in the sections above.

  • This section will cover any key areas that have not featured in the sections above and that may surface throughout the evaluation process.

Methodology and deliverables

The selected provider will:

  • Review all grant-related documents;
  • Assess the impact of published/broadcast investigations that benefitted from the support of IJ4EU;
  • Interview staff from the consortium organisations involved in the project, including project managers and senior management;
  • Interview a broad cross-section of IJ4EU grantees;
  • Other relevant activities.

All interviews with grantees will remain confidential and anonymised. During all contacts with stakeholders, the independent evaluation provider will clearly identify themselves as independent consultants and not as an official representative of the consortium behind IJ4EU.

The consultant will provide one draft report (approximately 30 pages long) covering all areas noted in Section 2. It shall be submitted to IPI by April 20, 2021. The final report – which incorporates or has responded to any internal feedback provided on the draft version – should be submitted to IPI by April 30, 2021.

Eligibility criteria

The selected provider will need relevant subject knowledge and experience conducting journalism-related evaluations.

The independent evaluation provider must be strictly neutral, and they will not have had any involvement in the project prior to this activity, so as to avoid any potential conflict of interests.

Award criteria

Quality of the offer (60%), including:

  • Methodology proposed;
  • Previous experience in evaluating journalism-related projects/programmes;
  • Technical competence and experience in conducting evaluation from a distance/by video conference.

Financial offer (40%).

Eligible tenderers will be invited for an interview to discuss their credentials and proposed plan. All tenderers will be informed about the outcome of their submission by email.

Applications

Interested parties must provide a short proposal outlining their approach (two pages maximum). This should be accompanied by:

  • CV(s) of staff who will be involved in carrying out the evaluation;
  • A proposed methodology for carrying out the monitoring and evaluation;
  • Ideally, one example of an evaluation report recently completed in English.

Tenders shall be submitted by email only (with attachments) to the email address info@ipi.media with the reference “IJ4EU 2020/21 evaluation”. Deadline for submission: March 12, 2021.

Interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place between March 16-17 and these will be conducted remotely to address COVID-19 related health and safety risks.

Other considerations

The assignment shall be conducted remotely, following all COVID-19 safety recommendations.

The maximum amount available for the evaluation of the project, covering all the deliverables to be achieved by the selected tenderer as listed above, is 20,000 Euros. The allocated budget includes consultancy fees, and travel and subsistence if relevant and in line with COVID-19 safety rules, and translation costs, if any.

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