The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund awarded almost €1.1 million in grants in 2020, allowing nearly 300 journalists across Europe to pursue cross-border projects in the public interest.
IJ4EU supported some 50 investigations under two grant programmes: the Investigation Support Scheme for new projects and the Publication Support Scheme for ongoing investigations requiring a cash injection to reach completion.
IJ4EU is a fund to support cross-border watchdog journalism in the European Union, run by the International Press Institute, the European Journalism Centre and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.
In its second year in operation, and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IJ4EU consortium provided urgently needed support to journalists and news organisations across Europe to carry out dozens of timely investigations on critical topics.
Selected projects cover a spectrum of public-interest topics, including health, the environment, organised crime, corruption, disinformation, human rights abuses and surveillance, to name just a few.
IJ4EU has solidified its position as a leading source of support for cross-border investigative journalism in Europe while strictly guaranteeing all grantees’ independence.
In 2020, 312 cross-border journalistic teams applied for a combined €8.9 million in funding from the IJ4EU fund.
- 260 teams applied to the Investigation Support Scheme, seeking a combined €8.4 million.
- 52 applied to the Publication Support Scheme, seeking a combined €496,000.
After a selection process that included vetting and shortlisting by internal and external advisors, and final decisions for the Investigation Support Scheme made by an independent expert jury, the IJ4EU fund disbursed €1.07 million to 49 projects.
All across Europe
The selected teams include almost 300 journalists based in 33 countries (every EU member state plus Britain and all official EU candidate countries). They represent news outlets operating across all types of media platforms as well as freelance journalists.
Stories published so far have appeared in a wide range of outlets, public and private, large and small, and on print, online, radio and television platforms.
These include Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Il Fatto Quotidiano, Bellingcat, Espresso, Publico, Rai, Mediapart, Rebublik, VoxEurop, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Atlatszo, Átlátszó Erdély, Investigative Centre of Jan Kuciak, OCCRP, CINS Serbia, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Oštro, VSquare, Onet, DoR, Taz, Investigate Europe, VPRO, Investico, Die Zeit, The Guardian, Äripäeva, Rahvusringhääling, LSM, British Medical Journal, EUobserver, Sme, Der Standard, Al Jazeera, Radio Free Europe, Disclose, Trends, Forbes, Teknisk Ukeblad, infoLibre, openDemocracy, Wirtualna Polska, Investigative Journalism Center “Siena”, Eesti Päevaleht, DELFI and more.
Training and support
In addition to funding, IJ4EU provides a comprehensive training and support programme for all selected teams, drawing on all three IJ4EU consortium partners’ networks, knowledge, and experience.
The consortium organised two specialist boot camps and 10 expert webinars in 2020. The events gave grantees training in fact-checking, verification, open-source intelligence, finding stories in data, legal dangers, digital security, interviewing, data visualisation and best practice for cross-border collaborations.
Trainers included top experts such as Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Cheryl W. Thompson; Paul Myers, the BBC’s online investigation specialist; Eoghan Sweeney, a pioneer of open-source intelligence; digital security advisor Ela Stapley; and Mark Lee Hunter, creator of the “story-based inquiry” method of investigation.
All IJ4EU teams are eligible for additional funding to cover unexpected legal costs. They can also access the Media Freedom Rapid Response mechanism if they encounter legal perils or press freedom threats.
IJ4EU’s second UNCOVERED conference will occur as a virtual event on April 14-15, 2021.
Bringing together investigative journalists, funders, policymakers and civil society members, the conference is on its way to becoming a leading European forum for discussing the challenges and opportunities for cross-border, collaborative watchdog journalism at a time of upheaval.
It will also provide an additional platform to highlight the crucial work done by the projects funded by IJ4EU.
Cover photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash