What are the selection criteria?
The selection criteria are:
- Degree of relevance to the predefined theme or topic publicised with the call;
- Relevance of the angle chosen, storyline and storytelling approach, based on a detailed synopsis with good sequences and strong characters;
- Proven professional journalistic skills of the proposed implementation team supported by relevant references;
- Adequation of the pitched story/budget/story duration;
- Innovative approach in terms of technical skills and/or response to the theme;
- Potential impact on the target audience and general public;
- Efficiency, realism, and credibility of the budget;
- Efficiency and credibility of the production timeline;
- Evidence of links to other components of the project (such as prior participation in training);
- Clarity and quality of the proposal overall;
- Adequate dissemination and broadcasting plan and indication of audience reach.
What do you mean by “impact”?
Impact means that your story should have a concrete, tangible motivation or objective, for instance to explain and illustrate an important issue, or to raise public awareness of facts that are not widely known. Impact also entails that your production reaches a substantial audience and somehow changes that audience, too, e.g., through better knowledge or by pointing to new opportunities for action.
What do you mean by “dissemination”?
Dissemination means that your production must be published on one or more channels (television broadcasters or video news portals) that reach large audiences in your country. Generally speaking, the larger the audience, the better. You will have to produce a Letter of Intent from at least one eligible outlet in your country that clearly states their readiness to broadcast or otherwise publish your story once it is finished. Typically, dissemination also includes promotion. Please think about how you and your outlet(s) can promote the story and also discuss promotion with your commissioning editor(s).
What do you mean by “syndication”?
Syndication means that your production gets published by additional media outlets, typically in other countries and only after its original publication. In such a way, syndication increases the audience reach and impact of your story. Open Media Hub will look for syndication opportunities for your production, but you are encouraged to do so as well and to mention such plans in your application.
What do you mean by “innovative approach”?
We encourage stories that go above and beyond the usual day-to-day news business. We consider a story innovative if it takes a fresh, unusual, and appealing journalistic approach to its topic as such, or to the narrative presentation of the topic. Where appropriate, design, editing, sound, or graphics may play a role as well. However, please do not focus on innovation as an end in itself – a good topic and story are more important!
Do I own the copyright of the final production and can I sell it to additional media outlets?
You (or your outlet, depending on your contractual arrangements) will be the co-producers of your story with OPEN Media Hub and ultimately the EU, and we all will therefore own the copyright and be able to grant the right to use or publish it to any third parties.
How do I demonstrate track record?
Track record has two dimensions: the track record of the media outlet, and the references of the persons involved in production. Track record of the media does not need to be proven in detail if it is very well known and publicly accessible; for lesser-known or smaller outlets, please provide documentation since when it is in operation, what kind of contents it has produced and distributed over the last years, and how it plays a role in the opinion-forming process in your country. For individuals, please provide CVs and recent examples of their work (for work available online, links are sufficient) as references.
When will I be able to apply for other EU Neighbourhood countries than the ones mentioned in the current call?
Open Media Hub publishes its calls by clusters, meaning that calls will be open for a small number of countries at a time. Your country will be part of a future cluster. Please visit this website regularly, or subscribe to our newsletter to be notified.
Will the award decision be final, or will there still be room to negotiate and improve the project?
Unless everything in your application is absolutely crystal-clear, we will likely negotiate with you about some aspects of your project. We might have clarification questions, suggest improvements, or have thematic, productional or budgetary recommendations – all with the aim to make the outcome even better!
Why am I obliged publicly to indicate that my production received support from the European Union?
We believe that all journalists should be open about who has financed their work, especially if the funder is a government, international organisation, or other interest group, so the audience can judge the story’s credibility on its own. While the European Union will not exercise influence on the editorial contents of the productions supported through Open Media Hub, and while it is not seeking public relations but journalistic content, it is a government entity and also deserves acknowledgement of the financial support it provides. Only under exceptional circumstances which you will need to explain, the transparency obligation may be waived – for instance, if EU funding puts the journalists or outlets at risk in their respective countries.
What will Open Media Hub and the European Union do with my production?
We will share your production on our Content Sharing Platform (https://openmediahub.com/access-stories/) for use and re-use with media outlets outside of your country in order to increase its audience reach and to spread knowledge about your country to the rest of Europe and the world. Open Media Hub and the European Commission will be co-producers, and therefore co-own the copyright for unlimited use of the production as a whole or its elements.
Can I have support other than financial from Open Media Hub?
Yes. We strongly encourage you to avail yourself of all the offers of Open Media Hub: Training events, tutoring, and on-demand advice and practical support as needed. Engagement with Open Media Hub activities will also increase the likelihood that you receive production support; it is, however, not mandatory.
What are the technical requirements for videos?
The technical specifications will be set forth in the production support agreement. We require the final edited story with 2-channel audio mono (channel 1: natural sound and sound bites, channel 2: commentary in the original language) as well as supplementary materials (such as full script and transcripts in English and original footage).
TV System – 1080 50i OR 25p (16:9)
In-Camera recording codec: High Definition H.264, AVC, DVCProHD or Intra HD
Recording Bitrate: 50Mbits/sec ideal. 35Mbits/sec acceptable.
Please advise if your camera is not capable of achieving these minimum requirements.
You may edit using the app of your choice as long as the footage can be edited at full quality within your chosen editing environment. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro are recommended. Your final Master story should always be delivered in the following format:
Video: H264 1920×1080 50i or 25p @ 10,000kpbs, Upper Field First
Audio: 48KHz, MPEG-4 AAC @ 192Kpbs. 2 track, mono audio
Track one: Natsound / soundbites
Track two: Voice over (local language)
Clean Video: No Branding of any kind. No fonts, logos, watermarks, stings, lower thirds or subtitles.
Why do I have to fill in a risk assessment form?
We believe it is important that you do not put yourself and others at risk while covering the story and ask you to identify all potential risk you may face during the production. The risks and mitigation measures in the template are of an indicative nature and you should adapt them to your situation.
Do you have any additional tips for a good application?
Be concise and thoroughly follow the guidelines specified on the website and the requirements outlined in the online application form.
What is the maximum amount of the stipend that can be used for freelance fees?
Freelance fees should be in proportion to the amount of journalistic work produced, but there is no maximum percentage.
We want to apply as a team of journalists, how should we structure our proposal?
Please assign one person as the applicant, who will also sign the contract, and clearly describe the rest of the team in your application.
I want to send you my application via an encrypted channel rather than via the online form. Can I do this?
No, we currently do not support encryption.
Will funding be given to the journalist or the media organisation?
As a standard, funding will be transferred to the media outlet or otherwise eligible organisation. In the case of applications of individual journalists or teams of journalists, the applicant person will receive the payments.
When are applicants notified of decisions regarding their applications?
Please refer to the relevant call for expressions of interest. Each round of calls will be published with a submission deadline five weeks after publication. The award decision will be made approximately within 4 weeks, and the production support agreement signed within a maximum of three weeks after the award decision. The first disbursement will be made within three weeks of the signature of the agreement. Production to be done within one month and a maximum of three months.
Can I ask for (additional) money for translations?
No, translations should be budgeted within the application budget. We encourage non-English speakers to include translation costs to ensure quality English for pitches and reports.
How can I be sure that my proposal has been received?
All applicants will receive a confirmation email reading: “Thank you for pitching us your project. Following the application deadline, each applicant will be notified by email of the final decision.” If you haven’t received a confirmation email, please send an email to the relevant address below:
Southern Neighbourhood countries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Neighbourhood countries: email@example.com
I am not working for a media organisation in any of the countries mentioned in the call, but have a story idea relevant to those countries. Can I still apply?
No. This project supports quality journalism for audiences in the EU Neighbourhood countries only. Therefore, an outlet in an eligible country is mandatory.
What is a Letter of Intent?
A Letter of Intent is a written confirmation from a media outlet that they will broadcast or publish your production once it is finished. The Letter of Intent should be signed by an authorised person (e.g. editor-in-chief, desk editor) and clearly indicate the planned time and place for publication.
I am not a citizen of any of the countries mentioned in the call. Can I still apply?
Yes. As long as your production will be published by an eligible media outlet in the EU Neighbourhood country that was indicated in the call, and meets the other relevant criteria, you do not need to be a local citizen. However, please consider that Open Media Hub prefers to support local journalists that live and work in the EU Neighbourhood.
My story idea does not have anything to do with the EU. Can I still apply?
No. This programme is all about the relations between the EU and the countries of the European Neighbourhood. That said, sometimes the connection of a topic with the EU may not be immediately obvious; in such cases please explain very thoroughly why your story idea is relevant.
I did not take part in any Open Media Hub activities yet. Can I still apply?
Yes. Participation in Open Media Hub activities is not mandatory. However, we encourage you to take part at any time before or after you submitted a proposal. Do also mention if you have followed similar trainings as those offered by Open Media Hub.
I am a freelance journalist. Can I apply on my own?
Yes. However, it is mandatory that you produce a Letter of Intent to publish your story from an eligible outlet.
I work for a website that is run by a non-governmental organisation or a private group. Is it an eligible outlet?
That depends. The website must be journalistic in nature (and not just advocate a certain position or mission) and have a significant audience reach and opinion-forming relevance in your country. Unless the website is extremely well known, please make sure that you give compelling arguments why it should be eligible (e.g., audience reach metrics, examples for its opinion-forming function).
I have a Letter of Intent from a transnational outlet (pan-Arabic, regional or European television broadcaster). Can I apply?
No. This programme specifically intends to support local media at country level in the European Neighbourhood. However, besides a Letter of Intent with a local eligible media outlet, a deal with transnational outlet could be part of your dissemination plan.
I have no access to television broadcasters. Can I also apply to create online video?
Yes. However, your production must be published by a journalistic website or portal with substantial reach and opinion-forming relevance in your country.
My news outlet has confirmed their intention to publish my production, but they cannot tell in advance exactly when and where. Can I still apply?
Yes. In such a case, please ask the outlet to describe as precisely as possible where and how they intend to publish your story, and which criteria will influence their eventual decision.
I do not speak English. Can I apply in my mother tongue?
We strongly encourage you to submit your application in English. Do not worry if your English is not very good – we will not hold linguistic mistakes against you. However, we also accept applications in French, Arabic, and Russian, as long as the summary pitch (first box of the application form) is in English.
I have already published a great story with EU or ENP relevance. Can I receive production support?
No. This programme does not give awards to already published stories. The production support programme provides funds to enable journalists and media organisations to perform new original work.
Can journalism students apply?
Yes, but only if you have a Letter of Intent from an eligible media organisation and relevant references.
I want to write a book. Can I apply for funding?
I want to write an academic research paper. Am I eligible?
How much financial support do you give for a production?
The amount of support will always take the topic, media outlet, and country into account and be proportionate to the typical prices and rates in your country.
The average budgets we expect to award are:
- For “Being 20” stories of 1’30” to 1’45”: €350-€800
- For a news piece up to 3 minutes: €250-€500;
- Story up to 8 minutes: €500-€1,500;
- Story up to 15 minutes: €1,000 – €3,000;
- Story up to 30 minutes or more: €2,500 – €7,000
- For productions intended for online media: €250-€1,500
When deciding on the length of your production, focus on what is best for the story, what kind of materials and interview partners you have lined up, and what best matches your professional capacities. Do not propose longer stories just in order to receive a higher budget – doing so will lead to rejection.
I would like to use Open Media Hub support to top up funding I have secured from a third party. Is that ok?
Yes. You may use Open Media Hub funding to co-finance a production, however, Open Media Hub and the European Union will be co-producers, no matter what, and thus co-owners of the copyright.
When will I receive the money?
We will pay out 30-50% of the amount upfront after signature of the production support agreement, make an interim payment for projects above €1,500, and disburse the remaining amount after delivery of the final production.
Can I have the payment in my local currency?
No. All financial transactions as well as financial proposal and reporting must be made in Euro (€), which is the currency in which the European Union has made available the media support budget. Please note that we do not cover currency exchange costs.
Can I buy equipment with the support money?
No. The production support only extends to personnel costs, travel costs directly related to reporting and production, and – where necessary – the rental of equipment. We will not reimburse acquisition costs for any technical or other items.
Will the production support cover taxes?
Compliance with any and all tax laws and regulations of your country is your own duty. Open Media Hub and the European Union will not assume any legal or financial responsibility. Hence, the amount set forth in the production support agreement is understood to be inclusive of statutory levies and applicable taxes. Please calculate accordingly.
What happens if I cannot finish the proposed production due to circumstances beyond my control?
If you can prove that you had to drop your production due to force majeure (such as unpredictable changes in the security situation, natural disasters, illness, etc.), we may, at our discretion, negotiate about the amount you already spent before the situation arose. To qualify for any exemption to refund, you will need to provide evidence of work done such as planning documents, drafts, rushes, recordings, rough edits and documents with invoices/receipts of costs spent. You will not receive further instalments. In all other cases, you will have to return any remaining money, will not receive future instalments, and we will seek legal remedies.
Why do you require a Letter of Intent?
A story that does not reach an audience is wasted. This is why we require a Letter of Intent from a publishing outlet with substantial reach.
I don’t have a Letter of Intent. Can I still submit a story pitch?
No. A Letter of Intent is an essential criterion for eligibility.
I am a freelance journalist. How do I get a Letter of Intent from a media outlet?
We recommend that you find out who the responsible desk editors are for your topic, pitch your story to them, and convince them that your story will be good. If you manage, the editors normally will be happy to give you a Letter of Intent. If there are difficulties, let Open Media Hub know and we will try to help: you will find a template in the application form.
I’m not sure whether my story pitch qualifies for this grant. Can I call you to discuss this?
No, story pitches will not be discussed over the phone. All inquiries should be sent in English by email to the relevant address below
Southern Neighbourhood countries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Neighbourhood countries: email@example.com
However, feel free to discuss your plans in person with our trainers at Media Hub events.
May I send an application directly by email?
No. Only applications received via the online application form will be considered.
Can I submit more than one story pitch?
Yes, you can submit more than one pitch.
In which language should my project be published or broadcast?
The journalistic output can be published or broadcast in any of the official languages of the eligible European Neighbourhood countries and the script should be in English
Can I reapply for a grant if I was awarded a grant in a previous call for applications?
My story pitch was not accepted in the first call for applications. Can I still apply a second time?
Yes, you can always submit another pitch if you were unsuccessful in a previous round. Please note that you should not resubmit the exact same pitch, but rather present a new or modified proposal.
Will you let me know the reasons why my application was rejected?
Unfortunately, we cannot give individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants.