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IPI Local News Accelerator Programme 2024

The International Press Institute (IPI) is pleased to announce submissions for the Local News Accelerator Programme to support digital innovation in local journalism’s editorial and business models around the world.

IPI’s Local News Accelerator is a four-month programme where you and your organization will build the foundations to develop a financially and editorially sustainable local media business. The programme, already in its second edition, will offer personalized advisory services, tools and guidance to help you reach audiences and empower your teams to grow into an engaged, responsive media brand during and after the accelerator.

The Local News Accelerator will provide training and coaching for two types of projects:

  • The development of audience-centric products or services, with a focus on news gathering, crowd-sourcing revenues, and the creating or distribution of an outlet’s reporting with the goal of revenue diversification and building deeper engagement with target audiences. 
  • Strategy for digital transformation in an existing newsroom or other organizational plans leveraging innovation for sustainability and increased competitiveness that ultimately grow the quality of independent news ecosystems worldwide.
Why apply?
  • The accelerator has been designed to support local newsrooms getting started or pivoting their business with the structure and support to identify and deliver solutions that will advance their projects toward financial and editorial sustainability. From the work with local, regional and niche publishers, they understand the key challenges you’re facing. IPI’s in-house experts will therefore conduct a comprehensive one-on-one needs assessment and provide guidance and personalized advisory services for successful applicants to maximize their benefits from the programme.
Key Activities
  • One month of direct needs assessments to identify your challenge, problem statement and roadmap solutions.
  • Intensive training focused on tools and skills that can be transferred to your newsroom well beyond the duration of the accelerator, focused on problem solving and identifying solutions, audience research, strategic planning, journalism formats built for user engagement, digital business models and diversifying revenue models.
  • One-on-one personalized advisory services bespoke to the needs of your newsroom, with flexible, on-demand industry-experts as coaches during the accelerator.
  • Access to a networking platform with the current cohort, expert coaches, all programme alumni and a network of local news practitioners.
  • Access to an e-learning platform with training modules and recordings from industry-leaders. Monthly “Ask-Me-Anything” sessions allowing attendees to directly pose questions to industry experts.
  • Group coaching sessions with peers developing similar projects.
  • Speaker sessions based on themes determined in the needs assessments.
Who can apply?
  • The Local News Accelerator is open to small to mid-sized local newsrooms seeking to transform their journalism, products or business by investing in audience research, experimenting with new revenue models, deepening audience engagement, or investing in new content and distribution products based on user needs, among other strategies. Newsrooms are welcome to apply if they have:
    • a clearly identified challenge or problem they want to solve; 
    • a plan on how to address the challenge or problem they face;
    • recently conducted audience research or other market testing activities;
    • willingness and a plan to reach out to new audiences with quality content. 
  • To apply, you must have a team of two staff members declared that will participate through the accelerator’s duration of four months.
Eligibility Criteria
  • You should be a media organization (no geographic limitations) and demonstrate a clear focus on serving local audiences, with news tailored to the specific needs of the local community.
  • Your organization should demonstrate a commitment to producing quality original journalism, adherence to ethical journalism practices and commitment to press freedom.
  • You must submit a proposal outlining a specific need and solution (Note: it is anticipated that this project will change or evolve during the accelerator period).
  • Your organization must have a team of at least two individuals who are willing to commit to accelerator activities throughout the four months (this is estimated at a time commitment of four hours per week, divided between the team of two).
  • Your media venture should have a solid business case and understanding of their audience, backed up by audience or market research.
  • Your media should demonstrate a willingness to explore and implement new ideas, tools and technologies to enhance storytelling and audience engagement, while learning from experts and each other.
  • Your media should have a clear vision for the future of their media organization, including plans for how they will grow, expand and/or adapt.

For more information, visit IPI.

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