Applications open for the International Press Institute Local News Accelerator Program.

The International Press Institute Local News Accelerator Program is a global initiative that supports the advancement of digital innovation in local journalism’s editorial and business models. Through a four-month program, participants and their organizations will have the opportunity to establish a strong foundation for the development of a financially and editorially sustainable local media business. This program, now in its second edition, offers personalized advisory services, tools, and guidance to help participants reach their target audiences and empower their teams to become an engaged and responsive media brand, both during and after the accelerator.

There are several reasons why you should apply for this accelerator.

Firstly, it is specifically designed to assist local newsrooms in their early stages or during a business pivot, providing them with the necessary structure and support to identify and implement solutions that will drive their projects towards financial and editorial sustainability. Drawing from our experience working with local, regional, and niche publishers, we understand the challenges you face, and our in-house experts will conduct a comprehensive one-on-one needs assessment to provide personalized guidance and advisory services to successful applicants, ensuring they maximize the benefits of the program.

So, how does the program work?

The format is based on IPI’s innovation learning journey, which was successfully piloted during our 2023 Local News Accelerator. Publishers from various countries, including Indonesia, Ecuador, Uganda, South Africa, and more, experienced tangible benefits such as increased readership, doubled subscriber numbers, the development of new onboarding tools and engagement channels, and the successful launch of membership models through impactful crowdfunding campaigns. One significant advantage repeatedly mentioned by participants was the opportunity to connect with other members of the cohort, allowing them to build a community with media organizations facing similar challenges and share valuable ideas and insights.

Key Activities

  1. The key activities of our program include conducting direct needs assessments to understand your specific challenges and develop a roadmap for solutions. We also provide intensive training that focuses on equipping your newsroom with tools and skills that can be applied even after the accelerator program ends. This training covers problem-solving, audience research, strategic planning, user engagement in journalism formats, digital business models, and diversifying revenue models.
  2. Additionally, we offer personalized advisory services tailored to the unique needs of your newsroom. Our team of industry experts will be available as coaches throughout the accelerator program, providing flexible and on-demand support.
  3. You will also have access to a networking platform where you can connect with the current cohort, expert coaches, program alumni, and a network of local news practitioners. This platform will facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  4. Furthermore, our e-learning platform provides training modules and recordings from industry leaders. We also organize monthly “Ask-Me-Anything” sessions, giving you the opportunity to directly ask questions to industry experts.
  5. To foster peer learning and collaboration, we organize group coaching sessions with other participants who are working on similar projects.
  6. Lastly, we arrange speaker sessions based on themes identified during the needs assessments, ensuring that the content is relevant and valuable to your newsroom’s specific needs.

Criteria for Selection and Eligibility

  1. To be eligible, your organization must be a media entity with a focus on local audiences and tailored news content for the community.
  2. It is essential to showcase a dedication to producing high-quality journalism, following ethical practices, and supporting press freedom. (Note: it is anticipated that this project will change or evolve during the accelerator period). Here you can read about the projects some of our previous participants developed throughout the programme.
  3. Additionally, a proposal outlining a specific need and solution is required, with the understanding that the project may evolve during the accelerator period.
  4. Your team should consist of at least two members committed to participating in accelerator activities for four months, dedicating four hours per week collectively.
  5. A strong business case supported by audience or market research is necessary, along with a willingness to embrace new ideas, tools, and technologies for storytelling and audience engagement.
  6. Lastly, a clear vision for the future of your media organization, including growth and adaptation plans, is crucial for consideration.

Selection Process and Timeline

  1. To apply, submit the application form provided on the website. Applicants can save their progress and return to complete it before the deadline on 7 July 2024 [23:59, CEST].
  2. Only applications in English submitted through the Jotform platform by the specified date and time will be reviewed.
  3. An email confirmation will be sent upon submission.
  4. The selection of projects for the accelerator will be conducted by a jury of appointed experts from within the organization.

Applications will be assessed on the criteria established. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, contact [email protected] or sign up here.  

Apply now

For preparation only, please find in this Google Doc all the questions of the form below. You can make a copy of the document. The Google Doc is not needed for the application, it is just a resource to help you prepare to fill the form below. FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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