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Briefing: Hi there

VoxEurop

Dear friends of VoxEurop,

In wishing you a happy and brilliant new year, we'd like to thank you again for agreeing on being part of VoxEurop’s Advisory board. We really appreciate your support and look forward for a fruitful collaboration and mutual support among Europeans committed to democracy, openness, media pluralism, freedom of expression, tolerance and solidarity within a united Europe.

We’d also like to take the opportunity to take a short stock of the past year at VoxEurop and share with you our projects for 2019.

2018 has been a pivotal year for VoxEurop as, after years of effort and voluntary work, we eventually managed to get decent salaries and funding over mid-term. VoxEurop currently employs one full-time and three part-time employees, plus an array of freelancers who contribute to fulfill the ongoing commitments.

Next year will be as decisive if not more, with a crowdfunding and equity funding campaign planned for spring, around the time of the European elections, as well as a BtoB and a BtoC projects that are critical to ensure the brand’s sustainability.

They are listed below in detail. Feel free to ask for any question or specification.

  1. Developments and projects

1) VoxEurop SCE, the European Cooperative Society that we created in September 2017, took over all operations carried by VoxEurop Association. It is owned by its employees and stakeholders, and it is the first European cooperative society to run a media outlet.

2) The European Data Journalism Network (EDJNet) has reached its cruising speed. It's a platform for data-driven news on European issues financed through a EU Commission grant that runs from January 2017 until December 2019. 19 European media publishers such as Spiegel Online, Alternatives Economiques, El Confidencial, Internazionale and Journalism++, take part in it. VoxEurop is the editorial coordinator. We have produced more than 70 long and short data-driven stories, and hired 7 freelance journalists to keep up the production we committed to. At the end of the project, they will be familiar with EU affairs, so as we will with data-driven journalism.

3) We implemented and completed the Parliament of Rights project, coordinated by our partners from Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) – A series of stories on topics related to fundamental rights.

4) We started implementing the SPOT the PRESS project (an AI-driven marketplace for journalistic content addressed to media publishers) along with our partners from Syllabs. It is funded through a Google Digital News Initiative grant, and should bring in some revenue starting from the end 2019.

5) We started working on the first phase of the VoxLetter, a subscriber-only and tailored-made and AI-driven newsletter offering both original and exclusive content and curation. It should be implemented and generate revenue by next summer.

6) Other ongoing projects are:

a) Weekly press digest for The New European

b) On-demand press digest for Internazionale

c) Cartoon of the week for Alternatives Economiques

d) Monthly review on drones for the European Forum on Armed Drones (OSF grant)

e) Parliament of Rights content producing and translating along with OBCT (EU Parliament grant)

7) We decided that we needed help in managing all those projects and the coming ones, and hired Paul Salvanès, an economist and political scientist with a 10-year experience in humanitarian project managing who had a dream of setting up…an European media. He started working in mid-September, and was confirmed until February. We look forward to have him as a permanent Chief of operations for VoxEurop. He will be in charge of looking for new grants and partnerships, as well as other business opportunities.

8) In the same time, we joined the Creatis incubator in Paris, which runs a programme specially designed for media outlets. Paul is following it on a daily basis and we already are witnessing progresses in both the company’s organisation and management. The crew should help VoxEurop establishing a proper business model and reaching sustainability within the next couple of years.

9) Our new bank has agreed on lending us a substantial amount of cash, which will allow us to implement the projects and activities deemed necessary to reach sustainability.

  1. Grants and awards

1) In February, we were notified that VoxEurop was awarded a first Spinelli Prize for the outreach by the European Parliament worth € 50,000, which was a huge relief to our already strained balance and allowed for some substantial capital increase, and enabled us to invest in the incubation at Creatis and in hiring Paul.

2) In June, we filled an application for a "Bourse à l'émergence de l'innovation dans les médias", from the French government. Our application was awarded a €40,000 grant in October.

3) In September, we took part in the application by EDJNet project lead by OBCT for a new EU Commission call for projects for a data-driven journalism platform. We were awarded the grant in December, so EDJNet phase 1 and 2 will now run until April 2021. New partners such as Deutsche Welle, Civio and Euractiv joined the current consortium.

4) In December, we applied for a Civitates grant. We will know by mid-January if we are shortlisted.

  1. Partnerships

VoxErop has established solid partnerships with:

The GEN Summit – A major annual meeting of editors and applications developers. VoxEurop is a media partner since 2015.

Internazionale magazine and festival – VoxEurop is a regular contributor to the magazine through original pieces and through sharing commissioned ones, and to the most important journalism festival in Italy in terms of attendency. VoxEurop is a regular participant and contributes in establishing the programme.

EuropaNow! – A new pro-European organisation launched in October 2018 to raise awareness on European values and foster a European patriotism through grassroots initiatives.

Cartoon Movement – A platform for editorial and political cartoons sharing and syndicating.

The Librexpression European centre for freedom of speech

  1. Events participation (probably not exhaustive)

International journalism festival – Perugia

Seminar at the Mairie de Paris – Paris

Difference Day – Brussels

Dataharvest – Mechelen

Dialogues en humanité – Lyon

Lectorinfabula festival – Conversano

Internazionale’s festival – Ferrara

European Lab – Bruxelles

Les Journées de l’économie autrement (JEA) – Dijon

Debate organised by Up Magazine – Paris

Association of European Journalists annual congress – Greece

What is next for 2019

  1. Developments

We will be launching a crowdfunding and membership campaign in late April, after consulting with followers, supporters and friends on what they would like VoxEurop to become. It will be partially inspired by The Correspondent’s recent campaign in the US. It aims at bringing new shareholders and strengthening the community that has grown around VoxEurop.

We will implement SPOTthePRESS (autumn)

We will implement the VoxLetter (end of June most probably)

We will seek to complete VoxEurop’s Advisory board, which members woudl be high-profile and committed Europeans who share VoxEurop’s core values and who will help by serving as “ambassadors” of VoxEurop in the country they live in and through their activities., and who will take advantage of VoxEurop’s network and initiatives. We’d like to reach 15-18 members, as gender balanced as possible. As of today, Board members are: Alberto Alemanno, Ulrike Guérot, Eric Jozsef, Carl Henrik Fredriksson, Tjeerd Royaards, José Ignacio Torreblanca, Thierry Vissol.

  1. Partnerships and events:

Partnerships with GEN summit, Internazionale festival and EuropaNow! are confirmed. We plan to develop new partnerships with pro-European organisations, and organisations who are active in the field of democracy and citizen empowerment in Europe, as well as to take part in events related to citizen empowerment and bringing more democracy to the EU. In 2019, we aim at becoming the referring media for civil society organisations dealing with democracy, the environment and citizen involvement in Europe.