Celebrating Europe’s Diversity for Impact Journalism Day

Monday, June 20
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Sparknews, Europe

The idea behind Impact Journalism Day was born in the heart of Europe, in Paris, after Christian de Boisredon’s experience working with French media on solutions based news. From the very beginning, IJD was developed in the complex cultural and linguistic mosaic of Europe’s media scene.

Big Names Pushing the Alliance Forward

Some big names in Europe have joined the alliance, including publications most Europeans have heard of, even if they can’t read the language. That is the case for Le Figaro (France), Die Welt (Germany), El Pais (Spain), Le Soir (Belgium), the Irish Times (Ireland) and Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland). The whole operation benefits from their reputation and high quality standards, as well as the diversity of their approaches.

Working with these brands is also stimulating for Sparknews, as we consider how the alliance can evolve. The first and most reassuring benefit they bring us, is to confirm and highlight the value that IJD has for their publications. For example, Tages-Anzeiger’s Chief of Information, Dominique Eigenmann, told us in 2014 “We have very, very rarely received as many enthusiastic reactions from our readers (...)  and professionals, be they in the media or part of the “social entrepreneurship” movement. (...) This success reinforces my conviction that there is enormous demand for “solutions journalism” from the public - and much greater demand than we had guessed.”

These partners have also helped us shape IJD and design new tools to better suit their needs. As digital platforms become a core element of the media partners’ development strategies, they have been instrumental in designing new ways to engage readers—such as the new widgets. Our very strong collaboration with teams at Le Figaro - amongst other strategic digital partners like The Asahi Shimbun and The Straits Times - guided many of our choices. Today, we are proud to say that over 20 of our partners expect to use the new widgets on June 25th, and we are continuing to imagine what we could bring them, and our other partners on operations like Solutions&Co, in the coming years.

Capturing the Complex Mosaic of Europe

Another specificity of the continent’s media scene is clearly linguistic. Many countries recognise several official languages, or boast media in non-national languages to reflect and export local thought-leaders. The two most obvious cases in the alliance are Switzerland, where four publications participate in IJD, and Russia, with three. In the case of Switzerland, Tages-Anzeiger and La Regione are historic partners catering to German and Italian language residents of Switzerland. Two French language newspapers joined in 2015, La Tribune de Genève and 24 Heures, and have become two of the most active participants in IJD. As for Russia, while Courrier de Russie, a niche newspaper, has been addressing the French and Russian communities since 2015, this year saw the arrival of two Russian heavyweights: Kommersant (Russian language) and The Moscow Times (English language).

Combined, the 12 countries covered represent almost as many languages, including Greek (Ta Nea), Danish (Politiken), Polish (Rzecpospolita), Czech (Respekt) and Serbian (Politika), to cite a few.

Federating the European Media

One of the strengths of IJD in Europe is how the project reflects the strong trend towards uniting Europeans despite their differences. Sharing and translating articles across so many languages is a first step, as with common information comes understanding. European media are also increasingly working together in the form of alliances like LENA (Leading European Newspaper Alliance), an alliance of 7 publications launched in 2015 to develop cross country collaboration in journalism. It comes as no surprise that 6 of these publications are also part of Impact Journalism Day. Our long term goal is to continue benefiting from this stimulating environment in order to reach as many European readers as possible and develop more digitally compatible and strategically relevant editions of Impact Journalism Day.

Check out your favorite participating newspaper on June 25th to read stories about people changing the world.

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