About the Media Forward Fund

The Media Forward Fund wants to contribute to more independent journalism outlets with viable business models that publish strong, trustworthy content and are sustainably financed in the long term.

The aim of the fund is to strengthen journalism and thus democracy. A particular focus is on target audiences that have been underserved by the media to date.

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Media is facing an existential crisis

Collage mehrerer Zeitungsausschnitte über Medien in der Krise

Access to reliable information and serious analysis is one of the foundations of living together in a democracy. However, this function of independent journalism is coming under pressure due to the acute transformation crisis in the media. Further rounds of cutbacks are constantly announced and newsrooms are being further thinned out.

But cutting costs alone is not a strategy. Rather, we need ideas for new business models that can be used to fund journalism. We need risk-taking media makers who have the courage to experiment within established media companies or in start-ups. And we need the necessary capital to move these experiments from the initial proof of concept phase to the growth phase. The Media Forward Fund aims to provide this capital in the form of philanthropic funding.

How we fund

We generally provide up to € 400,000 per organization for two years. Higher amounts are possible. Organizations and projects must serve the common good. There are two categories of funding:

Organizational funding

for small media organizations

Small media organizations, with the equivalent of up to 30 full-time employees (FTEs) in the overall organization may choose between organizational funding (»core funding«) or project funding. In this way, organizations are free to decide how best to use the grant.

Project funding

for small and large media organizations

Large media organizations are eligible if their work serves the common good (»no shareholder journalism«) and can apply for project funding, with the requirement that 50 percent is co-financed from their proprietary resources.

In addition, the Media Forward Fund supports grantees with capacity building (»Funding PLUS«) and brings them together in a community of like-minded media professionals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland so that everyone can learn from each other.

When is funding provided?

The fund is open to projects from »after the idea phase«. For projects that are only in the idea stage, the fund is a signpost to other existing initiatives, such Grow-Stipendium of  Netzwerk Recherche, the Media Lab Bayern or the Wiener Medieninitiative.

As soon as a business plan and, in the best case, an initial test of the product/market fit are available, eligibility is established.

The fund works with impact investors such as Karma Capital, who can support and invest in grantees.

What does the fund provide grants for?

  • Gaps in national reporting and in thematic niches  
  • Gaps in regional/local reporting (news deserts) with special consideration of projects/organizations that report for communities that are underserved
  • In the next stage of expansion: cross-sector solutions, technical offerings and journalistic platforms that do not publish themselves. Initially, the fund will act as a guide to existing funding opportunities.

Our team

Martin Kotynek

Founding Director

Martin is a journalist and Founding Director of the Media Forward Fund. Previously, Martin was editor-in-chief of the news organization "Der Standard" in Vienna, deputy editor-in-chief of "Zeit Online" in Berlin, investigative editor at "Die Zeit" and political editor at "Süddeutsche Zeitung" in Munich. As a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, Martin has worked on innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship in media. Martin studied neurobiology and was born in Vienna. Photo: Peter Rigaud

Anne M. Jacob

Project Lead Funding & Investments

Anne designed the Fund’s Grantee Journey and supports funding partners during the application process and the funding phase. Prior to that, she has been working for more than four years as a senior consultant at Wider Sense, advising foundations and companies and managing the #VertrauenMachtWirkung foundation initiative. Photo: Constanze Wenig

Hanna Seifert

Grants & Office Manager

At the Media Forward Fund, Hanna handles the administrative aspects of the funding process and keeps an eye on the fund's operations. Previously, she was part of the development team at iac Berlin gGmbH and also brings several years of experience in grants management to the team. Photo: Jan Zappner

Katharina Binder

Senior Advisor Partnerships

Katharina develops and supports potential partners and sponsors of the fund on a freelance basis. She has many years of experience working for national (Deputy Head of Advertising at DIE ZEIT) and regional titles. She was most recently Chief Product Officer of the SV Group (including Schwäbische Zeitung). Katharina studied Media Management at the Hamburg Media School and was born in Ravensburg.

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In our newsletter we share information about our funding programs, upcoming events, and news about the Media Forward Fund and our partners.