FAQ

The following information is valid for the current funding call. FAQs are updated with every new call as needed.  

Information Sessions

With each call for applications, we organize two digital Information Sessions (one in German, one in English) each lasting approx. 60 to 90 minutes. The purpose of the Information Sessions is to present the Media Forward Fund and its selection process in more detail. Questions can be submitted in advance when registering or asked live during the event. Registrations are open now.

July 30, 2024: 12:30-2:00 p.m. (in German)          Register now

August 27, 2024: 12:30-2:00 p.m. (in English)      Register now

Funding

What is the maximum funding amount?

Organizational funding: The maximum funding amount is €400,000 over a period of up to two years, although higher funding amounts are possible. Small media organizations with up to 30 full-time employees (FTEs) in the overall organization can apply for organizational funding. 

Project funding: The maximum funding amount is €200,000 over a project duration of up to two years, although higher funding amounts are possible. Both small and large media organizations can apply for project funding. For large media organizations, the Media Forward Fund co-finances projects on a 50:50 basis. For example, if your project, as a large media organization, costs a total of €400,000, the Media Forward Fund would provide €200,000 in financing. 

What is the maximum funding period?

The maximum funding period for organizational and project funding is 24 months.

How do we determine whether we are a small or a large media organization?

The classification as to whether you are a small or large media organization is based on the information you provide in the brief introduction. The determining criterion is the current number of full-time employees in the overall organization (FTEs). Organizations with 30 or fewer FTEs are considered small.

Small media organizations can apply for both project and organizational funding. Large media organizations, on the other hand, can only apply for project funding.

What is the difference between overall organization and sub-unit?

The term overall organization refers to the superordinate organization (e.g. corporation, project owner, subsidiary organization) within which the applying sub-unit (e.g. newsroom, news portal) is organized. 

This distinction will mainly apply to large media organizations. In the case of smaller media organizations, we expect that the overall organization and the applying sub-unit will often be identical entities. 

We are a subsidiary of a foreign organization and are not yet active in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, but we are now expanding our media offerings to the region for the first time. Does the Media Forward Fund provide funding for testing new markets?

No. The Media Forward Fund only awards grants for organizations or projects that already have a proof of concept in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. This is to ensure that there are target audiences and markets for the media offer not only in the country of origin, but also in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. With this restriction, we aim to promote equal opportunities between local media outlets and media organizations that intend to expand from international markets into Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

What is the difference between organizational and project funding?

In the case of project funding, we support an isolated project. Only the expenses directly related to the project are funded. 

In the case of organizational funding (core funding), we fund an undefined share of expenditures. The organization is free to decide how to use the funding. This means that the funding can be used for any and all of an organization’s activities.

Which costs are eligible for organizational funding?

You can find an overview of the eligible costs for organizational funding under "Overview eligible costs" in Apply.

Which costs are eligible for project funding?

You can find an overview of the eligible costs for project funding under "Overview eligible costs" in Apply.

Do we have to contribute proprietary resources?

In the case of large media organizations, the Media Forward Fund co-finance projects on a 50:50 basis, which means that proprietary resources are required.

How many funding rounds does the Media Forward Fund run per year?

The Media Forward Fund plans to run three funding rounds per year. 

We have previously been turned down for a grant from the Media Forward Fund. May we apply again?

Yes, you can reapply during a subsequent funding round.

Eligibility

What are the key eligibility criteria to receive funding from the Media Forward Fund?
  • Your overall organization (e.g. corporation, project owner) – or you as a subsidiary of a foreign organization – must be based either in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. 
  • You must have a business plan and proof of concept for a viable business model in the Germany, Austria or Switzerland, or have already successfully established it.
  • Your work is based on recognized journalistic standards, which you document publicly (or plan to do so). You are committed to the principles of the German Press Code (Pressekodex).
  • You have a distinct structural and personnel division between the newsroom and organization management. 
  • Your work serves the common good. 
Are there differences in the key eligibility criteria between large and small media organizations?

The eligibility of media organizations with more than 30 full-time employees (FTEs) in the overall organization is also subject to the following additional criteria: 

1. Average share of daily content published by overall organization made up by proprietary content (excluding copy from news agencies and mainly AI-generated content, for example) is over 70 percent.

2. Share of total digital revenue of the overall organization made up by regularly recurring payments from users (excluding e-paper in case of print publishers) is over 30 percent.

What does the Media Forward Fund not fund?
  • Public service media outlets 
  • Interest groups
  • Conferences and networking events
  • Studies, accompanying research, or individual research projects
  • Scholarships
  • Sole proprietorship or projects by individuals who are not part of an organization 
  • Organizations or projects that are still in the idea phase
  • Organizations or projects that merely provide an additional offer similar to many existing ones. Their work thus does not address any structural or content-related needs that only they would fill (Additionality)
  • Supplementary funding for an ongoing project
Our organization is not non-profit. Can we still apply?

To be eligible, the work of for-profit organizations must serve the common good. This means that revenues of the media organizations are primarily generated with the intention of strengthening journalism in general.

Can we apply even though we have not yet officially founded and registered our organization or tested our idea?

No. The fund is only open to organizations and projects after the idea phase. As soon as you have a certain degree of organizational structure, a business plan and initial proof of product/market fit, your organization may apply.

Can I apply as a solo proprietor?

No. Sole proprietorship or projects by individuals who are not part of an organization are not eligible. 

Application Process

In which languages can we apply?

We accept applications in German or English. However, the language in which you publish your journalistic work does not play a role in the application process.

In which currency must financial information be provided?

Information can be provided in both euros and Swiss francs. Only the total amount of funding requested should be stated in euros at the respective positions.

What does the selection process look like?

The selection process is divided into five steps: 1) Brief introduction 2) Initial interview 3) Application drafting 4) Due diligence & pitch deck design 5) Pitch to the jury. 

What are the selection criteria?

The selection process focuses on three areas: your journalistic work, your organization and your idea for using the grant. The assessment is based on our five overarching criteria.

What is the deadline for submitting the brief introduction?

The brief introduction can be submitted any time before September 6, 2024. The earlier you submit the brief introduction form, the sooner we can conduct an initial interview and determine whether you are eligible to submit a full application.

How do we prepare for the initial interview?

The initial interview of approx. 30 minutes is intended to provide us an initial personal impression of you and a more detailed idea of your work and your idea for using the grant. No additional preparation is required for the interview. You are welcome, however, to take a look at the guiding questions for the interview.

Preview initial interview questions

How should we submit our funding application?

Once your eligibility for funding has been established by the information provided in the brief introduction and during the initial interview, you are permitted to submit your funding application via a form in our funding portal within a maximum of five weeks. You will receive the registration link from us by e-mail, which you can then use to register and access the relevant application form. The upload function for the required attachments can also be found at the end of the form.   

How much time do we have to draft the funding application?

The maximum time for drafting the funding application is limited to five weeks. 

The sooner you submit the brief introduction form, the sooner we can assess your eligibility for funding, conduct the initial interview to determine a fit and allow you to draft your application. We conduct initial interviews until September 13, 2024, so if you are late, you will have at least three weeks until October 4, 2024, to draft and submit your funding application. 

What should be the scope of our funding application?

For some of the questions, your answers are automatically taken from the brief introduction and can be revised or expanded if necessary. We have set guidelines for the number of characters per response. However, there is no default character limit so that you do not need to shorten sentences. Nevertheless, we recommend sticking to the suggested character maximum as orientation. Designated questions can also be answered in bullet points.

Preview application form project funding 

Preview application form organizational funding

What is the deadline for submitting our funding application?

As soon as you have received the registration link to our funding portal by email, you can start drafting your funding application using the form. We will accept funding applications via the funding portal until October 4, 2024.

We have sent in our application but have not heard back yet.

You will hear from us at the latest by the week of October 21, 2024.

We do not yet have our audited accounts for the most recent fiscal year. Can we still apply?

Yes, in this case please attach your preliminary annual financial records or other meaningful financial data (e.g. internal financial report).  

We need to update information provided because we have made a mistake. What should we do?

Please use the link we sent you at the beginning to access the funding portal and update the information accordingly. If you would like to update the information after submission, please contact us at: foerderungen@mediaforwardfund.org.

What should we expect during the due diligence process?

The assessment is based on the information you have provided, desk research, internal documents you have submitted (attachments to the funding application) and one or two reference interviews, which we will conduct following the review of your application. In your funding application, you are asked to provide two references who will be willing to provide detailed and candid feedback on your work and your organization.

Should we determine that the internal documents submitted with your funding application are insufficient, we will request additional information in a timely manner.

What are the expectations for the pitch deck?

The pitch deck, completed in PowerPoint format with approx. 10 – 15 slides, should reflect the most important information from your funding application. We suggest an overarching structure with three parts: 1) Where we come from and what drives us, 2) Where we currently stand, and 3) Where we want to go. Further details and recommendations regarding the structure and formalities will be sent to organizations admitted to the pitch by e-mail.

What will the pitch look like? How can we prepare?

The jury pitch will take place in person in Berlin. Travel expenses will be covered. Each organization is given 45 minutes, which are allocated as follows:

  • approx. 20 minutes pitch presentation
  • approx. 15 minutes Q&A
  • approx. 10 minutes jury deliberation 

During the drafting period of your pitch deck, we will conduct at least one feedback session with you, where questions can be raised and tips will be provided. 

Who sits on the jury?

The jury consists of five experts. Information on the composition of the jury will be published in a timely manner.

When will we learn about the jury's decision?

We will try to inform you about the jury's decision as soon as possible during the first week of December, 2024.

Our application was rejected. Can we get feedback?

Yes, we generally offer feedback to rejected organizations. You should have received further information in the rejection e-mail.  

Working together

We were approved for funding. What are the next steps?

Shortly after you have been approved, we will send you the draft funding agreement and schedule a kick-off call with you as soon as possible. Once the funding agreement has been agreed and signed, the first funding tranche of 60 percent of the total funding amount will be transferred.

During the kick-off call, we will discuss your milestones and adopt them for the first six months of funding. We will also develop a shared vision for cooperation, discuss challenges and needs and agree on deadlines.

What is in the funding agreement?

The funding agreement defines, among other things, funding provisions, the funding amount and tranches in which it will be paid out, reporting requirements pertaining to the use of funding, public relations and attributions.

What are the expectations regarding the scope and frequency of reporting on the use of funding?

We expect a short written interim report (approx. 2-3 pages) once half of the funding period has elapsed and a written final report (approx. 3-5 pages) after the funding period has come to an end. Interim and final reports on the use of the funding along with the corresponding lists of receipts must also be submitted together with the reports.

At least five check-in meetings are planned for the entire funding period:

  • Kick-off call
  • Check-in no. 1 after approx. 6 months
  • Half-time meeting & interim report (check-in no. 2) after approx. 12 months
  • Check-in no. 3 after approx. 18 months
  • Final meeting & report (check-in no. 4) after approx. 24 months

The main purpose of the check-in meetings is to discuss the implementation and status of the agreed milestones, the lessons thus far learned, and the definition and adjustment of the milestones for the ensuing six months – and also the financial reporting based on the original planning.

Our question is not listed here. What should we do?

Please send an e-mail with your question to funding@mediaforwardfund.org