Media from Central America and Eastern Europe share experiences in E-Book

E-Book Colab Medios

Free Press Unlimited just released an E-Book on "Innovation and sustainability", which compiles the lessons learned by the organisations that are part of the Colab Medios project, a platform for exchange between media from Eastern Europe and Central America.

The book, available in Russian and Spanish, contains the experiences and testimonials of independent media outlets operating in Central America and Eastern Europe.

How can we ensure the economic sustainability of media outlets in the long run? The desire to sustain independent journalism is there, however resources are often lacking. During the last years, media outlets, especially medium and small-sized, had to speed-up their digital transition to provide fitting services for their audiences. Their goal is to diversify their activities and business models, guaranteeing their survival in the market, which is monopolized by tech giants, and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this outlook, independent journalists still persevere in providing quality information to the public. The E-Book shares countless examples of innovation, in the process of news production, and in ways to generate income.

Two regions sharing challenging contexts

Through interviews, opinion pieces and biographic profiles, the E-Book gives the reader the opportunity to get to know the experiences of independent media outlets in both regions. They operate in different challenging contexts, ranging from war to political crises, or environments where judicial harassment is used against media outlets. In addition, the E-Book shares advice on how to start setting up membership and subscription models, and shares experiences of partners in guaranteeing diversity and equality, while avoiding sexism and “adultism”, among others.

In broad terms, the book explores how media outlets of different sizes, operating in Latin America and Eastern Europe, can survive in the era of digital oligopolies, while using technological tools with which these media have little experience. Moreover, the book delves into the debate involving Facebook and Google as key actors in journalism online, considering the negative impact that online advertising on these websites/platforms has on quality journalism worldwide.

Downloading and exploring the E-book

With the E-book Innovation and sustainable development: the experience of independent media in Central America and Eastern Europe the Colab Medios team intends to fill in the knowledge gap of media research, which very often is only limited to English papers, that explore cases and data in developed countries.

A precursor to the idea of filling this knowledge gap in media in Central America and Eastern Europe was the pursuit of an international audience research in the Central American region, which was made in collaboration with A-01 (a-company, a-foundation). The study aimed at unveiling audience priorities, claims and needs, and focused on providing data-based recommendations for independent media by suggesting formats, business/membership models, and customer approaches. The research can be found here, in Russian, Spanish and English (executive summary).

The Colab Medios team believes that, to gain an advanced knowledge of the worldwide media landscape, business models and viability, one needs to approach reality by making important parallels. While these two regions may seem antithetic, they have much more in common than we thought. You can download the audience studies here.

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