The Shift has been selected to be part of a new digital media directory produced by a research project on the sustainability, innovation, and impact of independent digital native media in more than 40 countries in Europe.
Launched on Tuesday, Project Oasis by SembraMedia is the culmination of a year-long research project that has created a searchable directory that includes the profiles of over 540 digital native media organisations across 43 countries.
The project was put together with the help of 34 researchers who mapped and studied the media organisations ranging from small initiatives with one or two volunteer-led teams to large, multi-platform new ventures with annual revenues of more than €10 million.
At the start of the project, researchers identified more than 1,000 digital native outlets for potential inclusion. Of these, more than 650 were selected based on the project’s inclusion criteria which sought and prioritised editorially independent media organisations that serve the public interest with news, investigative journalism, fact-checking or other information services.
The research team proceeded to interview those media leaders who agreed to be part of the study and review publicly available information to compile the 540 media profiles included in the first version of the online directory. If a researcher worked for or collaborated with a media outlet that was chosen, then the interview was carried out by another team member.
In addition to the directory, a report has been produced that outlines trends and insights on sustainability, reporting styles, team building, innovation and press freedom across Europe.
The report found that more than 85% of respondents said that social and human rights issues were key areas of their coverage, including migration, refugees, gender, and feminism. It also found that 58% of the media founders listed in the Project Oasis media directory were women.
Another key trend identified by the project was that media organisations with at least one sales or business development employee reported much higher annual revenue than those with no one dedicated to this task.
Non-profit media organisations reported that their primary sources of revenue were grants, individual donations, and membership, respectively. Among for-profit media organisations, the primary revenue sources were advertising, website subscriptions, and grants.
The most common reasons journalists chose to start their own digital media organisation were to create media outlets based on their own values and identities, to counter media capture in their country or a concentration on media ownership. Others were motivated to as well as severe restrictions on the flow of information.
“We have been inspired by the innovation, determination, and award-winning news coverage that is being done by digital native media throughout Europe. As we’ve learned from similar research projects in other parts of the world, shining a light on the kinds of media featured in our new Project Oasis directory can help their leaders learn from each other and gain greater visibility and recognition from organisations that can provide the vital support they need and deserve,” said Janine Warner, co-founder and executive director of SembraMedia.
The Directory is not a definitive, exhaustive list of all European independent digital media but is a living database. The project aims to update and develop the directory over the coming years.
The project was led by SembraMedia, in partnership with the European Journalism Centre (EJC), Google News Initiative (GNI), International Media Support (IMS), Media and Journalism Research Center (MJRC), and Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD).
The searchable directory of media organisations can be found here. The full report is available here.