M100YEJ 2017



“How to Finance Independent Journalism – Education, Platforms, and Business Models”

September 7 – 15, 2017, Potsdam, Germany

The M100 Young European Journalists Workshop 2017 (M100YEJ) is the 13th of its kind. About 60 highly qualified young journalists between 18 and 26 from Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) as well as from Russia have applied for this year’s M100YEJ. Finally, 15 young journalists were invited to Potsdam and Berlin in order to get acquainted with this year’s topic of “How to Finance Independent Journalism – Education, Platforms, and Business Models”.

Challenges and obstacles in the home countries of our young journalists are particularly serious. The media are often owned by oligarchs or state institutions and are used to support their political or economic interests. However, owners of the few existing independent journalistic portals and media often suffer from political and economic pressure or menaces. Hence, objective, reliable information is not provided sufficiently. Simultaneously, the spread of propaganda is enabled and promoted. The M100YEJ therefore aimed to provide the selected journalists a challenging training on various financing possibilities applied to the economic and legal conditions of their home countries.

During 7 days of the M100YEJ the participants received an intensive workshop training. Supported by professional and experienced trainers, the 15 selected participants have jointly worked on concepts for independent journalistic projects that were presented to various foundations on a pitch event. Following, two internship days provided the participants insights into German media houses and the opportunity to publish their own articles or broadcasting. The workshop ended with the participation at the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium on September 14, 2017. Titled “Democracy  or Despotism? The Renaissance of Dark Powers”, about 80 high-level editor-in-chiefs, historians and representatives of political institutions took part in the international media conference in the Orangery of Potsdam.

The M100 Young European Journalists Workshop is an initiative of the city of Potsdam and Potsdam Media International e.V. In 2017, it was supported by the Federal Foreign Office and ZEIT Foundation. Co-operation partners have been Netzwerk Recherche, European Youth Press, Press Club Belarus, Medieninnovationszentrum Babelsberg (MIZ), Orange Magazine and the Association of Young Journalists in Armenia.

Thursday, September 7
On their day of arrival in Potsdam on Thursday, the young journalists were welcomed by the M100 team on behalf of Sabine Sasse and Sophia Wellek on a joint dinner in a restaurant where they met their fellow journalists for the first time in person. Before, they have already met in a closed Facebook group to get in touch with each other, share experiences and ideas, ask questions and make proposals. First, the journalists got introduced to the schedule of the M100YEJ and the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium and to the cooperation partners Orange Magazine, European Youth Press and Press Club Belarus. The long-term cooperation partner European Youth Press and Orange Magazine has been represented by Marina Savchenko who reported on the M100YEJ. All videos and articles can be found on Orange Magazine’s website. Afterwards, the participants presented their own stories as well as their expectations on the M100 YEJ. One of the goals of the M100YEJ was that the participants develop own projects during the workshop and present them on a Pitch with various high-ranking foundations. Since the participants have not been acquainted with each other, the presentations were very helpful for everybody to identify similar fields of interest and goals in order to build teams.

Friday, September 8
The workshop took place in the Medieninnovationszentrum (MIZ) in Babelsberg. In the beginning, the head of client projects of our cooperation partner Sourcefabric, Gideon Lehmann explained the Live Blog, a tool that the participants did not only use to report live from the workshop and for covering the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium. (You can find the Live Blog here).

Galina Timchenko, Meduza.io: “12 steps path to media business HELL” – Founding and Legal Basis

Workshop 1: Galina Timchenko

The first workshop was conducted by Galina Timchenko, a Russian journalist, who worked for Russia’s leading newspaper “Kommersant” and Russia’s top news and reporting website Lenta.ru. For political reasons, she was removed from her position by Lenta’s owner in 2014. Galina Timchenko subsequently established the online Russian-language media, Meduza, which provides an alternative to information from state-controlled outlets and Internet bots employed by the Kremlin. As Galina is an expert in the fight for independent journalism in the region, the participants have not only benefitted from the new acquired theoretical knowledge of her workshop, but also from her personal advice when she shared her personal experiences with limited freedom of press in Russia. Although the workshop was intense and full of novel information, the sessions fostered an active exchange. Her workshop provided a “12 steps path to media business HELL“. Whereas the first steps rather focused on advices for the founding of an own media platform, such as creating a mission and mantra, analyzing the competitors and current media trends, setting priorities on various goals and selecting appropriate CMS, design formats, platforms, services, monetization ways or staff. The second part of the workshop focused more on the finances of a media start-up, explaining the tasks awaited in the field, such as financial accounting as well as media analysis. Finally, she advised on questions around the product itself, its distribution as well as the evaluation of the product after its launch. Galina’s workshop provided the relevant starting knowledge for the founding of an own media project. The final game that has been played in the end of the workshop helped the participants to brainstorm some project ideas and to get more creative in pitching unfamiliar projects. A final statement by Galina made the participants realize the idealism of journalists that they always have to keep in order to protect their independence: I will never allow non-journalists to control the content of my platform. That is why I didn’t take money from Mr. Khodorkovsky (an exiled Russian businessman), who offered us 7 million euro in exchange of 100% control of our media platform”.

Saturday, September  9

Jakub Górnicki, Outride.rs: “Building up a New Journalism Project/Start-up & Fundraising“

Workshop 2: Jakub Gornicki
Workshop 2: Jakub Górnicki

The second day of the M100YEJ workshop started with Jakub Górnicki, a blogger, reporter and technologist. He combined new technologies with journalism, blogging, government accountability and transparency. Jakub established Outriders to bridge cultures and societies by original reporting and by providing global perspectives through innovative storytelling. Jakub already participated in the M100YEJ workshop 10 years ago and was therefore very empathic in what our participants needed to learn. A strong focus of the workshop was the practical advice by Jakub, when the participants for the first time built groups and pitched their projects for the first time. Jakub provided constructive advice and a very practical approach to prepare the participants for the pitch event.One task was to create a MVP (=minimal value product).

The participants had to pitch a project in the least possible time in order to really focus on the core idea and refrain from less relevant details on the project. Another task was the analysis of existing journalistic media, such as BuzzFeed or Atlatszo.hu and their core ideas, replying to questions of WHY? HOW? and WHAT? Jakub also provided a constructive guideline for the pitch. The following questions have to be replied during the pitch. Why is your project needed now? Current challenges? Current solution? Competition? What is needed?  What solution does the project provide? What is the value of your project? How does it work? What is the project/team? What is done so far? What are next steps? What is needed for the realisation?

After various pitches with individual advices, Jakub focused on the financing recommendations. He addressed crowdfunding platforms, successful and unsuccessful campaigns, funders/donors map for journalism in Eastern European countries and globally, general rules for approaching donors as well as current trends for a better funding.

Sunday, September 10:

Justin Varilek, Hackpack.press: “Sustainable Journalism is Responsible Journalism: Funding your Passion”

Workshop 3: Justin Varilek
Workshop 3: Justin Varilek

Justin Varilek is the CEO and founder of HackPack.press. The global platform enables media outlets and companies to find, hire and manage media professionals around the world. Currently, the community covers 140 countries with over 8,000 journalists, photographers and videographers. Justins workshop was perfectly building on the achievements of the previous workshop day. The training was very practical in order to make the participants finalize their projects for the pitch. An “Elevator Pitch” helped the participants prioritize during the pitch.

Since Justin has just founded his own start-up, the participants highly benefitted from the experiences with Hackpack he shared. When focusing more on the financing options, Justin emphasized that “diversifying is surviving” and offered a review of potential revenue sources, such as through social media, branding/content marketing, local expertise/fixing or translating. Moreover, he introduced the participants to the paywalls, market data, training options on the field as well as gave his personal advice on crowdfunding, grants, government funding, NGO funding and other donors.

Thanks to Justin’s practical part the workshop the projects of the participants were finalized and ready at the end of the day.

Monday, September 11:

Brigitte Alfter, Journalismfund.eu: “Collaborative Journalism”

Workshop 4: Brigitte Alfter
Workshop 4: Brigitte Alfter

Brigitte Alfter is a German-Danish journalist who covered European affairs for two decades on local, national and European level. She has worked in several cross-border teams including ICIJ-teams. Since 2007 she has developed the European activities of Journalismfund.eu, a Belgian organisation working for in-depth, independent journalism in Europe. Her ‘Handbook in cross-border journalism’ was published in Danish in 2015 and in German in 2017. Her in-depth knowledge on cross-border collaborative journalism was significant for the M100YEJ journalists whose projects were mainly cross-border projects. Collaborative cross-border journalism has been practiced for a while, and with prominent examples such as the PanamaPaper or the FootballLeaks researches, the potential is widely recognised. During the workshop the pioneers have been presented. With numerous examples the strengths and pitfalls have been illustrated. Participants have also been introduced to the context and background in order to better navigate the necessary networks of peers in other countries. Particular focus was set on the start-up phase of cross-border collaborations such as the selection and development of story ideas.

Pitch Event at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Berlin, September 11, 07:00 pm:

Pitch event with Thomson Stiftung, Robert-Bosch-Stiftung, N-Ost, ZEIT Stiftung, Tazpanter Stiftung, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

In the evening, the participants finally had the opportunity to pitch their achievements of the last four days to various high-ranking foundations, such as the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, the ZEIT foundation, Thomson Foundation, n-ost, Robert-Bosch-Foundation as well as the taz Panter Foundation. After pitching the six projects, each group received feedback and was asked several critical questions on the project. Afterwards, a reception was opened and the young journalists had the opportunity to personally get in touch with the representatives to identify weak and strong points of their presentations as well as to broaden their network and even to get potential support or funding for the realization. Finally, some business cards have been exchanged and the best projects will be supported in the future.

Tuesday, September 12 and Wednesday, September 13:

Internships at ALEX BerlinDW Deutsche Welle, HuffPost Deutschland, rbb24, DIE WELT 


Hospitanz Huffpost
Our YEJ team at HuffPost


Internship at Alex Berlin
Nadzeya und Ivan bei Alex Berlin

The M100YEJ 2017 was very special because of its practical approach. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the participants were provided the opportunity to intern at five Geman media outlets. Each of the internship provided different tasks and opportunities. Whereas the four young journalists at ALEX Berlin could create and conduct their own broadcasting on air, the interns at WELT and Huffpost received a research order on certain topics and their articles have been published afterwards. Internships at DW and rbb have been more insightful on various different departments and excursions to politically relevant spots. The goal of M100YEJ was not only to acquire new theoretical knowledge on the topic, but also to apply the knowledge on practical occasions, such as the internship. Instead of just observing the media, the participants were actively working on tasks.

The results can be found here:

„Merkel kämpft um jede Stimme“: Wie Russlands Medien auf die Bundestagswahl blicken
in: Huffington Post, 17.09.2017
Verschwörungstheorien, Hitler-Vergleiche und ein angeblicher junger Geliebter. Das sind die Elemente, die die Berichterstattung russischer Kreml-naher Medien über die bevorstehende Bundestagswahl kennzeichnen.

„Liebe Deutsche, geht zur Wahl. Ihr habt dieses wunderbare Privileg“
in: WELT, 19.09.2017
„Drei junge osteuropäische Journalisten waren im Rahmen der Medienkonferenz M 100 in Berlin und hospitierten im Newsroom der WELT. Jetzt schreiben Dumitru, Victoria und Anton darüber, was ihnen Wahlen bedeuten.“

Germany and Moldova: same electoral system, two different realities
in: Moldova.org, 20/09/2017
The German federal election is only four days away and is becoming the major topic for the most media outlets. Based on the current predictions, it looks like Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party with its ally, the Christian Social Union, will win most of the votes after 24th September. However, they will still seek for a coalition in order to form a majority. http://www.moldova.org/en/germany-moldova-electoral-system-two-different-realities/

Broadcasting at Alex Berlin:

Broadcasting can be sent on request.


Thursday, September 15:

M100YEJ 2017 beim Sanssouci colloquium
M100YEJ 2017 at the Sanssouci Colloquium

The workshop concluded with the participation at the M100 Sanssouci ColloquiumDemocracy or Despotism? The Renaissance of Dark Powerswhere some 70 participants spent the day at round-table discussions to three topics: “The Dawning of a New Age”, “Failing Democracy?” and “The New(s) Media“. The conference concluded with the presentation of the M100 Media Award to the Russian founder and CEO of Doshd TV Natalia Sindeeva. During the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium the young journalists were responsible of the live blog. (You can find the Live Blog here). Six of them even had the opportunity to sit next to the high-ranking representatives of media, science and politics and actively contributed to the discussion on the round table.

Their participation was mainly useful for them to broaden their network. During the breaks they met with the participants of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium like the prominent exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar and could create first bonds with their possible future employers.

Narine Daneghyan, Can Dündar and Manvel Keshishyan

The M100YEJ provides the young journalists not only the platform to get in touch with high-ranking representatives, but also to get concrete job offers. Two of this year’s participants and six from former workshops have applied for a position offered by the former BILD publisher and M100 board member Kai Diekmann who is now building a social media company.



Feedback from our participants:

Ivan Bevz, one of our very creative participants from Russia, provided us individual drawings with thoughts and comments on the three sessions of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium.


“M100 is literally like catching a right wave in a huge ocean of current media trends.” (Tatiana Kondratenko, 23, Russia)

“The workshop has given me a huge support and inspiration along my professional path. Now I have the tools and it’s time to use them.” (Nadzeya Prasvirava, 21, Belarus)

“Journalism is all about connection. M100YEJ helped to make a European wide network of professional contacts, that, I’m sure, will highly beneficial in my media career.” (Vladislav Kovalevski, 22, Belarus)

“The workshop was a great opportunity for me and the media institution I worked for to learn how to diversify our funding options. I also enjoyed the two days of internship at DIE WELT, it was a fascinating experience.” (Victoria Colesnic, 24, Moldova)

“I would like to express my gratitude towards M100YEJ workshop. As for me, a recent graduate, it was highly important and on-time support to identify how to continue and which direction to direct my career developing. All the meetings, workshops, organizational parts was prepared on high quality. I am very happy to be an alumna of this program and a part of this big family.” (Teona Goderdzishvili, 24, Georgia)

“I’d say it straight away: I changed to another kind of person after the workshop. At least to another kind of journalist. My views have changed, the way I perceive my profession itself has changed. I started seeing my opportunities otherwise. I was given a hope, it made me believe that everything can be changed: and the knowledge I gained will help me in doing that. Most important is that it can be put into practice. I must admit it that at the beginning I had doubts. But the prpfesdionalidm and experience of our trainers and other people who were along us on this short but rather fascinating way convinced me that my aspiration to create an independent media platform is realistic and this fact encourages optimism.I’m very grateful for the chance that was given to me, that is for trainings. The internship, pitch event, and colloquium, all of them made me better. And this is only the beginning of the way…” (Dumitru Cobzari, 24, Moldova)


M100 YEJ Video:

PNN Coverage of the M100YEJ Workshop:

Photos, concept, agenda and participants:


Orange Magazine Coverage: