Media landscapes are under pressure, with many outlets worldwide locked in an existential struggle. DW Akademie has brought together 10 media viability experts to share experiences and come up with possible solutions.
Since August 2023, DW Akademie has been working with an outstanding team of professionals dubbed the Media Viability (MV) Ambassadors – located across the globe, to promote media viability. Their mission? To enrich expertise with cross-regional perspectives and to advocate for media viability in their contexts. The MV Ambassadors have engaged in a wide-ranging series of workshops on media viability topics such as business models, audience engagement and advocacy, and in the process are sharing their knowledge with each other both formally and informally.
In June 2023, DW Akademie called for applications from experts – media consultants, advocates, entrepreneurs, managers, researchers – who had successfully dealt with media viability challenges in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, or the Middle East. Following a rigorous selection process, the Media Viability Ambassadors were selected from each of these regions. The cohort counts 10 individuals from Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ukraine. These diverse experts bring along a wealth of knowledge and experience in their media contexts, which has contributed to a rich exchange among them.
As a result of digital transformation and changing user habits, many media outlets around the world find themselves locked in an existential struggle. On top of that, the recent past has shown how exposed these media outlets are to additional shocks and disruptions, not only in fragile countries, but in every region of the world. Almost all have struggled in the past few years: violent conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, inflationary spirals and economic downturns. In addition to the already existing challenges around eroding public trust, adapting to digitalization and finding new business models, these crises threaten media viability to an extent rarely seen before. As a result, editorial independence and media landscapes are under enormous pressure.
To find ways out of this systemic crisis, media viability has to be tackled on different levels. Media viability consultancy for individual media organizations, for instance, is as important as shaping policy debates aiming at improved legal and political conditions for media ecosystems. Most importantly: extraordinary challenges need new ways of working together. Thus, there is an urgent need to join forces, exchange experiences and come up with common ideas for solutions. With diverse experiences from across the globe, the Media Viability Ambassadors form a unique network that draws on insights from different parts of the world.
The MV Ambassadors have participated in 9 interactive online modules and one in-person meeting in Bonn, Germany, between August and December 2023. The modules have been vital to the experts reflecting on their work, enriching it with new tools and approaches and deepening their understanding of media viability. They have been able to learn from each other and polish their consultancy and advocacy skills as well as work together on relevant media viability topics identified throughout the program.
In October 2023, the MV Ambassadors participated in the FOME Symposium, the yearly international conference of the German Forum Media and Development, a network of institutions and individuals active in the field of media development cooperation. In this forum, they contributed to conversations on journalist safety, an issue that has been increasing in importance for media viability especially in recent times.
Together, the MV Ambassadors are developing a media viability consultancy and advocacy toolbox as well as tailormade advocacy strategies for media viability in their various regions. Despite the different contexts the Ambassadors are based in, it has been eye-opening to realize how many media viability challenges are shared regardless of location. This gives all the more impetus to working together on advocating for media viability from a global perspective. And there is still much more to come.
Would you like to hear more from the MV Ambassadors and follow their work? Find out what they have to say about media viability here: