Great journalism alone isn’t enough. Independent news coverage cannot reach the communities that need it most if media businesses are not equipped to thrive.
Egyptian journalist Namees Arnous understands that. She founded a digital magazine, E7kky (“Speak” in Arabic), about, for, and from women in the Arab world. But her outlet was struggling financially. That’s when Arnous joined Elevate, ICFJ’s news business hub. By the end of the intensive program, she realized it wasn't the journalism they had to sell, but the products around it. Arnous’ team has since decided to start hosting events and open a training academy focused on women’s empowerment, two new revenue streams.
The Elevate experience was transformative for many. While it is still early to measure the full impact, in just eight months, Elevate’s 17 participating newsrooms achieved an overall average growth of 13% in revenue and 18% in monthly users.
Working together with our experienced coach, we were able to develop an actionable business plan that exposed us to various ways we could generate revenue.
— Oke Epia, Editor-in-Chief, OrderPaper, Nigeria
Here are some of the success stories from the program’s first cohort:
- Technext is a Nigerian media house focused on Africa's tech sector, an often under-reported topic. Its newsroom leaders developed a search engine optimization strategy, growing their monthly users by 54%.
- Agência Mural is a São Paulo-based, nonprofit news organization powered by journalists from the underserved communities they cover. Through Elevate, its leadership realized that one of their challenges – other outlets recruiting the young journalists they had trained – could be a source of revenue. They are now launching a training program.
- El Pitazo brings independent investigations and news to the most isolated areas of Venezuela, a country where government repression limits reliable information. With Elevate, El Pitazo’s co-founder discovered the outlet had an excess of products. His team decided to discontinue some of them to invest resources where they mattered most.
With Elevate, we may become on of the first independent media in the Caucasus region that generates significant revenue directly from readers.
— Mariam Nikuradze, Executive Director, OC Media, Georgia
And now, Elevate is back to help a new cohort of media entrepreneurs thrive. The second edition has kicked off with a series of media entrepreneurship courses led by business experts and available to all. Applications for the training, mentorship and grant phases will open in April.
This unique program was made possible by donors to our It Takes a Journalist campaign, which was designed to help journalists meet the most urgent challenges of today.