Georgian Media Partnership Program (For online Media)

Open Call for Applications for Online Media Outlets Based in the Regions (GMPP)

 

IREX Georgia announces an open competition for Georgian online media outlets based outside of Tbilisi to participate in the U.S. Embassy-funded Georgian Media Partnership Program (GMPP) in 2021.

GOAL of the competition:

The competition aims to select 2 Georgian regional online media outlets to participate in GMPP. The ultimate goal of GMPP is to strengthen Georgian media as news organizations and sustainable businesses through virtual collaboration and reciprocal partnership visits with American partner outlets.

Selected media outlets will be eligible for:

Virtual Partnership through Digital DialoguesSelected outlets will have an opportunity to partner with American media. Before the partnership visits begin, GMPP staff will virtually introduce Georgian and American counterparts and facilitate their online communication. Local outlets will collaborate with American colleagues through remote mentorship and online discussions focused on pre-identified needs.

Partnership Innovation Grant. Each selected media outlet will be eligible for a sub-award with up to $2,000 in value. Each cooperative small grant (deliverable-based fixed amount award) will have a pre-requisite for each set of Georgian and U.S. partner outlets to work together to plan and implement activities proposed under the grant. The Georgian partners will also apply innovations learned through the partnership with oversight, technical inputs, and support provided by the U.S. partner.

Partnership visits. 4 employees from each selected Georgian online media travel on weeklong internship visit(s) to the U.S (2 participants per visit, or one visit with 4 participants). They will engage in job shadowing, share best practices, and observe first-hand how their American colleagues in similar media outlets operate in the U.S. media market. Upon return, Georgian participants are expected to engage in peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges with co-workers and other colleagues. The program also familiarizes participants from both countries with each other’s culture, society, and values.

In turn, each selected online media outlet will host 2 experts from their U.S. partner outlet on one, a weeklong visit to Georgia. American professionals will get acquainted with the daily work practices of their Georgian counterparts, share their experience and know-how, conduct intensive consultations on-site, give advice tailored to local needs, and coach hands-on and mentor staff.

Timing and implementation of in-person partnership visits to the U.S. and to Georgia in 2021 will be dependent on the global epidemiological situation, governmental regulations, recommendations of the public health authorities, international travel restrictions, and COVID-19-related internal procedures of the host organizations.

GMPP staff will work closely with Georgian and American media professionals to develop strong and lasting professional relationships through two-way partnership visits and to stay connected online between the visits to foster innovative ideas to be introduced at the Georgian outlets and enhance the skillsets of key professional staff.

Eligibility Requirements:

Successful implementation of the program is fundamentally dependent on close, intensive, and result-driven collaboration online and offline between the selected Georgian media outlets, IREX staff, and the U.S. partners based on mutual trust and respect, high motivation, and availability of needed resources.

Therefore, IREX seeks regional online media outlets committed to approaching program participation with full transparency and integrity, positive attitudes, and dedication. The selected media outlets will be obliged to ensure open channels of two-way communication with IREX and serve as pro-active driving forces in the partnerships with U.S. media outlets to ensure achievement of program goals. The outlet should be willing and able to submit written narrative reports, participate in verbal debriefings, and provide regular feedback to document achieved progress.

Based on the above, this year’s competition is open to media outlets that meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Be an online media outlet focused on digital operations, with an established presence across online platforms
  2. Be based in one of the regions in Georgia, outside Tbilisi, employ local residents, and cover local issues
  3. Regularly produce in-house in-depth, analytical, investigative multimedia content and/or feature stories in addition to news coverage
  4. Demonstrate commitment and high motivation to develop and sustain a lasting professional relationship with the U.S. partner outlet, virtually as well as in-person
  5. Have sufficient resources to implement innovative approaches within the framework of the partnership

EVALUATION CRITERIA

Competitive standing in the local media market – 20%

  • Serving as a credible source of news and information for the local population
  • Editorial independence from political, business, or other polarizing influences

Content quality – 20%

  • Regular in-house production of feature articles, blogs, analytical or investigative pieces on democratic processes, local entrepreneurship, economic development, gender equality, minority rights, rule of law, civil activism, inclusion, and tolerance, or civil society
  • Diversity, quality, and balance of produced digital multimedia content for a wide or priority niche audience or underserved communities

Staff capacity – 20%

  • Having a team which firmly adheres to fundamental journalistic and ethical standards, including responsible, fair, impartial, and fact-checked coverage of events
  • Demonstrated eagerness of staff and management to learn and apply new skills

Organizational capacity – 20%

  • Sufficient human, technological and financial resources to make a professional commitment to the media partnership program
  • Past development record and future plans
  • Feasibility, value, and anticipated impact of the Partnership Innovation Grant proposal concept

Motivation – 20%

  • Genuine enthusiasm to work closely with American colleagues both long-distance and in person, and ensuring availability and pro-active engagement of relevant staff in program activities
  • Solid commitment to introduce innovative approaches and new practices into daily operations
  • Readiness to share experiences and knowledge gained through a partnership with co-workers and other colleagues

If your online outlet meets the above requirements and is interested in this competition, please complete the GMPP Application Form provided below. Make sure to closely follow the instructions.

Please note that knowledge of the English language is not required for participation in the GMPP program. Interpretation and translation services will be provided during visits both in Georgia and in the United States.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

Fully filled in Application Forms (both in Georgian and English) together with required supporting documents must be submitted no later than Friday, October 9, 2020, 5 p.m. by e-mail gmpp-georgia@irex.org. Each received application will be acknowledged with a confirmation e-mail within 24 hrs after submission. If you don’t receive a confirmation e-mail, please contact us at njavakhishvili@irex.org.

Incomplete applications or applications delivered later than the due date and time will not be considered. Please keep a copy of your completed application for your own records as submitted applications will not be returned. The program does not cover pre-award costs, including translation of applications.

OPEN HOUSE:

Representatives of IREX and Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy will hold a Virtual Open House on Friday, September 25, 2020, at 12 p.m. to discuss the program in more detail, answer questions, and walk representatives of potential participant outlets through the application process. It is mandatory to register for this online event at following this linkhttps://bit.ly/32QAF3o. Registered attendees will receive instructions for joining the call via Zoom. Online media outlets planning to apply for participation in GMPP are strongly encouraged to participate in the Open House.

SELECTION PROCESS:

A selection panel, comprising American and Georgian media experts, will convene to review solicited applications. Selection will take place and winners will be announced in November 2020. Reciprocal visits will take place in 2021, epidemiological situation permitting, after IREX signs Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with selected outlets and conducts rigorous on-site assessments to tailor each partnership to the Georgian participant outlets’ unique needs.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND:

GMPP has been implemented by IREX since 2010 with the financial support of the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. The Goal of GMPP is to support the development of the Georgian media by forming professional partnerships with U.S. outlets. The program has 3 objectives:

  1. Georgian and U.S. media outlets form strong, collegial, and lasting relationships that result in improved journalistic, technological, and business management practices among Georgian partners.
  2. Georgian partners engage in peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and form/enhance professional networking relationships among themselves.
  3. Georgian and American participants have a better understanding of each other’s culture, society, and values.

To date, GMPP has implemented over 70 two-way professional exchange visits between 135 representatives of 4 Georgian online media outlets, 17 TVs, 2 radio stations, and their 50 American counterparts from 15 American media outlets from over 10 states across the United States. GMPP marks a 10-year anniversary in  2020: #GMPP10Years.

These partnerships have yielded positive results for Georgian participants, including streamlined management and strategic planning, improved human resource practices, advanced journalism skills, diversified broadcasting nets, improved production and presentation of in-house produced programs and news, increased involvement in the local community through community events, more effective use of multimedia and online platforms, more effective marketing and promotion, reinvigorated online presence and developed websites, increased sales, and diversified revenue sources. To learn more about GMPP, visit program pages on IREX website and Facebook.

ABOUT IREX:

Founded in 1968, IREX is an international nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to build a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information. IREX has been working in Georgia since 1994.

CONTACT:
If you have questions, please contact GMPP staff during working hours via e-mail gmpp-georgia@irex.org or cell: 599 137 100.