Opinion article – “Work in progress”

Written by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, iMEdD Managing Director, SNF DIALOGUES Executive Director, Journalist

A year and a half ago, the iMEdD International Journalism Forum underlined the importance of trust in journalism among both the public and journalists themselves. This necessity for trust becomes increasingly evident each day as the demand for reliable information to comprehend and navigate the multitude of ongoing events worldwide continues to surge.

The overwhelming majority finds themselves disheartened by the prevailing dystopian landscape where credible journalism is lacking and misinformation runs rampant. This is not solely a Greek concern but rather an international challenge, one that is simultaneously eroding trust in institutions and democracy on a global scale.

Five years ago, in February 2019, iMEdD made its debut within the Greek journalism community, embarking on a journey to delve into international practices aimed at fostering more independence and transparency in the field of journalism. Established as a non-profit journalism organisation through an exclusive donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, iMEdD initially set out with a mission to create a platform for journalists and professionals to convene, reflect upon, and take action on matters concerning… the fourth estate.

With structured programmes such as its pioneering journalism incubator – the first of its kind on a national level and one of the few in Europe – iMEdD provides support for journalists to conduct research and publish their stories. Additionally, its data section focuses on analysis, data formatting, and the creation of original content based on data. Nevertheless, the primary focus remains on the core identity of the platform, which aims to bring together professionals from various fields to share concerns, experiences, and expertise, as well as to experiment with methods and tools for researching, producing, and publishing stories.

Methodically, yet within a very short span, a pin has been placed on the map, tracing the journey from the heart of Athens – the inception point of this entire project – to the present day. With the steadfast support of iMEdD, distinguished journalists, academics, and students have collectively produced 24 journalism projects, and led or participated in 24 workshops and training projects. Concurrently, the organisation itself has developed and published a total of more than 100 investigations and stories, as well as two interactive applications. Over the past five years, this concerted effort has significantly bolstered Greece’s connectivity with international journalism endeavors, while also amplifying international interest in the Greek journalistic landscape and its broader implications.

None of the aforementioned efforts could resonate with the ultimate recipients, the public and professionals in the field, without collaboration. Therefore, looking ahead to the next five years (and then we’ll see from there…), our aim can only be to expand iMEdD’s scope of initiation, interest, and activity through a more decentralised model. This approach aims to enhance cross-border journalism while maintaining a local focus. Innovation will be a key component, not only in terms of leveraging modern tools but also in crafting responses to specific needs and challenges, drawing inspiration from exemplary initiatives.

The gamble of the organisation’s first five years was to establish the foundations, to mark its presence on the map. We cannot predict the landscape of media or journalism in the next five years. However, our team’s objective remains unwavering: to champion journalism characterised by in-depth investigative reporting and impactful engagement with issues vital to democracy—a journalism that not only endures but also reaffirms the crucial role of the fourth estate.