Multimedia Education Centre (MEC) – Call for Partnership Applications

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November 20, 2017

About MEC

Multimedia Education Centre (MEC) is a Georgian non-profit organization.
Located in a 380 square-meter space in the center of Tbilisi, the MEC boasts stateof-
the-art training and learning space and offers a variety of equipment for media
content production. The MEC began under the USAID supported G-MEDIA
(2010-2014) and M-TAG (2014-2019) programs, implemented by IREX.

The mission of the MEC is to encourage innovation in education, and establish,
preserve and advance standards of excellence in academic and professional
journalism education, communications, and related fields. It is also committed to
empowering youth and adults by preparing them to communicate effectively in all
media forms as well as to access, understand, analyze and evaluate images, sounds
and words that represent modern media culture.

About the project

The 20-month long project is designed to support select media outlets in Armenia
to grow online audience and generate commercial income through diversifying
multimedia production, effective use of traffic management and creating different
opportunities for publishing advertisements on the web. The project achieves this
objective through provision of training, small grants and mentoring the coproduction
process. Select media outlets will be enabled to produce wellresearched
in-depth stories in multimedia format together with Georgian
counterparts to support the above described approach. The project will contribute
to development of partnerships between media outlets in the two neighbor
countries, for more regular sharing of experience in the areas of multimedia
production and marketing of digital media products to online audiences.

Working language

Working language will be Russian.

Who can apply

Media outlets based in Armenia with strong interest and some experience in
multimedia reporting and digital marketing, regardless of their main publishing
platform (print, TV, radio, web), both from and outside the capital, are encouraged
to apply.

To qualify for the project, the media outlets should meet the following
requirements:
• Pursue an independent editorial policy and be free from any political and
business influences;
• Have a web-site with features that support multimedia publishing as main
or one of the publishing platforms;
• Have the possibility of tracking internet traffic, via Google analytics
service;
• The content should be available also in English and/or Russian languages;
• Some of the content should be published as multimedia stories;
• The media outlet should have been publishing for at least three years;
• The media outlet should have at least 8 members focused on content
production;
• The media outlet should have some equipment that is used for shooting
and editing of multimedia stories;
• Should have specific story ideas for co-production with Georgian media
outlets.

What does partnership with MEC entail:

Journalists from the winning media outlets will have an opportunity to learn
about the latest trends in digital content production from local and international
experts, discuss professional standards with the best Georgian and Armenian
trainers and mentors, and hone their multimedia reporting and digital marketing
skills in a high tech environment under their guidance. Grant-supported coproduction
initiatives with Georgian colleagues will enable them to put new
knowledge into practice and establish new contacts with their neighbor.

Technical assistance package will be extended to five media outlets.

Each package will include the following capacity building support:

1. Evaluation letter and follow-up monitoring. MEC will analyze content
of the winning media outlets through the prism of professional standards and
technical quality, and marketing strategies and tactics employed to promote digital
media products to online audiences, to identify the most widespread deficiencies.
The insights obtained will inform training design. The findings, along with the
recommendations, will be communicated to each media outlet in writing through
a comprehensive evaluation letter. Each media outlet will receive feedback once a
quarter to follow-up on implementation of the recommendations outlined in the
evaluation letter.

2. The first five-day-long Winter School in January 2018, for two
representatives of each media outlet, which will take place in Tbilisi, at the MEC.
The group from Armenia will be joined by five Georgian journalists. The
participants will be given access to MEC technical resources. During Winter
School the following topics will be discussed:

1. Recognizing and addressing the need for marketing digital media products to
audiences on the web.

2. Methods for growing audience on the web and generating income in digital
media production.

3. Tested methods for increasing audience on the web.
– How to produce content that matters (relevant and timely).
– Come closer to your audience – find proper story idea.
– Art of headlines in digital media.

4. Diversity in multimedia production – main tools to grow audience on the web.
– Diversity of genres.
– Diversity of content.
– Diversity of publishing formats.
– Making multimedia product more attractive in presentation to increase its
appeal to online audiences.

5. How traffic management can help media outlets in understanding their
audiences.
– Working with Google analytics data.
– Role of traffic management in editorial planning.
– Role of traffic management in online sales.

6. Technical skills for low budget video production.
– Filming with camera.
– Video editing.
– Online compatible formats of video files.
– Platforms for free and paid uploads.

7. Mobile phone for multimedia reporting.
– Filming, editing and sharing with smartphone.

8. Visual storytelling
– Showing without words and understanding the power of the visual side of
the story.
– Writing with pictures.

9. Types of advertisement possibilities on the web and social media
– Working with online platforms.
– Creating posters and banners.
– Making marketing tools with commercial and editorial purposes.

During Winter School each media outlet will present an idea for co-production
and receive feedback. They will be matched with a partner in Georgia.

Remote mentorship. After the first Winter School, MEC mentors will help the
media outlets to flesh-out co-production projects, working remotely.

Small grants. The MEC will issue small grants to Armenian media outlets,
$5,000 to each, and their Georgian counterparts, $2,000 to each, in February 2018.
The co-production will start from March 2018.

Remote mentorship. Throughout the co-production cycle, MEC mentors will
work closely with the media outlets.

The five-day-long training, which will follow the first Winter
School, in April 2018, to further strengthen and expand the skills of the
Armenian and Georgian journalists working on co-production projects. The
training will host the same 10 participants, two from each media partner, from
Armenia and five participants from Georgia, and will take place at the MEC. Once
again, the participants will be given full access to MEC technical resources. The
co-production projects will be finalized by early Fall 2018.

The second Winter School will take place in January 2019 at the MEC.
Two different reporters from each of the same media outlets will participate, 10 in
total. They will be joined by 5 different Georgian journalists. Participants of the
first Winter School and follow-up training will be expected to share skills learned
with the colleagues in their home offices. Thus, the program of the second Winter
School will be stream-lined, combining select sessions from the first Winter
School and follow-up training.

The Armenian and Georgian media outlets will fund new co-production initiatives
on a smaller scale, with their own resources, based on their experience of
cooperation in the previous year.

Tuition, board and travel support

The MEC will cover the costs of participation in the two winter schools and
follow-up training. Participants will be provided with meals and accommodation
at hostels, and train tickets for travel to and from Tbilisi.

Commitment to partnership

This project will require that partner organizations be willing to invest resources
(time, make staff available for training and mentoring) and be fully engaged, and
communicate with MEC staff and experts efficiently.

Mutual respect, sincere effort and professional collaboration will form the
foundation of this assistance.

Evaluation Criteria for Applications

The applications will be evaluated by MEC staff and Georgian and Armenian
media experts against the criteria listed below. Scoring values are shown for each
criteria section.

Journalism Content and Public Service (40%)
1. Editorial independence from political, business or other interest groups;
2. Compliance with fundamental professional journalism standards of
accurate, fair and responsible reporting;
3. Adequate production facilities.

New Media (40%)

1. Adequate technical skills and/or website operations;
2. Open-minded, creative and entrepreneurial approach to new media;
3. Capacity for multimedia content production;
4. Readiness to consider the advantages of new media integration with
traditional media operations.

Ability of the organization to efficiently handle partnership commitments (20%)

Please mail a signed and sealed application or electronically scanned,
in PDF format to ekadagishvili@mecg.ge Please request confirmation
of receipt after submission.

Deadline: December 8; 18:00pm (Georgian time)

MEC
10a, Al. Chavchavadze Street
Tbilisi 0108, Georgia
Office: 00 995 32 2251 895

Late or incomplete applications may be included for review at the discretion of
IREX.

In the application media outlets should provide the following
information:

Contact information

Name and title of a contact person:
Phone:
Email:

Basic information about the organization:
Legal Name of Organization (in English):
Brand Name(s) of Organization’s Media Product(s) (in English, but as pronounced
in a local language):
Address:
Phone:

organization – if it is registered: (for-profit, non-profit, etc.):

Please provide a copy of your organization’s registration certificate.
Enclosed: Not Enclosed (Explain):
Please list the names of the following individuals:
Chairman of the Board of Directors:
President:
Executive Director:
List your total number of employees, working in editorial positions, in the
following categories:
Total full-time employees: ______ total part-time Employees: _______

Brief history of media outlet

Description of media organizations in maximum 100 words
• Founding date and history
• Goal and mission

Financial sustainability:

How would you describe your organization:
a). Self-sustaining (earns income from advertising and supplemental business
activities)
b). Semi self-sustaining (receives part of funding from donors and earns income
from advertising and supplemental business activities)
c). Donor dependent (received majority of funding from donors)
Please list donors which currently support you or have supported you in the past.
Do you receive support from national or local governments?
If yes please provide details.

Journalism and Public Service (narrative)

How would you describe the adequacy of your content production facilities both
in terms of space and equipment? Does your media outlet have the facilities
required to produce content that is of high quality?

Idea for co-production in Georgia

The applicants should present two or more story ideas for co-production with
Georgian counterparts. The story idea should be presented in the following
format: description of a proposed story in maximum 100 words. MEC encourages
the applicants to enclose visual materials (photo, video, data) to the description.
The story description must answer 5Ws: What, When, Who, Where, Why.
It is not necessary for applicants to have a partner media outlet in Georgia
identified at the moment of application. MEC will match Georgian media outlet
based on the story ideas.

Basic facts

Project duration: January 2018 – June 2019

Working language: Russian

Calendar

January 2018: 5-day Winter School
April 2018: 5-day follow-up training
January 2019: 5-day Winter School

Venue: All trainings will take place in the MEC.
Trainers and mentors: MEC Director, MEC Technical Manager, IREX trainers,
and free-lance trainers.
Teaching Method: Participants should attend trainings conducted by MEC.
They will work in the class and will also work on assignments. Trainees will have
access to the technical equipment of the MEC while in Georgia. Mentors will also
support participants remotely