Google is providing the Finnish freelance journalists cooperative Mediakunta, which is linked to the UJF, with a grant of €50 000 to improve its online service, and help its community-based business model better serve members and become more international.
Mediakunta was launched in January 2017, and uses the funding it obtains to develop the cooperative’s online tools and billing systems. The goal is to have a system and community that will help Finnish media professionals seek more international experience and client relationships.
Mediakunta’s executive director Maiju Mitrunen says, “It’s not possible to consider Mediakunta as an ordinary working cooperative. As far as we know we are the world’s only nation-wide enterprise founded by a trade union, at present employing over 150 media professionals. I think, Google’s funding is a tribute to our new way of thinking, and it suits their own aims of supporting news media in the digital age. Through the development of our cooperative, they will be directly supported by those in the industry.”
Mitrunen explains that Mediakunta was founded because the UJF wanted to help its members who are employed as freelancers in a new way. “The majority of media professionals do project-style or rotational work, for example, both as employees and as self-employed. It’s great that the UJF was responsive to this and decided to do something concretely. I see Mediakunta in a couple of years being able to share whet it has learnt in Finland and the rest of the world.”
Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI) provides funding for the development of digital journalism and associated technological innovations in Europe to the tune of €150-million. This is now the fourth round of such funding, recipients of which were announced in London, 13 December. See here for further info on previous funding recipients and DNI.