Support for an evaluation “European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E3J)

Terms of References

Support for an evaluation

“European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E3J)”

1/ Context of the program

In times where misinformation and propaganda have become a threat to European security, trustworthy information is needed more than ever. Excellence in journalism is therefore a critical component of societal resilience and social inclusion. Funded by the European Union under the Creative Europe Programme (CREA), the European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E3J) aims to unleash the combined potential of European values and sector-wide cross-border collaboration between media professionals in Europe. E3J seeks to encourage journalistic collaboration by developing standards, new business models and training programmes. It also provides a range  of activities and offers intended to uphold quality journalism and a healthier information space including funding, capacity building and networking. It aims at equipping independent media outlets and individual journalists with resources, infrastructure and standards-based methods that enable them to practise high-quality, ethical, accountable, collaborative and investigative journalism. Finally, it provides a single-entry point for all types of media organisations, networks and individuals to connect, based on mutual trust and common rules.  

2/ Members of the consortium

Reporters without borders (RSF) - lead partner

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is a Paris-based non-profit organisation that promotes journalistic freedom, pluralism and independence. This includes defending those who embody these ideals. RSF provides information about the media freedom situation throughout the world and provides journalists with concrete support by means of campaigns, advocacy, litigation, legal aid and material assistance. RSF has also launched initiatives designed to promote the right to reliable news and information, especially in the digital domain.

Free Press Unlimited (FPU)

Free Press Unlimited (FPU) is an international press freedom organisation that works to make independent news and information available to everyone, particularly in countries with limited (press) freedom.Free Press Unlimited offers worldwide support to journalists and media professionals through its advocacy work, emergency assistance, advice, training, capacity building and awareness-raising in more than 50 countries, together with over 120 local media partners worldwide.


COPEAM is a non-profit association devoted to the promotion of dialogue and cultural integration in the Mediterranean Region, throughout the involvement of the major players of the audiovisual sector, among which the public service radio and TV broadcasters from 24 countries of the area, professional and cultural associations, higher education institutions and local authorities of Europe, the Balkans, North-Africa and Middle-East.

COPEAM - whose operational headquarters are based in Rome - brings together today about 60 members and focuses its action on a multilateral cooperation formula aimed at enhancing and exchanging expertise within its network.

The Community Media Institute for Continuing Education, Research and Consulting (COMMIT)

The Community Media Institute for Continuing Education, Research and Consulting (COMMIT) is the continuing education institution at the interface between non-commercial broadcasting, adult education and research in Austria.

COMMIT was founded in 2010 as an association, its activities are non-profit. Its goal is to promote the discussion and further development of non-commercial media at all levels of society. This includes the stimulation and design of further education and accompanying research in cooperation with actors of non-commercial media, adult education and science.

The Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) 

The Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) has since 2004 represented networks, national federations, projects and individuals active within the Third Media Sector in Europe. With more than 100 members including 24 national federations working with more than 2500 community radio stations and 500 TV stations, CMFE recognizes community media’s important role in a diverse and plural media landscape. CMFE works to strengthen the enabling environment for community media in Europe, their visibility and their cooperation for change.

Community media play an important role in the promotion of media literacy, cultural diversity and democratisation of communication. They serve diverse communities and involve thousands of volunteers in multilingual media productions, in training and in management - with women, marginalised groups, artists, journalism students, citizens, some with a migrant or refugee background, non-mainstream DJs, youth and elderly people actively at the forefront.

3/ The program

The European Excellence Exchange in Journalism (E3J) co-funded by the Creative Europe programme (journalism partnerships) is carried out by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in partnership with Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Permanent Conference of the Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM), Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) and the Community Media Institute for Continuing Education, Research and Consulting (COMMIT). RSF acts as the lead partner for this Consortium.

  • Duration: 24 months (1st of April 2022 - 31st of March 2024)
  • Budget: 982 413 €

3.1/ Objective of the program

The E3J project aims to bring more compliance with ethical norms to collaborative journalism, which elevates accountability and legitimacy. With such a gateway in place, the E3J project is facilitating a network of already established networks, hubs or newly launched groupings of journalists and media outlets. By leaving more space for doing “actual” journalism, E3J is bringing more efficiency and sustainability to collaborative journalism. Last but not least the E3J honours the fact that journalism is first and foremost about stories, with sound structures and ethics as the enabling pillars. Resting on the two, it promotes topical excellence around the main challenges of our times - migration, climate and public health. 

The project  is investing in existing or emerging regional networks, hubs and initiatives in this field to drive compliance with professional standards. Through the combination of proven and new tools, support to journalists include traditional training formats, mentoring and fellowships, micro grants, dedicated collaborative spaces and online resources. Around three topical clusters, participants are focusing in particular on climate change, public health and migration.

3.2/ Target countries

E3J’s geographical scope targets all EU countries as well as non-EU participating countries in the Europe Creative programme for cross-sectoral strand. 

3.3/ Beneficiaries of the actions 

Beneficiaries of the actions are all media outlets and journalists based in the target countries mentioned above.

3.4/ Objectives, planned activities 

General objective 

Contribute to media pluralism across Europe, by strengthening diversity and quality of collaborative and value-based, independent journalism that enables a well informed citizenry across Europe, where every individual can fully exercise their freedoms of opinion and expression and thus, fully participate in society.

With the combination of the tree specific objectives, the project aims to provide a holistic approach for systemic improvement of the overall environment. You can find below a detailed description of the work packages by specific objective. 



Specific objective (SO)

Work package 



Enhance professional reliability and thus, safeguard collaboration of journalists by means of a normative, standards-based platform (JTI gateway

WP 4 - Trust module: This sub-action is geared toward facilitating the integration of existing offers of the Journalism TrustInvestigative Initiative Europe.

As part of this activity, the JTI web application, the jti:app and its forthcoming knowledge base, the JTI Campus, will be extended by a gateway for individual journalists.





Stimulate interoperability, usage of and access to both existing and new networks, hubs and actors with a particular view on smaller entities and individual journalists (network of networks)

WP2 - Network of Networks: This sub-action will strengthen and multiply journalistic partnerships in Europe by providing current and emerging networks and hubs with a new platform to connect them with other like-minded initiatives.

The “Network of Networks” will promote universal standards of journalistic practices and enhance professional trust- based cooperation, including on specific topics of public interest.



Foster excellence and innovation of covering specific topical clusters, with a particular focus on civic engagement and media/information literacy (MIL)

WP3 - Topical clusters: This sub-action will foster a better media reporting of cross-border issues, while stimulating public debate and strengthening social cohesion.

1. Seminars/Masterclasses on Migration

2. Climate Fellowships

3. Media and information literacy on Public Health

Access to training offers and knowledge hubs is reserved for network participants.

Ethical, Functional and Topical

SO1 > SO3 

WP 1 - Project management and coordination 

As a cross-functional, supporting work package, it will cater to SO1 through SO3, with the following goals:

1. Formal administration of the project is conducted in a professional, transparent and efficient way, providing internal and external accountability;

2. Operational project management and coordination is run on a day-to-day basis to maximise fulfilment and synergies within the consortium;

3. Risk assessment and conflict resolution is provided proactively to mitigate potential threats. In principle the likelihood and impact of risks is considered low.

4. Governance is facilitated to allow for engagement with internal and external stakeholders (e. g. Steering Group, Advisory Council).


WP5 - Dissemination 

As a cross-functional, supporting work package, it will cater to SO1 through SO3, with the following goals:

1. Raise awareness and participation by promoting the offer vis-a-vis relevant target groups;

2. Enhance impact at the ‘product’ level, by upskilling, community building and enhancing the exchange of best practices;

3. Provide visibility, including timely and useful information about the project to stakeholders and the general public, for example via a dedicated homepage and a high-profile conference with an MIL-focussed angle.

4/ Objectives of the consultancy

4.1/ Objectives and expectations 

The consortium has to carry out an intermediary review for the project. It will be carried out internally with the support of an external consultant. This evaluation will be based on contributions from the project stakeholders.

The objectives of this evaluation will be:

  • to provide an assessment of how well the programme is progressing;
  • to provide the Consortium with a critical analysis of the work carried out under the program;
  • identify lessons and suggest areas for improvement 

RSF, as lead partner of the consortium, is therefore looking for a consultant, to support the organisation of the evaluation, alongside the MEAL officer. They would bring their experience in the organisation of the process, validation of the questionnaire, and the best way to deal with the answers. 

Recommendations will be formulated to enable RSF and the Consortium to consolidate the strong points of its implementation, to exploit its margins for progress and to take into account the various points of vigilance that will have been identified by the evaluation for future projects. The lessons learned from the evaluation will serve as a basis for capitalising on good practice.

4.2/ Indicative evaluation criteria and questions - to be fine tuned  with the consultant during the co-construction

Relevance and coherence

  • Are the activities carried out and the results observed compatible with the expected effects and impact?
  • Are the programme, its activities and objectives still relevant and consistent with the needs of the target groups? 
  • Are the various means of action deployed adapted to the political and cultural contexts of the target countries?
  • Are the adjustments made to the project consistent with its objectives?

Efficiency and effectiveness 

  • To what extent were the project results achieved?
  • Were resources (human, material, financial, etc.) used efficiently?
  • How have the obstacles encountered been overcome / circumvented? 

Special attention must be paid to the two following OCDE criteria during the evaluation:

Impact and sustainability 

  • Is the impact (positive/negative, direct/indirect) of the project already observable ?
  • Has the project's intervention logic enabled it to reach a more diverse range of stakeholders ? To what extent?
  • Has the project improved coverage of the following topics: migration, climate change and public health?
  • Are the results achieved by the project sustainable and to what extent?
  • Has the project improved collaborative journalism in Europe? 

5/  Methodology

Documentation :

All the documents required for the evaluation of the programme will be made available to the consultant, in particular: programme documents, evaluation of activities, partners' interim and final reports, deliverables, etc.

The stakeholders to be involved in the evaluation will be :

  • RSF teams
  • FPU teams
  • COPEAM teams
  • CMFE teams
  • COMMIT teams
  • Journalists and media 

The consultant will support RSF to organize the evaluation of the programme in a participatory manner and be representative of all the stakeholders involved.


Desired start of the assignment is at the end of January 2024. Support must last from the  kick-off meeting to the final report submitted no later than 21st of April 2024.

All expected deliverables have to be submitted by RSF internal evaluator and the external consultant with a co-construction method. 


Expected deliverables:

  • An inception report expected by mid-February (after the kick-off meeting), written in English, which will include: 
    • An updated work plan based on the documentation review and the kick-off meeting: methodology, tools, techniques, evaluative questions, interview grids, etc. 
    • An updated presentation of the timetable  
    • A list of people who will be contacted. 
  • A first draft of the final report is expected April 7  (preliminary report), co-constructed with RSF. 
  • The final report expected April 21, co-constructed with RSF will include:
    • An executive summary of a maximum of 5 pages including the main conclusions and recommendations resulting from the evaluation, written in English. Recommendations will be ranked in order of priority (high, medium, low).
    • A main report including the context, objectives and methodology of the evaluation, the detailed findings and results of the evaluation in relation to the objectives and methodology of the evaluation, and the evaluator's conclusions and recommendations. 
    • In the appendix, the model questionnaires used, and any other relevant documents.

6/ Profiles and Means 

The following skills will be sought:

  • Expertise on european media landscape is an asset;
  • Expertise in Consortium evaluation;
  • Skills and significant experience in CSO/NGO project evaluation (methodology, interviewing, analysis, report writing, etc.);
  • Experience of working on EU-funded projects is an asset;
  • Fluent spoken and written in English.


The budget available for this consultancy is a maximum of 15 000 € including VAT. This amount must include all the costs required to carry out the evaluation support.

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following evaluation grid:


Understanding of the terms of references


Understanding the purpose of the ToR


Methodology used


Proposed steps, suggested tools, planned progress point, feedback & Duration and suggested calendar




Experience of the proposed consultant or team in similar projects




Budget proposed 


Clarity of the criteria used to calculate the budget


Added value : valorisation of tools, particular expertise, etc.


7/ Submission of the offer 

RSF’s budget for the consultancy is 15 000 euros. Consultants interested in the evaluation assignment should include the following documents in their application: 

  • A technical proposal detailing the understanding of the evaluation issues, the proposed evaluation support methodology, as well as the envisaged implementation schedule.
  • CV containing: education and experience.
  • A registration certificate to the relevant authority (e.g., company registration number)
  • Description of previous relevant experience in the same field. Please give details of similar contracts: their amounts, implementation period, main results, donor and organisation that implemented the projects.
  • A detailed estimate showing the total amount including VAT.

Proposals must be submitted in English. 

Full applications should be sent by email to the following addresses by the 14 of January 2024 at the latest :

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


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