US offers to pay EU state's media for Ukraine coverage
The US Consulate General in Krakow is soliciting Polish outlets to write about Ukrainian refugees “returning and rebuilding,” it emerged on Wednesday. Washington is offering $50,000 for the year-long project.
The project “to promote coverage in Poland by local and regional media representatives of stories in Ukraine” was first spotted by a Telegram channel based in Belarus. It can be found at the website of the US embassy in Poland, under the designation WAW-NOFO-FY23-05.
It was unclear when the solicitation was originally posted. However, the deadline for submissions is end of the day Friday, September 15.
According to the post, the goal is to “promote in-depth reporting by local and regional Polish media of the return of Ukrainian families from Poland to Ukraine and their social and physical rebuilding efforts, particularly those built on partnerships between Poles and Ukrainians.”
The articles should fuel “public understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by Ukrainians” as well as interest in Ukrainian “efforts to return and rebuild” and the “enduring impact of support provided by Polish society to Ukrainian refugees.”
The solicitation suggests the project would actually be given to a Polish NGO, with US embassy staff having “substantial involvement in the grant implementation, including reviewing and approving selection of participants, trainers, and award decisions within the project.”
The NGO would get a grant of $50,000 (about 215,500 zloty at the current exchange rate) and then have Polish journalists compete for portions of the money. The embassy would evaluate their success by the “quality and reach of reports generated.”
The project also includes at least one workshop teaching the reporters “culturally sensitive and trauma-informed manner and how to create compelling human-interest stories in this context,” taught by “experts in the intersection between mental health and journalism in war zones” and others with the relevant experience.
The entire project is slated to run for a single year, though Washington reserves the right to extend that if it’s judged to be “in the best interest of the US Department of State.”
There are approximately one million Ukrainian refugees in Poland at the moment. Multiple surveys of those who settled in EU countries show that more than 40% do not intend to return even if the conflict with Russia ends. Warsaw has reportedly already started sending men of military age back, even as other EU members have refused to do so on human rights grounds.