The Walkley Media Incubator and Innovation Fund longlist has been announced
More than 150 teams applied to take part in our Walkleys Media Incubator and to have a shot at funding and ongoing mentoring as grant winners. Applications closed on April 6, 2017. If you would like to be notified when the 2018 round opens, please sign up here.
Funding, training and mentoring
The Walkleys runs this program because our news industry urgently needs reinvigoration and new projects. Both the Walkleys and our lead partner Google are passionate about supporting exciting ideas and projects.
The 2017 program is about empowering as many ideas as possible. At least $10,000 has been earmarked to go towards a project or tool to combat fake news. The longlisted projects will now take part in an incubator program. The grant recipients will be announced at the Mid-Year Walkleys Awards in July.
The winning grant applicants will receive:
- Cash grants of up to $35,000 per project.
- Mentoring from people with deep experience in startups, media and technology.
- Ongoing support from the Walkleys and our network.
- The opportunity to run a crowdfunding campaign promoted and matched by the Walkleys.
- Two of the teams will be given a Walkley coding scholarship for a team member.
The Fund is open to backing a broad range of ideas across the news, media and civic engagement industries. We’re fairly open-minded about what these projects could be. But we’d especially love to see ideas that empower journalism to fulfill its critical role in democracy of speaking truth to power, and supporting an engaged, connected and informed public.
Prior to the grants being awarded, all shortlisted projects (15 to 20 projects) will:
- Take part in a two-day training workshop in Sydney or Melbourne.
And all longlisted projects will receive:
- Access to three online modules about lean startup methodology and strategic planning run by project partner BlueChilli. These will be customised for the journalism industry and cover both commercial and nonprofit plans.
- Support from our exceptional mentors in the news, startup and technology industry.
- Access to an online support community.
What we’re looking for
We recently published a detailed guide to this question but in brief, we are open to projects that are:
- Not yet launched or were launched after January 2014.
- Either not-for-profit or commercial in their structure and intent.
- Technology plays or more classic projects.
- While we are open to supporting great journalism tools and storytelling experiments, we are particularly interested in supporting the emergence of new journalism ventures and business models.
- Individuals or teams in Australia, New Zealand or the Asia Pacific Region.
If you are not sure if your idea is a good fit or want more information or feedback, please reach out to innovation manager Rose Powell on rose.powell[at]walkleys.com. FAQs can be found here.
Previous successful projects have included:
- A secure and verifiable way for people in crisis zones to communicate with journalists.
- A news bot for analysing data sets and drafting basic stories.
- An online training and support portal for community radio.
- A public health news site.
- A podcast to source and showcase stories of innovation and progress.
- A not-for-profit publisher that focuses on arts and culture writing with a locational element in storytelling.
- A content-driven ethical fashion ecommerce site.
Key dates and people
This program could not happen without the generous investment of our lead partner Google, and the support of iSentia, the Copyright Agency Limited and Blue Chilli.
- Jacqui Park: Stanford-trained CEO of the Walkley Foundation and John S. Knight Fellow. Full bio.
- Niki Scevak: cofounder and managing director of Blackbird Ventures and Startmate accelerator. Full bio.
- James Kirby: cofounder and managing editor of Eureka Report, editor at The Australian. Full bio.
- Ramin Marzbani: Technology, internet and financial services analyst and investor. Full bio.
Our mentors include our judges and:
- Alan Jones: startup advisor and investor at BlueChilli, Blackbird Ventures and the Startmate accelerator. Full bio.
- Tran Ha: Former managing director of media experiments at Stanford Design School, serial digital founding editor. Full bio.
- Gautam Mishra: cofounder of news startup inkl, former executive at Fairfax Digital. Full bio.
- Annie Parker: CEO of Lighthouse Sydney startup precinct, cofounder of Telstra’s Muru-D accelerator. Full bio.
- Nic Hopkins: Google Australia executive, former digital editor and product at News Corp. Full bio.
- Kris Howard: Director of Developer Relations at YOW! Australia, formerly at Ninemsn. Full bio.
- John McDuling: Editorial and product at Fairfax Media, previously with qz.com in New York. Full bio.
- Tiny Pang: Data scientist at Canva, formerly with Freelancer. Full bio.
- David Ryan: Publishing platform Corilla cofounder, Red Hat startup accelerator grad. Full bio.
- Skye Doherty: 2014 Innovation Grant recipient and academic. Full bio.
- If you are interested in becoming a mentor in the program, please contact our innovation manager on rose.powell [at] walkleys.com
- March 14: Walkley Innovation Fund open to applications
- April 6: Applications close
- April 10: Longlist announced
- April 16: Online training available for longlist participants
- Late May: Workshops in Sydney and Melbourne for shortlisted participants
- July 26: Grant recipients announced at the Walkley Foundation’s Mid-Year Awards
Innovation Program partners
The Walkley innovation grants are part of our journalism innovation program. We’re always looking for new partners from the worlds of journalism, business and non-profits who can help transform journalism. Read more about working with us or just email the Walkleys’ innovation manager Rose Powell or our general manager, Louisa Graham.
Our current partners: