Media sustainability


Regional champions accelerator

On October 26, 2018, MDF launched the Media Manager Academy with 10 participants from regional media participating. The MMA academy is the first phase of our pioneer Regional Champions Accelerator program, which combines three elements to put entreprising media on a path to sustainable growth: the Media Manager Academy, a Business Project, and a building “Champions Organizations” support model.

The Media Manager Academy (MMA) is an Executive-MBA style program for senior leaders (CEOs/ Chief Editors) of regional media split across 3 modules. It builds key skills needed to run an organization, incl. project management, managing people, core business knowledge, and new monetization models.

During the MMA program participants develop and pilot a commercially viable project – with weekly interactions with experts and mentors helping them refine and develop their business idea. A pitch session showcases projects to investors to attract seed funds.

Products/ strategies developed in the previous phase are launched – first as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then refined – and later scaled. A VC-type approach provides seed funding to promising media companies to develop MVPs and additional funds to implement growth strategies – creating “Champion Organizations” that can set benchmarks and inspire others.


Dirigible 5.jpg

Hyperlocal Media Lab - Dirigible

The Hyperlocal Media Lab takes an experimental approach to learn how to make local media in Ukraine financially sustainable while remaining independent and producing quality content.

The pilot involved the launch of a local newspaper, Dirigible, in the town of Yampil, Vinnytsia oblast (pop. 11,500). Over eight months external trainers, journalists and managers helped a local team set up a news-site, recruit writers and develop a revenue stream based on retail sales and advertising.

Learnings from the Dirigible have since been applied to 10 media outlets in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, helping them improve their editorial and managerial capabilities, and to become more effective at monetizing their work.


Key facts and achievements:

  • Local media Digirible ( created from scratch, with modern design to optimize user experience

  • 63,500 unique site visitors and 299,500 page views in first 18 months of operation

  • 60,000 issues distributed in district over a 12 month period, with 700 materials written

  • Two 1.5 month internships for Yampil journalists in Kyiv; 4 masterclasses held for local journalists in Yampil

Dirigible 4.png