Ten fellows from the region met in Skopje for the final seminar of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
Following the opening dinner on Wednesday night, on Thursday the agenda included a panel on social networking and the media with Filip Stojanovski, program coordinator at the Metamorphosis Foundation for internet and society.
Stojanovski gave the fellows valuable insight as well as practical tips into how journalists can use social networks to promote their work, but also how they can gather information and double check on facts. The fellows exchanged views and examples of journalists' use of social networks throughout the region.
The second panel on the state of media in Macedonia included Goran Mihajlovski, editor-in-chief of Vest daily, Tamara Causidis, president of the Journalists' union and Petrit Saracini of the Macedonian Media Institute. The panelists discussed the deteriorating state of the media and of journalistic standards in the country, and other challenges that journalists face.
The panelists and the fellows discussed issues of media freedom, the media's struggle to survive in the market and alternative ways for the media to survive and resist pressures coming from political or business interests.
On Thursday the fellows had a guided tour in the centre of Skopje and visited all the new building and monuments erected as part of the Skopje 2014 project, a government project to revamp the city.
The Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the ERSTE Foundation, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, has been running since 2007. Each year, ten Balkan journalists are competitively chosen to receive funding and professional support to conduct their own research projects.
Selected journalists receive a fellowship of 2,000 euro, a travel allowance of up to 2,000 euro and a chance to participate in a seven-month programme for professional advancement. In addition, the independent Selection Committee awards bursaries of €4,000, €3,000 and €1,000 to the authors of the three winning articles.
This years award ceremony will take place on November 23 in Skopje.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched a call for investigative stories on October 23rd.
The call is part of the program ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania,’ supported by th Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Power Games, an unprecedented investigation into the murky world of energy deals in the Balkans, has been launched by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Albania organised a roundtable on October 21st in Tirana, bringing together journalists with civil society organisations working in the field of education.
BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold the US premiere of its latest documentary, ‘Missing You’, on Thursday October 23 at Columbia University in New York.
The German government organization GIZ awarded Gazeta Jeta në Kosovë for investigative journalism about education.
BIRN Serbia held a public debate on the prospects of new models of budgetary financing for the media with NGO and media representatives in Novi Pazar, southwest Serbia.
The key conclusion from the debate in Belgrade on Tuesday was that the recently-published EU Progress Report on Serbia was not too hard on the Serbian government, but it does not mention many problems and some of the conclusions and recommendations are identical to the 2013 Progress Report.
BIRN’s documentary The Majority Starts Here was screened for the first time in the United States on Thursday, at Columbia University in New York.
Over 40 representatives of the media, non-governmental organisations and partners attended the official launch of BIRN Albania’s news website Reporter.al on October 3.
The biggest issue local media in Serbia are facing is a lack of knowledge about project financing and lack of budgetary transparency in allocating money to media outlets, two debates held by BIRN Serbia in Nis and Kragujevac heard. Media representatives said they hoped that some of the problems would be resolved by full implementation of new Media and Public Information Law.