Sorana Stanescu, a journalist from Romania, takes first place in the 2012 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence for her story about the job restrictions that have left migrant construction workers underpaid and vulnerable to exploitation.
The top prize in this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence has been won by Sorana Stanescu for her article, Cheap and Far from Free: The Migrants Building Britain.
Stanescu, a reporter for the Romanian public broadcaster, won 4,000 euros in prize money.
Second place and a 3,000-euro award went to Saska Cvetkovska from Macedonia for her article, Want to Work? Join the Party: Contacts Trump Merit in Balkan Job Market.
Aleksandra Bogdani took third place, winning a 1,000 euro prize, for her investigation entitled, Secrets and Lies: Victims of Albanian Communism Denied Closure.
The winning articles were selected by an independent panel of judges, including Florian Bieber, a professor and director of the Centre for Southeast Studies at the University of Graz; Remzi Lami, the executive director of the Albanian Media Institute, Milorad Ivanovic, executive editor of the Serbian weekly, Novi Magazin; Markus Spielman, editor of the Swiss newspaper, Neue Zeitung Zuricher; and Adelheid Wölfl, Zagreb correspondent for the Austrian daily, Der Standard.
All members of the committee stressed that it had been “extremely difficult” to choose the three winners. They noted that the winning article covered a highly relevant and complex topic, demonstrating great mastery of detail.
Stanescu said she was grateful that the fellowship had allowed her to carry out an in-depth investigation on a subject that she had been researching for a long time.
“The best part of the programme was the opportunity to work with a very scrupulous editor, an experience you rarely get in Romania, and one that can only enhance one’s storytelling,” she said.
The winners were announced on the evening of Friday, 23 November, at a ceremony at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Skopje. Besides fellows and jury members, a further 30 journalists from the region who are alumni of the fellowship also participated in the event.
The theme for this year’s competition was “communities”. Journalists on the programme reported on topics ranging from football fan groups, the environmental movement, radical Islamists, youth unemployment, orphans and the exploitation of immigrant workers within the European Union.
Initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE Foundation in 2007, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, the annual fellowship provides financial and professional support to foster quality reporting in the Balkan region.
Additionally, the programme encourages regional networking among journalists and provides balanced coverage of complex reform issues that are central to the region and the European Union.
This year’s ten fellows were selected from more than 120 applicants from nine Balkan countries. Next year’s programme will be open for applications from early 2013.
BIRN has filed a complaint against Informer newspaper before the Complaints Commission of the Serbian Press Council following the paper’s reporting on BIRN’s investigation into the Tamnava mine.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Albania organised a roundtable on January 20th in Tirana, bringing together journalists and civil society organisations working in the field of justice and the rule of law.
BIRN Journalists win UNDP awards for war against corruption and KOMF award for best report on children rights
BIRN Hub, as the BIRN Network’s umbrella organisation, this month signed a five-year agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) on core support for implementing cross-regional programmes and enhancing the capacity of the Network.
The Silent Scream, a documentary about survivors of wartime sexual violence, produced by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH), was screened at The New School for Public Engagement, in New York.
Past participants in the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence from all over the Balkans came to Belgrade from November 28-29 for the annual BFJE Award Academy and to take part in parallel alumni sessions that enabled them to exchange experiences, discuss new ideas and present their latest projects.
Journalists from across the Balkans gathered in Belgrade from December 5 to 6 to discuss the contemporary Balkan art scene and have their stories commissioned for BIRN’s ‘Invisible Art’ project, supported by the Prince Claus Fund.
BIRN journalists Parim Olluri and Petrit Collaku were awarded the first prize for an online story by the United Nations Development Programme and the Journalists Association of Kosovo.
BIRN BiH’s new documentary "The Silent Scream" was screened to a group of students studying human rights in the western Balkans at the Harriman Institute at the Columbia University in New York.
‘Invisible Art’, a new project from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, will be launched with a regional meeting of participating journalists in Belgrade.