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 Bosnia and Herzegovina's deputy editor Denis Dzidic participated in a Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska education session in Bijeljina this week, an event being held from May 20-24 under the banner ‘Transitional Justice in Universities’.
BIRN Macedonia, together with Centre for Investigative journalism, SCOOP Macedonia and the Centre for Civil Communications launched a call for investigative stories on May 17.
Quality of life was the subject of a debate in Skopje on May 15 organised by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Macedonia in partnership with the Centre for Civil Communications, part of the USAID programme for strengthening independent media in Macedonia.
The 2013 Reporting Europe Prize has been handed to Sorana Stanescu for her story about the exploitation of migrant workers in the UK, produced under the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Kosovo and ARTICLE 19 have welcomed the draft law on the protection of journalists’ sources which was sent for its first reading by the Kosovo assembly’s media committee on April 19.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Macedonia in partnership with the Centre for Civic Communications organised a debate on May 13 in Skopje entitled ‘Detecting common issues as a basis for cooperation between journalists and non-governmental organisations about the inclusion of marginalised groups in society’.
BIRN Serbia journalist Slobodan Georgiev has won the 2013 National Investigative Journalism Award, a prize given by the Independent Association of Journalists in Serbia.
The ten reporters chosen for this year’s Balkan Fellowship of Journalistic Excellence have planned their assignments over the course of an intensive three-day seminar in Vienna.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network - Macedonia in partnership with the Center for Civic Communications, CCC, organized a debate on April 29 in Skopje entitled “Detecting common issues as a basis for cooperation between journalists and non-governmental organizations about environmental issues”.
BIRN Serbia, part of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, held a conference on April 26 to discuss its portal Javno.rs, an open and fully searchable database containing thousands of documents on public expenditure (see http://javno.skockajtebudzet.rs/index.php).