- foster quality reporting,
- initiate regional networking among journalists and
- advance balanced coverage on topics that are central to the region as well as to the EU
Through its Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme, BIRN works within the region to foster quality reporting, initiate regional networking among journalists and advance balanced coverage on topics that are central to the region as well as to the EU.
The programme, which was launched in 2007, provides training and networking for 10 journalists from the region each year, each of whom produces an investigative or analytical article with regional relevance.
Participants come from Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Albania.
BIRN promotes the journalists and their work, securing public recognition and increasing the visibility of the programme. In addition, the BIRN team strengthens the Alumni network through bi-annual meetings and a small grants scheme for quality content production.
Fellowship journalists receive training and editorial support from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network’s team of editors, as well as a bursary of €2,000 and additional travel and research funding of up to €2,000.
The reporters attend seminars in Vienna and enjoy extensive republication of their articles in regional and international print and online media, as well as a chance to win monetary awards. Through the programme, participants are given a unique opportunity to network with other fellows, alumni and international experts.
This programme receives more than 100 applications annually, and the number of republications of the participants' articles has grown every year, reaching an average of 500 republications in the region and abroad.
Alumni fellows have participated in some of the most prestigious media and political conferences organised in the region and the EU, and many alumni and fellows have received regional and international awards for the work they produced as part of the programme.
These awards include the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism and the Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, as well as the Daniel Pearl award for international investigative reporting and a TED fellowship for innovation.
This programme was initiated in 2007 by ERSTE Foundation and Robert Bosch Stiftung, in cooperation with BIRN.