Every year BIRN gathers renowned international investigative journalists and experts to train the Summer School participants, including Sheila Coronel, professor at Columbia University; Nick Davies, the journalist for The Guardian who revealed the Rupert Murdoch affair; Mark Schoofs, a ProPublica Senior editor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner; and Paul Bradshaw, one of the UK’s most well-known bloggers.
BIRN also provides financial support for the top story ideas generated during the School. Summer School participants are divided into groups, where they develop their story ideas, and they then conduct investigations and produce a story that BIRN publishes on its flagship news portal- Balkan Insight. The Summer School also provides networking opportunities for the journalists who attend.
The training, which is held over five days each year, uses a curriculum based on the Investigative Journalism Handbook ‘Digging Deeper: A Guide for Investigative Journalists in the Balkans’, which was published by BIRN and has been translated into Albanian, Macedonian, and Serbian.
BIRN’s Summer School is organised in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Media Program- South East Europe, and funded by the Open Society Foundation, the OSCE Missions to Serbia and Skopje, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the US Embassy in Skopje, BIRN Kosovo and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Zagreb.
- Enhancing investigative reporting skills and journalistic standards of 20 journalists from the Balkan region and 10 international journalists each year;
- Providing networking opportunities for the journalists attending the school;
- Promoting investigative journalism in the Balkans by publishing investigations produced by journalists trained at the Summer School.
- Training – BIRN provides five days of training based on the curriculum ‘Digging Deeper’.
- Financing investigative stories – BIRN provides financial support for the best story ideas put forward during the School. An average of three stories are produced each year.
- Publishing – BIRN publishes investigative pieces from Summer School participants on BalkanInsight.com