The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) launched a cross-border journalism platform on Thursday with the aim of helping journalists all over the globe by providing them with knowledge and assistance necessary in today’s world.
BIRN Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD) is an innovative interactive platform created for professional and citizen journalists who want to keep up-to-date with the fast-changing world of technology without sacrificing their ethics or the standards of professional journalism.
In times of media deterioration, and with new challenges in the digital sphere that are shaping the world, journalism’s ecosystem is changing fast, and in unpredictable ways. The role of journalists across the world has never been more complex.
BIRD is BIRN’s latest move to strengthen journalism in Southeast Europe and beyond. For months, we have worked together with a team of dedicated journalists, editors and developers to create a platform that is easy to use and provides all relevant information in one place.
As we believe that information is power, our vision was to use the potential of the BIRN network and its knowledge base to create something that can be used widely, for free.
Through BIRD, we wanted to offer journalists an easy way to learn and stay on track with the latest developments in the digital sphere. That way, BIRD users will be able to get all the latest updates on the state of digital freedoms, opportunities within the journalism network and beyond, and news covering these topics.
The platform provides investigative journalists with various types of assistance and a set of tools and resources related, but not limited, to freedom of information, data access and protection, cyber-security and open-source datasets.
The assistance of our experts is free and provided on a needs basis.
BIRD also contains various databases and a set of tools that can be used in daily reporting. Currently, the platform offers 20 different publications on topics such as freedom of information, data protection, journalism sustainability, verifying information and many more. And we intend to add more in future.
As part of our drive for openness, we have also established a free, user-friendly, searchable online library of public documents and scraped database. Called BIRN Source, it currently contains almost 1,300,000 documents, files and records. The numbers will soon rise as the database is being updated in real-time.
BIRN Source is designed to be easily searchable and useful to journalists and editors from Southeast Europe, and all over the world. The database offers text recognition in multiple and all-local languages.
We are also proud of BIRD’s How-to’s section. This is where users will be able to read case studies and guides done by some of the most prominent journalism experts, such as Blake Morrison, Frederik Obermaier, Benjamin Strick and others. We believe that the experience they have shared may motivate journalists to implement some of the solutions in their own newsrooms, and come up with new ideas.
As a result of our partnership with Share Foundation, an integral part of BIRD is the regional digital freedom-monitoring database, covering the state of digital rights in Southern and Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia).
Recognising the open and global nature of the online arena, the database stresses the importance of a human rights-based approach towards people in the digital environment.
Together with Share, BIRN journalists will monitor and fact-check cases of digital rights violations across the region as soon as they happen.
The database is searchable by different criteria (date, country, affected party, means of the attack, description, attacker, etc.) and is available in both English and the local languages of the countries where the monitoring is being conducted.