Many journalists across the SEE and CE are still struggling with emerging technologies that could help them dig deeper and tell their stories better.
Reporters and media workers are also vulnerable to digital threats, and need to be properly equipped with basic tips and tools on how to combat them.
Responding to these needs, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, is calling on coders, programmers and other tech experts to become part of an informal network CODE4SEE (SEE is an acronym for the South-East Europe region).
The aim of the CODE4SEE network is to assist journalists with time and expertise. Engagement is on a voluntary basis, aiming to support stories that are in the public interest. CODE4SEE network members will to contribute pro bono, although in exceptional cases journalists might be asked to pay small fees.
BIRN is seeking to bring together IT experts from South-East and Central Europe, and students are also encouraged to join the network.
According to BIRN’s assessments, journalists are having specific issues with navigating online databases, scraping, exploiting open source programmes, big data analytics, data visualisation, finding and verifying data on social media and staying safe online.
BIRN aims to promote the CODE4SEE network on its various platforms, social media channels and mailing lists, and to encourage regional journalists – both freelancers and those working for media outlets or public broadcasters – to reach out to its members whenever they need a hand with incorporating technical expertise into their journalistic work.
Network members will also be strongly encouraged to reach out to journalists and propose ideas or suggest a story/topic to be further explored.
Since its inception – in addition to its work in investigative journalism – BIRN has positioned itself as a leading regional organisation providing capacity-building support to journalists and editors in the Balkans and beyond.
BIRN provides training, editorial and mentoring support through various projects, including its flagship programmes, the Summer School of Investigative Reporting and the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
The BIRN network has organised more than 540 different training courses and awarded around 700 grants to both media organisations and individual journalists, changing the media landscape in the region.
Establishing this informal network of coders and IT experts is the latest addition to BIRN’s efforts to help journalists and media professionals bridge the gap between their work and emerging technologies.
In 2020, BIRN launched the BIRN Investigative Resource Desk, BIRD, which provides journalists and researchers with tips, tools, resources and technical services they can use in their daily work, as well as information about the latest developments in the sphere of media freedom, freedom of information, digital rights, social media, surveillance and censorship.
A year later, in 2021, BIRN launched BIRD Community, which hosts BIRD Directory – a database of contacts of experts in different fields – and BIRD Source, a comprehensive database of more than three million documents that the BIRN team has scraped, obtained through Freedom of Information laws and collected from sources for its groundbreaking investigations.
All these platforms further serve to connect journalists reporting on South-East and Central Europe and provide them with a safe space where they can interact and exchange ideas, data and information, collaborate on existing projects, or start new ones.
If you want to become part of the CODE4SEE network, please fill out this form on the Link.
(BIRN will not share your contact and other details without your consent)
Deadline for applying: December 15, 2022.
If you have any questions about the CODE4SEE network, feel free to contact Ivana Nikolic at [email protected]
BIRN will reach out to interested individuals to arrange their engagement in the initiative.