Fellowship 2023: Call for Applications Open

Posted on

We are awarding 10 fellowships to journalists from Central and South-Eastern Europe who have an idea for a story that needs dedicated on-the-ground reporting, in-depth research, generous funding and sustained editorial attention to do it justice.

Applications are solicited under this year’s theme, Security. Successful applicants will be selected by an independent committee to take part in our programme for professional development, culminating in the production of a compelling longform story to be published by BIRN and its media partners.

Our output takes the form of features, analysis and investigations, presented in depth for a global audience. We emphasise strong storytelling and rigorous, on-the-ground reporting – qualities traditionally associated with the best magazine journalism.

The Fellowship provides:

  • a bursary of €3,000
  • the chance to improve your reporting skills by working in close collaboration with world-class editors
  • ongoing mentoring and support from BIRN’s leading regional journalistic network, present in 14 countries of the Central and SEE region
  • the opportunity to participate in an introductory seminar in Vienna, May 13th – 16th , focused on reporting and storytelling techniques
  • the chance to win additional awards worth between 1.000 and 3.000 euros for the best three stories
  • worldwide publication of reports in local languages and English through our network of media partners
  • membership of the Fellowship alumni network, designed to support networking between fellows who have participated in the programme since 2007

This year’s call is open until March 28th. Please send us your proposal using the official application form.

To maximize your chances of a successful application read more about the programme including the tips from our editors

Here is what our editor, Neil Arun, has to say about this year’s topic.

Questions of security have dominated the news in a year that saw the return of large-scale war to Europe. But security takes many forms beyond protection from invading armies or soaring energy prices. In his famous “hierarchy of needs”, the US psychologist Abraham Maslow ranked the human requirement for security as utterly fundamental, superseded only by physiological needs.

The theme of this year’s Fellowship invites you to consider the many ways in which security – and its absence – are shaping your society. You could, for instance, examine some of the institutions around you that are entrusted to provide some form of security. What happens when they fail? What happens when they over-reach, abusing the trust placed in them? Who suffers? Who benefits? You can report on protection from violence, abuse and injustice. You can also report on economic security – or protection from poverty and exploitation. And then there is the protection of the environment from pollution to consider, and the protection of society from harmful technologies, and of essential supply chains from disruption. You can report on any of these things and you can, of course, also examine the impact of the war in Ukraine if you have a new and compelling story to tell about it.

The annual theme is always broad, in order to attract the broadest range of applications. If you want to apply for the Fellowship but do not have a story in mind, the theme should help you generate ideas. If you already have a story lined up, find a way of linking it to the theme. We will always value a strong application that is loosely linked to the theme over a weak application that is tightly linked to the theme.

About the Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence

The Fellowship has been providing journalists with editorial guidance and funding to pursue agenda-setting stories for more than 15 years. Aimed at promoting the development of a robust and responsible press, the programme has helped shape journalistic standards across the region while boosting the careers of participating reporters.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and Erste Foundation set up the Fellowship in 2007 with a view to encouraging in-depth cross-border reporting in south-eastern Europe. In 2020, the programme was expanded to include four central European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

To read our stories and find out more about the Fellowship please visit the Fellowship official page.