Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence 2021: Transformation

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The Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence is opening its 2021 call for applications.

The programme, now in its 15th year, provides a 3,000-euro bursary and sustained editorial support to journalists seeking to report in depth on the forces shaping societies and democracies across 14 countries in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe. The Fellowship emphasises strong storytelling and rigorous, on-the-ground reporting – skills traditionally associated with the best magazine journalism.

The deadline for this year’s entries is 9 April 2021. As usual, applications are solicited under an annual theme. This year’s theme is Transformation. Fellowship editor Neil Arun said the theme gave journalists “a chance to pitch a story that probed the changes that had been set in motion, or that had gathered pace, over the past year.”

The annual selection of 10 journalist Fellows is made by an independent committee. The Fellows are mentored by the programme editor in the course of their reporting, and can also draw on the support of BIRN’s regional network of journalists. In addition to financial and editorial support, the Fellowship offers:

  • The chance to participate in an introductory seminar focused on reporting and storytelling techniques
  • The chance to win additional awards, worth between 3.000 and 1.000 euros, for the three best stories
  • Publication of finished stories in regional languages and in English, through BIRN’s network of media partners
  • Membership of the Fellowship alumni network, designed to support networking between journalists who have participated in the programme

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and ERSTE Foundation set up the Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence in 2007.

Since then, more than 140 journalists from 14 countries in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe have taken part in the Fellowship’s world-class programme for professional development.

Since 2020, the Fellowship has been accepting applications from journalists in the Visegrad group of countries, as well as from the Balkans.

Applications can be made by downloading the official form. Journalists who wish to maximise their chances of a successful application can read these tips from our editors and check out the latest stories on the Fellowship homepage

For more information, please contact us on [email protected]