Blake Morrison, investigative projects editor at Reuters and three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, is the lead trainer for the 10th annual Birn Summer School. The School will be hosted in the heart of Boka Bay at Herceg Novi and will run from August 18th to August 25th, with participants from across the Western Balkans and Europe.
In addition to Morison’s lectures, the more than 30 participants will have an opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading editors and journalists, such as Frederick Obermaier (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Benjamin Strick (BBC Africa Eye and Bellingcat) and many more.
Since joining Reuters, Morrison has overseen and edited a variety of projects that includes two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: The Child Exchange, an investigation of America’s underground market for adopted children, and The Echo Chamber, a special report that revealed how a handful of lawyers came to have an outsize influence at the U.S. Supreme Court. At BIRN Summer School he will reveal the secrets of interviewing to attendees, teach them how to conceive and organize an investigative project, and help them learn to imagine a story.
Frederick Obermaier, an investigative journalist for Süddeutsche Zeitung and one of the initiators and coordinators of the ICIJ’s Panama Papers investigation, will teach participants how to investigate large data sets and verify leaks.
As part of the Panama Papers team he won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting; the George Polk award; the Perfil award; and the Nannen Preis, a prestigious German journalism prize. He was voted, together with his colleagues Bastian Obermayer and Vanessa Wormer, “German Journalist of the Year 2016”.
In addition to the Panama Papers, Obermaier was a part of the team that uncovered Germany’s role in the United States’s drone war. Obermaier has received numerous awards for his other work, including the CNN-Award in 2011 and the Wächterpreis der Tagespresse and Helmut Schmidt Prize in 2013.
Participants in the BIRN Summer School will also have the opportunity to study open source investigations from one of the leading researchers in the field—Benjamin Strick, an open-source investigator for BBC Africa Eye and Bellingcat. Strick, with a background in law and the military, was part of the BBC Africa Eye team that developed Anatomy of a Killing, a reconstruction of the killing of civilians in Cameroon in 2015. Anatomy of a Killing won a Peabody Award and a Webby award in the Documentary: Longform category.
BIRN’s own Ivan Angelovski and Ivana Jeremic will teach attendees how to fact check their stories and how to track ships and planes online.
Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from journalist Andrew Baker, who will show them how to visualize investigation, including using smartphones to do so. Award winning German journalist Olaf Sundermeyer will talk about investigative documentaries focused on organized crime and political extremism.
Beyond lectures, participants will enjoy screenings and discussions of award-winning documentaries, including “Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World.”
BIRN’s Summer School is organised in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Media Program South East Europe.