BIRN Kosovo Launches the 2009 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence

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In a joint press launch on Sunday February 8, BIRN Kosovo announced the 2009 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence and the release of the book, written by last year’s fellows, “Power struggle: Meeting Global Energy Challenges in Balkans”.

BIRN Kosovo Director Jeta Xharra introduced the book and officially opened the fellowship programme for 2009, while BIRN Kosovo Editor Krenar Gashi presented the book, containing investigative journalism stories written by last year’s fellows, on the topic of energy. Gashi also spoke about the objectives of the programme and advised prospective candidates on the application process for 2009.

Journalists, editors and representatives of the civil society were present at the event hosted in ‘Lounge’ restaurant in Pristina.

Lavdim Hamidi, BIRN’s winning fellow from the 2008 programme, for his investigative report “Power Games Delay Escape from Poverty”, also addressed the reception. Lavdimi talked about his experience with BIRN and encouraged journalists to apply for “this wonderful opportunity”.

“The ability to travel to European Union countries is rare for us in the Balkans, so having the chance to do this and compare issues between the Balkans and European Union countries, with all expenses are paid, was a fantastic opportunity to accurately investigate an important subject. I would encourage all journalists to participate in this programme because it is a worthy experience”, Hamidi said in a speech at the Pristina event.

After the presentation, BIRN Kosovo personnel explained details of the
programme and the application procedure in detail to many of the journalists that were present.
Each year BIRN’s team of experienced editors and journalists, in cooperation with the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE foundations, offers ten journalists from the Balkans a chance to travel and investigate their stories, which are later published, both in their respective national media as well in a BIRN book.