It was decided that as of this year, the fellowship book will not be published, but the emphasis will be on strengthening the web site, its promotion and additional features, as well as on the republishing of fellows’ articles published as a result of the programme. The quality of articles published in the 2009 publication “Identity: The Search for Belonging in a Changing Europe” was especially recognized on the regional media market, republished by some of the most prominent media, representing a trend we would like to follow in the years to come.
In addition, initial steps for the first fellowship alumni meeting were agreed. This meeting of all participants in the programme since its establishment, followed by the realization of their alumni journalistic projects, should take place in 2010 in one of countries covered by the scope of the programme.
This meeting was also the opportunity to make an overview of achievements of the Balkan Fellowship For Journalistic Excellence during the previous three years of its existence. Its continuous progress is confirmed by the external evaluation conducted by the media expert Wolfgang Wähner-Schmidt.
The evaluation showed that the number of applications has more than doubled since its establishment in 2007, and that the professional qualification of fellows has improved substantially over the years.
Feedback from many fellows suggests that the fellowship has helped them to advance their professional careers. Several fellows even said their promotion was a direct result of the fellowship programme, which is a tremendous success. Overall, the programme produced an impressive collection of well-researched and well-written stories, relevant both to the Southeast European region and EU-Europe. The 30 stories produced from 2007 to 2009 were published almost 1000 times in total, including national, regional and international print and online media.
This success of the programme has placed high expectations on the new intake of fellows, which is expected to be announced in March 2010. The call for applications is now open to all interested journalists from the Balkans.