The second prize was won by Dino Jahic, a Bosnian reporter who investigated bribery within the education system.
The third prize was won by Elena Stancu, a Romanian reporter who examined corruption in the job market for doctors.
The top prize is accompanied by an award of €4,000. The second prize is worth €3,000 and the third prize is worth €1,000.
The winning articles were selected by an independent panel of judges, comprised of Florian Hassel, Balkans correspondent for German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung; Remzi Lani, the executive director of the Albanian Media Institute; Gerald Knaus, founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative; Milorad Ivanovic, executive editor of the Serbian weekly, Novi Magazin; Markus Spielman, editor of the Swiss newspaper, Neue Zurcher Zeitung; and Adelheid Wölfl, an editor at the Austrian daily, Der Standard.
The jury members praised Odobescu’s report for its use of a strong storyline with a colourful central character to illustrate a region-wide problem.
Odobescu says the fellowship helped him “prioritise and structure information, especially when huge amounts of data are gathered”.
The winners were announced on the evening of Friday, 13 December, at a ceremony at the Croatian Journalists’ Association in Zagreb.
The theme for this year’s competition was “integrity”. Journalists on the programme spanning the legacy of war, bad government and the politicisation of civil society.
Initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE Foundation in 2007, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, the annual fellowship provides financial and professional support to foster quality reporting in the Balkan region.
The programme also seeks to encourage regional networking among journalists and to provide balanced coverage of complex reform issues that are central to the region and the European Union.
This year’s ten fellows were selected from more than 120 applicants from nine Balkan countries.
Next year’s programme will be open for applications from January 2014.