About Us

In order to foster quality reporting, initiate regional networking among journalists and advance balanced coverage on topics that are central to the region as well as to the EU, the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme  is supported by the ERSTE Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN.

ERSTE Foundation

In 2003, ERSTE Foundation evolved out of the Erste Oesterreichische Spar-Casse, the first Austrian savings bank. Currently, ERSTE Foundation is the main shareholder of Erste Group. The foundation invests part of its dividends in the development of societies in Austria and Central and South Eastern Europe. It supports social participation and civil-society engagement; it aims to bring people together and disseminate knowledge of the recent history of a region that has been undergoing dramatic changes since 1989. As an active foundation, it develops its own projects within the framework of three programmes: Social Development, Culture and Europe.


Open Society Foundations

The network of Open Society Foundations (OSF) is a grantmaking operation founded by George Soros in 1993, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSF implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSF works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses. One of the aims of the OSF is the development of civil society organizations (e.g., charities and community groups) to encourage participation in democracy and society.



The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) is a regional media development organisation, working with Balkan journalists to produce reports on a variety of political, economic and social issues. Its member organisations throughout the region run a range of training and public debate projects to enhance the capacity and impact of analytical and investigative journalism. Together, they produce Balkan Insight, the leading publication covering the region’s path to Europe.