Selection Committee

The Selection Committee is comprised of seven prominent media figures from the Balkans and Europe. Each year, committee members read, evaluate and select story proposals for the fellowship.

Alongside these six permanent committee members, an expert in the fellowship investigation topic is appointed as an annual member.

At the end of the fellowship, the seven committee members vote on the best three stories, taking story structure, presentation of the facts, style, relevance and appropriate use of regional and EU research into account.

Permanent Members


Elena Panagiotidis

Elena Panagiotidis is an editor for Neue Zürcher Zeitung with plenty of experience in the Balkans.

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Florian Hassel

Florian Hassel is the Balkans correspondent for German daily, Süddeutsche Zeitung.


Remzi Lani

Remzi Lani is Executive Director of the Albanian Media Institute, an independent organisation set up in 1995 to assist the Albanian media to strengthen professional standards.


Gerald Knaus

As president of the European Stability Initiative, Gerald Knaus works from Berlin and Istanbul to lead the institute’s influential research on South Eastern Europe and Turkey.


Milorad Ivanović

Milorad Ivanović is the deputy editor-in-chief of weekly Novi Magazin. He was previously deputy editor of daily Blic, the largest Serbian daily newspaper  and the paper's foreign affairs editor. He has a special interest in investigative and cross-border journalism.


Alexandra Föderl-Schmid

Alexandra Föderl-Schmid is editor-in-chief of Austrian daily Der Standard, media partner of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence

Annual Members


Christine Spolar

Christine Spolar is the investigations/special projects editor at the Financial Times.


Neil Arun

BFJE 2014 – Generations


Neil Arun is freelance editor and reporter. Having completed two years with the Balkan  Fellowship, he left the programme in 2014 to pursue new opportunities.


Paul Lewis

BFJE 2013 – Integrity


Paul Lewis is Special Projects Editor for the Guardian. He runs teams of journalists at the newspaper working on a range of investigations.

Florian Bieber

BFJE 2012 – Communities


Florian Bieber is a Professor of Southeast European Studies and director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria. 


Nerma Jelacić

BFJE 2011 – Justice


Nerma Jelacic is the official spokesperson for registry and chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and acting head of the media, outreach and web section.


Slavenka Drakulic

BFJE 2010 – Taboo


Slavenka Drakulic, born in Croatia (former Yugoslavia) in 1949, is an author and journalist whose books are translated in over twenty languages


Tim Judah

BFJE 2009 – Identities


When revolutions across Eastern Europe cast off communism at the end of 1989 Tim Judah found himself endlessly dialing numbers in Romania and cutting tape at the World Service.


Frank Umbach

BFJE 2008 – Energy


Frank Umbach is responsible for the Security Policies in Asia-Pacific Program of the German Council on Foreign Relations


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.

What is the Fellowship?

Journalists from the Balkans are increasingly required to cover complex reform issues, taking in a regional and Europe-wide dimension. The fellowship provides editorial guidance, training and adequate funding to do so.

Our Partners

Prominent German, Austrian and Swiss newspapers, Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, Der Standard and Neue Zürcher Zeitung are media partners of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme. Besides being involved in the selection committee, they participate in seminars, support fellows if needed and seek to republish the best articles produced by them.

Contact Us

Please contact us for any additional information about the programme, or if you have suggestions, remarks or complaints about the web site and its content

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee is comprised of seven prominent media figures from the Balkans and Europe. Each year, committee members read, evaluate and select story proposals for the fellowship.

Fellowship Team

Editors and journalists from across the region and beyond all work together to make the Balkan fellowship a truly international experience. Scroll down this page for more information on our editorial team.