07 May 2018 / 11:29

BFJE 2018 kicks off in Vienna

BIRN team

Fake news merchants, corrupt officials and political thugs are just a few of the targets in the crosshairs of journalists chosen for the 2018 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.

BFJE 2018 Fellows

In its 12th year, the fellowship began with a four-day seminar in Vienna that brought together 10 new fellows from across the region, all committed to tackling this year’s theme: TRUTH.

Chosen from around 100 applications, they come from Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and Greece.

Supported by ERSTE Foundation and Open Society Foundations and run in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, the fellowship aims to promote the highest standards of journalism. It gives mid-career reporters the funding and editorial support to pursue investigative stories that cut across borders.

Over the next four months, fellows will carry out in-depth reporting as they try to untangle the webs of power, influence and money that envelope their proposed stories.

In Vienna, they received practical tips from BFJE Editor Timothy Large on how to research, report and write long-form articles for international impact.

They then hammered out story ideas and reporting strategies during intensive editorial sessions with Timothy Large, Balkan Insight Editor Gordana Andric, BIRN Regional Network Director Marija Ristic and BFJE Programme Manager Dragana Obradovic.

The seminar also included a visit to the newsroom of Austrian daily Der Standard, a media partner of the programme, and a session on cross-border collaborative journalism by Brigitte Alfter, Managing Editor of Journalismfund.eu.

Barbara Trionfri, Executive Director of the International Press Institute, spoke on global press freedom and trends in media development while Gordana Andric from Balkan Insight shared pointers on multimedia storytelling.

This year’s fellows are Arlis Alikaj (Albania), Iona Burtea (Romania), Claudia Ciobanu (Romania), Alexander Clapp (Greece), Ivana Jeremic (Serbia), Lorelei Mihala (Romania), Andrea Milat (Croatia), Andjela Milivojevic (Serbia), Leonida Molliqai (Kosovo) and Dusica Pavlovic (Montenegro).


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.