This year’s theme is integrity, in the sense of being honest or principled.
Many of us believe our leaders and institutions should act with integrity – yet few of us are surprised when they don’t.
What happens when societies start viewing integrity in public life as impossible or irrelevant?
Can the powerful still be held to account if people no longer expect them to be honest?
And can other individuals or institutions provide integrity where traditional leaders have failed?
We would like applicants to consider some of these questions as they fine-tune their ideas for the fellowship.
We also expect applicants to reflect on the role society plays in their stories. It is ultimately the relationships between people that makes politics and other processes interesting.
This year’s theme could suit stories that expose lapses in integrity, revealing the gap between words and actions.
The theme can also be used to show how such corruption affects ordinary people, and their relationships to the powerful.
Integrity is most needed to defend the rights of the weak against the interests of the strong.
How much of a difference can individuals or institutions make in this regard? What are the advantages of sticking to one’s principles – and what are the costs?
Can integrity sometimes be undesirable – for instance, if it gets in the way of compromise? Should there be limits to integrity?
The theme is broad because we would like to see a broad range of proposals.
But remember – the best proposals will put big questions into sharp focus, revealing something new and surprising.
Ensure you think about your story's significance not just in your home country, but also in at least one other regional state and within the European Union. Choose phenomena that are relevant, current and original.
Dino Jahic works as an editor-in-chief of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia.
Vlad Odobescu is a freelance features writer, based in Bucharest.
Mirko Rudic is a features writer for Vreme magazine, based in Belgrade.
Meri Jordanovska is an investigative reporter for the Skopje-based political weekly, Fokus.
Goran Rizaov is a business reporter for Dnevnik newspaper in Skopje.
Hana Marku is the managing editor of Kosovo 2.0, a Pristina-based website and magazine that covers culture and politics.
Melisa Skender reports on media affairs for Novinar, the magazine of the Croatian journalists' association.
Katarina Panic is a journalist based in Prijedor and Banja Luka with SRNA news agency.
Erjona Rusi is a journalist and moderator at A1 Report TV in Albania.
Elena Stancu is the deputy editor-in-chief of the Romanian edition of Marie Claire magazine.