This year’s annual topic is Generations. Think of a powerful story that you have always wanted to report, and link it to this theme while crafting your proposal. Remember, it is better to have a strong central idea that is loosely linked to the annual theme than to have a weak idea that is strongly linked to the theme.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started. For instance, the theme could give you the chance to place your idea in a historical context, comparing the past with the present, or the present with the future. Are the subjects of your story at risk of repeating history because they have ignored it? Or are they unable to progress because they cannot escape the past?
You can link it to the growing challenges of immigration Europe-wide, to questions such as social integration across the generations, or more specifically to the brain-drain phenomena that affects many well-educated young people with little chance to find adequate jobs. What are the consequences for those that stay in their own countries?
You could take a more literal approach, looking at the issues facing the older generations in the Balkans. Are governments in the region equipped to meet the needs of an ageing population? You could look at the younger generation, and see what unique problems today's tech-savvy youth face as they enter adulthood.
Sociologists often speak of a ‘generation gap’ – a rift between the young and the old. How is this gap reflected in the politics of the Balkans? What is its impact on society and business? Is the gap growing or narrowing? What has caused the gap, and what are its likely consequences? Does the gap even exist, or is it just a convenient way of overlooking other, deeper problems?
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 the broader context of the region and the EU. Choose phenomena that are relevant, current and original.