Ruzica Fotinovska is a reporter on the daily Macedonia newspaper Vest, covering social affairs, politics and public policy
She has a special interest in researching and reporting on conditions and prospects for Macedonian society’s most marginalised groups.
Ruzica has been awarded the UN first prize for excellence in journalism for her reporting on poverty issues in Macedonia on three, separate occasions.
She took second prize in the 2010 fellowship programme for her article analysing life after prison. She examined the prejudices faced by ex-convicts as they try to reintegrate into society.
Having a criminal record and serving time behind bars remains taboo in Macedonia, where there is hardly any provision of rehabilitation programmes for former prisoners.
She travelled to Serbia and the UK to compare the treatment of and prospects for those who have served their sentences.
Ruzica’s research was supervised by Ana Petruseva, an editor for BIRN’s Balkan Insight.
Macedonia’s prisons are amongst the worst anywhere, as recent European and State Department reports have attested.
Shunned by their families and unable to access formal rehabilitation programmes, many former prisoners in Macedonia quickly reoffend and end up back where they started.
The Alumni Network is an ever-expanding group of journalists who have all participated in the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
The re-emergence of Turkey as a growing economic, political and religious power in the Balkans is the subject of the latest Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence Alumni Initiative project.
Twelve countries, including several Balkan states, have signed up to the European Roma Decade 2005-2015 initiative. Halfway through the decade, has any real progress been made?