“It is impossible to overstate the impact of this programme on the quality of journalism across the region. As many Balkan countries struggle to acclimatise to new economic conditions, EU membership and recover from recent wars, the Alumni Initiative enables local journalists to examine key economic, political and social issues in their own country and, through cooperation with other fellowship alumni, compare them to neighbouring states.”
Gordana Igrić, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Director
The Alumni Initiative is designed to encourage and support continued cooperation between fellows who have participated in the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, initiated by ERSTE Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in 2007.
Four generations of journalists have so far taken part in the annual fellowship programme and are now working together on joint projects under the umbrella of the Alumni Initiative. Fellows attend biannual meetings with editors to discuss and pitch story ideas. Alongside producing co-authored, regional stories, the journalists may also write individual investigative and analysis pieces. The articles are promoted on the fellowship and Balkan Insight websites.
Topics are selected by the BIRN editorial team according to the following criteria: regional relevance, feasibility, originality and high journalistic standards. Articles which were produced as result of this initiative you will find here.