On Friday evening the annual fellowship programme, now in its second year, conferred the award for the best report from among a group of ten South Eastern European journalists. The programme was initiated in 2007 by ERSTE Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN. The winner and nine other journalists each received a fellowship grant worth up to €4,000 to spend on a seven-month research trip. All the reports are published together in a book. Hamidi, who lives in Kosovo, writes articles for the daily newspaper Zeri and will use the prize money for his journalism training.
On Friday evening, during this year’s closing seminar in
Programme 2008: Energy
The thematic focus of the journalist competition varies each year. In 2008 the reports focused on energy. Candidates were not only invited to write articles on hot topics such as fuel price increases, climate change or – as the winner did – energy supply, they were also encouraged to submit their ideas on human energies such as the power of ideas, the dynamics of change, the investment of energies in reconstruction, or even destructive energies. The only requirement was that the topics were put into a Balkan or European context.
Most of the reports submitted by this year’s fellows, however, allude to current developments in the energy sector. Like the report by Stanimir Vaglenov on the planned South Stream gas pipeline, Magda Munteanu’s investigation of the nuclear energy plans of the Balkan countries, and the comparison that Andreea Gheorghe draws between the future of coal-mining in
Aleksandra Stankovic confronts her readers with the impact increasing demands for energy have on the environment, writing about plans to establish a winter sports resort in the Stara Planina nature reserve in the border region between Serbia and Bulgaria. Mirsad Bajtarevic asks why
Among the few who describe energy not only as a physical or economic phenomenon but also as a cultural one is Zvezdana Crogorac. She explored the power of music, or rather, the power to achieve social change and break conservative structures that can be found in alternative music festivals. Finally, Darko Duridanski went in search of those energies that the independence of Kosovo triggered in other European regions striving for autonomy. To do this, he travelled all the way across Europe, from the Basque Country to the
€2,000 fellowship grant plus travel allowance for cross-border research
Selected by a jury from a total of 80 applicants, all ten participants of the seven-month programme are experienced journalists. They come from
During the research phase, the fellows are assisted by experienced journalists. Seminars held in
The ten articles of the fellows will not only be published in different South Eastern European media and online news sites, they are also collected and published in a book. This book features all the reports of the 2008 programme, both in English and in the original languages, along with many colour illustrations:
Marcus Tanner, Gordana Igric, Prabha Chandran (eds.), Power Struggle. Meeting Global Energy Challenges in the Balkans, published by Robert Bosch Stiftung, ERSTE Foundation and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network,
Thanks to a partnership agreement with the daily newspapers Der Standard and Süddeutsche Zeitung and the online platform derstandard.at, the best articles will also be available to a wide audience in German-speaking countries.
Fellows 2008: Aleksandra Stankovic, Niš, Serbia (B92); Andreea Gheorghe, Bucharest, Romania (Money Channel, Antena 3); Dalibor Dobric, Zagreb, Croatia (Radio NET, BBC World Service, Business.hr); Darko Duridanski, Skopje, Macedonia (Vest); Gjergj Erebara, Tirana, Albania (Gazeta ABC, Gazeta Biznesi); Lavdim Hamidi, Prishtina, Kosovo (Zeri), Magda Munteanu, Bucharest, Romania (Business Week); Mirsad Bajtarevic, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH Radio 1); Stanimir Ivanov Kumurdjiev, Sofia, Bulgaria (24 Hours); Zvezdana Crnogorac, Belgrade, Serbia (freelance journalist).
Jury 2008: Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, editor-in-chief of the Austrian daily Der Standard; Drago Hedl, well-known Croatian journalist and editor; Gerald Knaus, president of the European Stability Initiative (ESI); Remzi Lani, executive director of the Albanian Media Institute; Christiane Schlötzer, deputy foreign editor, Süddeutsche Zeitung; Wolfgang Wähner-Schmidt, German journalist and editor; Frank Umbach, freelance energy analyst, member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
Cooperation of two foundations and network of journalists
The Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence was initiated by ERSTE Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in order to foster quality reporting in
Reprint free of charge: Ingrid Hamm (Robert Bosch Stiftung), Lavdim Hamidi (award winner) and Boris Marte (ERSTE Foundation) during the award ceremony
Photo: Christian Fischer
ERSTE Foundation is active in the Central and South Eastern European region. Together with its partners it creates a hive of activity for social good. Established in 2003, the Foundation began its work two years later by developing the three programmes: Social Affairs, Culture, and