The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network is establishing a broader educational programme that includes cooperation with international universities and several local partners, with the aim to put in commercial use a curriculum for investigative reporting produced by BIRN (Digging Deeper: A guide for investigative journalists in the Balkans), while improving investigative journalistic skills that are desperately needed in the Balkans.
The programme will include one annual event, the Summer school of Investigative Reporting, as well as a set of commercial activities all year around that will target local universities in the Balkans, as well as media owners/publishing houses, as possible customers, interested to sponsor students or journalists in improving their skills, and consequently open the door for in house training.
Journalists across the Balkans find themselves squeezed between the business and political interests that control the editorial policies of their media outlets. Many editors fear the loss of advertising money if they expose ‘dirty’ businesses that are often close to political circles.
Journalists are forced to constantly fight off threats of legal action and to overcome censorship and self-censorship. Lack of funding, time, and skills, has reduced the opportunities for investigative journalism. However, as the countries of Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Albania, strive to join the European Union, only an informed public can keep the pressure on governments to continue with reforms.
In transitional democracies, where war crimes left lasting scars and the transition from communism to capitalism in the nineties was badly managed, with governments seemingly powerless to act, only fearless investigative journalism can engage the public and force business to work transparently.
This programme is envisaged as an income-generating activity to find additional sources for training activities for journalists and publication of investigative reports. It will engage many players from the scene of investigative journalism in the region and from abroad in different models of cooperation. The programme will rely on several donors to assist different aspects of the programme.
Phase 1: Self-sustainability - development of ongoing academic and vocational training plans in conjunction with local and international universities, national regional and local government media and publishing houses and the wider business community. Collected and analysed information, will give needed input for business plan to be finalised by the end of the year.
Phase 2: Annual event, “Summer School of Investigative Journalism” (including research and marketing preoperational activities that will also contribute to long term self-sustainability)
The third BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting will take place at the Hotel Radika in Leunovo, Macedonia. The hotel is positioned along Lake Mavrovo and is a famous spa resort.
Please read the application requirements for the BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting 2012.