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Applications Open for BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting in Croatia

The BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting returns this August to the Croatian coastal village of Mlini, with a number of award-winning journalists and editors as trainers.

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The 14th edition of the Summer School is taking place from August 19 to August 24 in Mlini, close to Dubrovnik in Croatia. Thirty selected journalists from Southeast, Eastern and Central Europe will take part in a week-long intensive training aimed at mastering their investigative skills.

Participants in BIRN’s flagship capacity building programme will learn from experienced and award-winning journalists and editors and other media professionals led by Blake Morrison, investigative projects editor at Reuters in New York.Journalists will be introduced to the fundamentals of investigative reporting, including work on complex cross-border stories, data journalism and visual storytelling, as well as on how to preserve their own digital security while reporting.

Jonathan Soma, a programmer and educator specializing in making complex data accessible, who has worked with ProPublica and The New York Times, among others, will provide guidance on navigating the challenges posed by AI.

Elena Kostychenko, an independent Russian journalist and civil rights activist, winner of the European Press Prize, will share many of her experiences with School participants, including those on reporting in and on Russia.

She was a special correspondent of Novaya Gazeta for more than 15 years until the newspaper was shut down at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. She covers the war in Ukraine and collaborates with Russian media in exile. In 2023, Elena published a book, I love Russia: Reporting from a lost country.

Investigative journalist Maria Georgieva and her colleague Ali Figan from the Swedish public broadcaster will be showcasing a large cross-border collaboration by a team of award-winning journalists and editors from four public television and radio broadcasters in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland about “Putin’s shadow war” in the Nordic area.

The Summer School is also hosting sessions focused on visual storytelling, sustainable media industry and business models with Jakub Górnicki, reporter and co-founder of Outrider, a media publication combining art, journalism and technology.

BIRN will also showcase some of its own work at the cross-section of investigative and engagement journalism and digital rights violations monitoring. It will share its experience in covering transitional justice issues and documenting war crimes, relevant in view of reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Continued collaboration with The Self-Investigation foundation will provide important discussions on mental health and well-being in the newsrooms. The setting in Mlini is familiar – it will be the third Summer School in this beautiful village on the Croatian coast – and will help us to combine hard work with time for self-care. BIRN will also provide space for networking and future collaborations beyond the Summer School.

As every year, 30 full scholarships are provided for selected participants. Journalists from the following countries are eligible to apply: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

This will cover a full stipend for participation in the programme, accommodation, meals, as well as transportation expenses of up to €200.

The focus remains on journalists from the Balkans, while the list of eligible countries has expanded over the years following BIRN’s increased coverage of the wider region of Southeast and Central Europe, and also to enable further exchange of knowledge and incentivise cross-border collaboration. This year we would like to particularly encourage journalists from Ukraine to apply for the School, as we believe it is crucial to provide capacity building support to those pursuing investigative stories in the times of war.

In addition to training, editorial support and mentorship, through our Investigative Initiative Story Fund, BIRN will provide selected participants with funds to support story development and production.

Participants are requested to prepare a proposal for an investigative story and present it during the week in Croatia, to be worked on in the months following the School, either alone or in a cross-border team. On the last day of the School, a jury composed of BIRN editors and trainers will award the best pitches with editorial, financial and publication support.

Limited spots are also available for international participants who want to take part in the training and cover their own costs. They need to cover an all-inclusive fee of €1,500, covering full board at the hotel Astarea in Mlini, where the Summer School is taking place. No extra charges are requested for tuition.


Applications close on July 5, 2024.


Click here to apply!

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