Do you have an idea for a big story? Do you want to write and report it to the highest standards, with quality editorial support and a generous expenses budget that lets you explore your subject in depth? Would you like that story to be published across southeast Europe and perhaps make international impact?
If the answer to these questions is 'yes', now is the time to apply for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
Each year, ten journalists are chosen through open competition to receive funding and professional support to conduct in-depth research into a topic of regional and EU significance – for 2016 the subject is Trust.
1.1. Who can participate?
Individuals from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia with demonstrable journalistic experience are eligible to apply for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. Applicants should have citizenship of one of the countries covered by the programme. Applicants should be proficient in English (speaking, reading and comprehension), although reports may be written in local languages.
1.2 Employer consent
Applicants must be able to dedicate adequate time to the fellowship, in terms of research, trips, attending the opening and closing seminars, writing and attending publicity events.To that end, any necessary permission from the applicant’s employer to participate in the fellowship should be secured in advance.
THEME OF THE 2016 FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME: TRUST
The theme for this year's fellowship is Trust. Use this topic to inspire a new idea for a story. Or think of a story you've wanted to write and see if you can link it to the topic.
Your story proposal must have a connection to the theme, even if it is a loose one. The theme is deliberately broad to allow a wide a range of story ideas.
You might want to write about a breach or breakdown of trust - for example, between a state institution and citizens, between a company and its shareholders or customers, or between communities. How did this happen and who is responsible?
For you as a journalist, public distrust of media outlets might be an issue. Or lack of trust between politicians and journalists. You might want to explore possible reasons behind this, such as the ownership of media organisations.
You may know a story of people finding that their trust was misplaced. Sometimes a loss of trust occurs when people feel their physical or economic security is under threat. Do they look elsewhere for someone or something they can trust?
Or you may have a story of efforts to rebuild trust - between nations, communities, organisations or individuals. How is this being done? What difficulties have people had to overcome?
A trust can also be an organisation that manages assets for the public good. Charities can be trusts too. Perhaps you have a story about an organisation like this? And a trust in the sense of "anti-trust legislation" can be a company that has or tries to gain a monopoly in a particular market. Do you know a good example of this?
Whatever your idea, remember that you must explore it not just in your home country. The fellowship offers the chance to examine an issue in different countries in the region and in the European Union. Do some research to see how the experiences of other countries fit into your story.
Your story should have an investigative or analytical element.