INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey

January, 2019 to December, 2022
European Commission - EuropeAid

The goal of the project Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey is to enhance media trust among citizens and create a safe environment for journalists to produce independent news content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and publishing.

The project will be implemented by BIRN Hub in partnership with Thomson Media gGmbH (TM), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Central European University (Center for Media, Data and Society at CEU), the Media Association of South-East Europe (MASEE), the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN CG), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers in Macedonia (SSNM), BIRN Albania and BIRN Serbia.

The three-year project is intended to address the main problems and challenges in the Western Balkans identified in the Feasibility Study for the Establishment of a Regional Program in Media and Journalism Training, a study conducted for the EU between September and December 2016 that canvassed more than 80 media professionals in Europe. The study found:

  • poor professional skills among journalists;
  • limited training capacity at a high proficiency level for mid-career journalists;
  • lack of financial resources in most of the media sector, especially for investigations;
  • limited reach of published investigative stories.

Planned activities as part of the BIRN-led project include national and regional training for young and mid-career journalists and for reporters from mainstream media and public service broadcasters. CMDS is in charge of holding regional training workshops on investigative journalism and of developing an investigative journalism curriculum that will then be promoted among universities across the region. The curriculum is going to be targeted to both journalism students and students interested either in conducting investigative journalism or in investigative journalism methods. The regional training will be in the form of a hybrid course, with online and offline elements.