Romanian reporter Vlad Odobescu won 2013 Balkan Fellowship Award, the top prize this year for Journalistic Excellence. Vlad won with a reportage describing how his country’s politicians have bounced back from corruption investigations.
The second prize went to Dino Jahic, Bosnian reporter who investigated bribery within the education system, while third ranked Elena Stancu, Romanian reporter who examined corruption in the job market for doctors.
The money rewards that accompanied the prizes are Euro 4,000 (1st place), Euro 3,000 (2nd place) and Euro 1,000 (3rd place).
The winning articles were selected by an independent panel of judges, comprised of Florian Hassel – Balkans correspondent for German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, Remzi Lani – executive director Albanian Media Institute, Gerald Knaus – founding chairman European Stability Initiative, Milorad Ivanovic – executive editor Serbian weekly Novi Magazin, Markus Spielman – editor Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung and Adelheid Wölfl – editor Austrian daily Der Standard.
The jury members praised Odobescu’s report for its use of a strong story line with a colorful central character to illustrate a region-wide problem.
Odobescu says the fellowship helped him “prioritize and structure information, especially when huge amounts of data are gathered”.
The winners were announced on Friday, December 13th, during a ceremony at Croatian Journalists’ Association in Zagreb.
The theme for this year’s competition was “integrity”. Journalists on the program spanning the legacy of war, bad government and the politicization of civil society.
Initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE Foundation in 2007, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, the annual fellowship provides financial and professional support to foster quality reporting in the Balkan region.
The program also seeks to encourage regional networking among journalists and to provide balanced coverage of complex reform issues that are central to the region and the European Union.
This year’s ten fellows were selected from more than 120 applicants from nine Balkan countries. Next year’s program will be open for applications from January 2014.