Cross-Border Investigative Journalism Training for the Western Balkans

September 3, 2020
The Center for Media, Data, and Society at Central European University in Budapest is announcing an open call for journalists in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with some experience in news reporting and covering complex topics to apply for a unique hybrid-style online and offline course on cross-border investigative journalism.

Issues investigative journalists cover do not stop at the borders, so why should reporters? Large scale cross-border investigations proved the enormous value of journalistic collaborations when covering trans-national issues. Investigative reporting of this kind, however, requires journalists, traditionally more lone wolves than team players, to acquire specific skills, capacities, mindset and the know-how of various digital tools. This training offers a flexible way for investigative reporters in the Western Balkans and Turkey to develop these skills.
Attila Mong, Course Director

The course aims to:

  • equip reporters with improved skills of the latest investigative reporting techniques to be able to research, conduct and present region-specific cross-border investigations;
  • integrate technology/multimedia approach for investigative research, documentation, internal organization, (multimedia) storytelling and data visualization;
  • help journalists minimize their risks by providing basic legal knowledge, and digital and physical security techniques;
  • prepare journalists to collaborate regionally on cross-border topics with an improved regional approach and network.

The course will:

  • feature top-level journalists as instructors with experience in cross-border investigations both from the region and from other parts of Europe;
  • mix theory and methods with hands-on, practical approach for a complex learning experience;
  • deliver content in a wide range of forms and formats including readings, exercises, case studies, best practices, expert coaching, interactive expert feedback, individual and group assignments, in text and multimedia formats;
  • include the possibility of funding for teams of participants to work on specific cross-border investigations, with the goal of producing and publishing these investigations;
  • facilitate participants` learning experience by combining the online course with an offline training, and by ensuring that the online components remain available for further use after completion of the course.

The course will start with an intensive training in Budapest, Hungary, on October 19-20, 2020, followed by eight weeks of top-level online instruction. (Please keep in mind that, depending on the Covid-19 situation, the location of the training is subject to change). For a more detailed description of the course, please click here. Learn more about the instructors here.

I found the course a tremendous opportunity. The mentors of the online sessions were very practical, while during the offline training I learnt a lot of essential information and developed new knowledge. What was great about this opportunity is that I made a lot of contacts and networking. I found an opportunity to write a cross-border article and also a partner during the course. This format gave me the confidence to implement new techniques immediately, in contrast to my past failed attempts. I didn’t just learn ‘how’ to write – ‘what’ and ‘why’ also became much clearer.
Arlis Alikaj, investigative journalist, Albania, participant of the first round of the training

Participants will have the opportunity to pitch their investigative ideas for grants offered by BIRN Hub, and if accepted they will receive assistance and mentorship for their research.

The article Rights Denied: Albanians in Greece Face Long-Term Limbo by Madeleine Speed and Arlis Alikaj, published by Balkan Insight, was produced with the help of this grant. You may read it here.

Successful participants will receive a professional certificate from the Central European University, signed by the Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society and verifiable for employers.


Accommodation and travel costs related to the training in Budapest will be covered by the program.

Candidates must possess a strong command of English, written and verbal.

Journalists with some experience in news reporting and covering complex topics are more than welcome to apply to the hybrid course. The offline training element of the course is taking place on October 19-20, 2020 in Budapest. (Please keep in mind that, depending on the Covid-19 situation, the location of the training is subject to change.) Travel and accommodation are covered by the program, and there is no tuition fee. The program is designed for those working in the following countries:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo
  • North Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia

The candidates must possess a strong command of English, written and verbal. Candidates who are accepted to attend the course must confirm that they will be able to commit to the course in full, both for the offline and online part.

If you are interested in applying, please send an email to including the following:

  • Put Investigative Journalism Training + your name in the subject line;
  • Write a few lines about why you are applying to the course;
  • Provide a (short) CV.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis before the deadline, so please submit as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at

Application deadline: September 15, 2020