BIRN to Support Development of Masters Programme in Investigative Journalism

January 11, 2024
BIRN will facilitate the development of a masters programme in investigative journalism together with its partners, the Central European University and University of Goce Delchev, aiming to secure the long-term and sustainable education of future generations of journalists in the Western Balkans.
Photo: Central European University

On November 16-17 in Budapest, Hungary, a team of academic staff, experts, and practitioners from the media sector from Western Balkans and Europe settled the foundation for the development of a masters program in investigative journalism and discussed its structure and target audiences.

This collaborative effort aimed to shape the curriculum of the program and underscored the significance of such an initiative as an investment in the field of journalism. Valuable insights were gleaned from lessons learned through the examination of existing programs across Europe. Currently, only one Faculty from the Western Balkan region has initiated such programme, and its practices and experience were taken into consideration during the workshop.

Discussions encompassed crucial aspects, including identifying the intended audiences for the program, determining the relevant topics to be included in the curriculum, addressing its cross-border dimensions, formulating its structural framework and identifying suitable accreditation avenues.

These discussions served as a comprehensive exploration of the fundamental elements necessary for the successful establishment and implementation of a master’s program.

“Through the project Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey, BIRN aims to improve quality and professionalism in journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey through the development of a sustainable system for support of the current journalists and the future generations of journalists. Developing an academic masters program in investigative journalism is long-term investment in future journalists,” Marija Vasilevska, the Project Coordinator, said.

After the Budapest meeting, extensive consultations with academic institutions in the region are to take place. These will play a pivotal role in the development and implementation of a pilot program for academic training in investigative journalism. Simultaneously, a roadmap will be crafted to guide the formal accreditation process for the Master of Arts, MA, program in the future.

To facilitate progress, an advisory board has been established by the Central European University. This comprises a dedicated team of academic staff and practitioners who are committed to collaboratively shaping the curriculum for the program. Their collective expertise will be instrumental in ensuring the program’s robust foundation and alignment with the evolving needs of the journalistic landscape.

Anticipation surrounds the forthcoming stages of this initiative, with the expectation that the master’s program will not only address the current challenges faced by the industry but also foster a new generation of skilled journalists equipped to navigate the complexities of the media landscape.

As this collaborative effort unfolds, it is poised to make a lasting impact on the field of investigative journalism, nurturing a community of professionals dedicated to upholding the principles of truth, transparency, and ethical reporting.