Through the Media for All  programme, thirteen journalists from across the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) were able to take part. They joined colleagues from Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, Greece and Croatia to acquire new investigative skills and techniques and work on real investigation reports. 

This year BIRN teamed up with Lighthouse Reports, an award-winning non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands which leads complex transnational investigations. They combine traditional journalistic methods with emerging techniques like data science and open-source intelligence investigative techniques.

For the first time this summer, the participants had the chance to choose one of four course themes: Arms, Surveillance, Agriculture and Waste. During the week, they worked in four teams, led by trainers from BIRN and Lighthouse Reports, to investigate leads and produce cross-border stories.

The aim of the Summer School was not only to teach new skills but to give the participants the chance to apply their learning by developing reports based on one of the course topics. Working together in teams, they have developed new networks, shared skills and experiences and will produce cross-border investigative stories.

The British Council is working in partnership with Thomson Foundation, BIRN and INTRAC on the Media for All programme funded by the UK Government.

What did the participants find most useful? 

You can read what some of the Media for All summer school participants said about their experience below:

Man with arms crossed

Besnik B

"This training is a very good opportunity to work on an investigation together with several journalists from different Balkan countries. This training has also enabled us to get to know each other and to continue this cooperation in the future, conducting various researches together as well as helping each other to access different information as easily as possible."

Man with hands in pocket

Dalio S

"I find it very interesting that we are cooperating and gaining experiences in different investigative techniques and using them in creating our stories. It will be significant that more journalists from the Balkan region participate in programs like this one because it will improve the media scene, which is not good as it should be if they want to become proper democratic societies."

Woman standing in front of building

Erisa K

"Through the summer school of investigative journalism I gained new knowledge in data collection and processing, how to get the right information online, how to use maps and satellite imagery, as well as how to categorize information into structured and easy-to-use formats. Journalism...cannot remain isolated only within the borders of this country, given that many stories, issues that we work on have lot in common in terms of problems and how our society works."

Woman seated at desk looking at camera

Katerina T

"This is my second BIRN Summer School. I will not lie at all if I tell you that my career changed completely after that. I am happy that after 3 years am here again, on BIRN Summer School. 7 days intensive investigating, analyzing, and brainstorming on just one issue...that is something that you cannot have in your work desk. I expect to use all new skills in my daily work. It's a big treasure to find way to be first and different, and after this program I am sure we will be better."


Smiling woman

Milica D

"This is not the first time I have participated in cross-border journalistic efforts, but it is a great pleasure to be part of this team. The benefit of this approach is establishing networks and journalistic collaborations that remove geographical barriers, which is the right step to deepen topics that don’t stop at the border."

Stefan M

"This is the first time I have worked like this - face to face approach with colleagues from other this way we practically have a new small multinational newsroom that has the opportunity to cover a much wider area...on the spot we can exchange previous experiences and skills acquired in our newsrooms. Perhaps most importantly, connections between journalists remain."