Reporting migration and trafficking in the Western Balkans

09 Mar 2017
Dates: 15 May - 19 May | Location: Belgrade, Serbia Application deadline: 3 April | Programme: Reporting Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

This is an opportunity provided by the Reporting Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery programme: Find out more

In the last two years unprecedented numbers of people have travelled through the Western Balkans on their way to Europe. Some were fleeing war; others were trying to escape from economic hardship. Then in March 2016, after border fences were put up, the European council declared this route closed.

While this decreased the number of migrants making it through the western Balkans, the flow of people has by no means stopped.

Has this move put thousands of people in the hands of people smugglers and traffickers? Are migrants in the western Balkans now vulnerable to exploitation? What about local attitudes to migrants – is the situation being explained to citizens with engaging, evidence-based journalism? The Thomson Reuters Foundation is working with the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia to run a new programme supporting journalists to find answers to these questions, and to set standards for reporting on migration in the region.



We are inviting journalists from countries that are on the migration routes through the Western Balkans to take part in this new programme. These include, but are not limited to, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania. It will feature an intensive five-day workshop in Belgrade from 15-19 May 2017 , which will cover the current migration situation in the region, develop reporting and investigative skills, and explore the challenges and pitfalls that reporters encounter when covering this story. The workshop will also help participants to develop story ideas and we will look for cross-border stories where possible. Interested journalists should be open to collaborating with colleagues from other countries.

Participants in the workshop will then have the opportunity to apply for modest grants to cover the costs of reporting their story. Grants will be intended to cover expenses like travel, accommodation away from home, visualisations, and potentially some compensation for the journalist’s time. Those who successfully win a grant will receive editorial support from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia.


* Journalists from countries that are on the migration routes through the Western Balkans are eligible. These include, but are not limited to, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania.


* Journalists working in any medium may apply – print, radio, TV, online


* Experience of investigative journalism will help your application but is not essential. We are looking for reporters who are keen to find new stories and new ways to cover migration in the region


* Journalists must be fluent in English


* Journalists must have a minimum of one year’s experience. They should either be working full-time for a media organisation, or a freelancer whose main work is journalism



We will cover all transport and subsistence costs of journalists participating in this programme.


When applying you will be asked to upload the following documents – please have these ready:

* 2 relevant work samples (maximum file size 5 MB) – in English if possible. For stories not in English, please include a 250-word English summary about the story.
* A letter from your editor consenting to your participation in the programme and committing to publish/broadcast resulting stories


Please note you will be asked to submit one or more story ideas within your application. The migration story has already been well covered so we will look for journalists with ideas that approach the issue from a new angle. We will not share your ideas with anyone.

If you have any difficulties applying, please email




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