Environmental Watchdog Journalism and Storytelling on Climate Change and Clean Energy

Call for participаtion in the first Editorial Workshop for journalists from the post-socialist European countries and Germany on November 30 - December 3, 2016 in Sofia, Bulgaria


Overview: The Heinrich Boell Foundation in Brandenburg and BlueLink are reaching out to journalists from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Germany, willing to join a virtual newsroom project for watchdog journalism and storytelling on climate change and clean energy. Prospective participants will be invited to editorial workshops to exchange experiences and improve knowledge and skills before they are commissioned to investigate and produce multimedia feature stories from their countries. Successful stories will be published by a regional online magazine, launched by BlueLink in English language. The first editorial workshop is scheduled for November 30 - December 3, 2016, in Sofia, Bulgaria. Its participants will investigate a local environmental story, hear from experts, fellow-journalists and activists, and master advanced professional techniques of ethical journalism in public interest. These activities are part of the project entitled BlueLink Virtual Newsroom: Strengthening post-socialist environmental watchdog journalism and regional story exchange on „climate change and clean energy“ in CEE, funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and Heinrich Boell Foundation in Brandenburg, Germany.

Purpose and method of the Sofia workshop: The core purpose of the editorial workshop will be to lay firm ground for journalistic practice. Techniques, skills and culture of ethical journalism will be transferred to and among participants, facilitated by experienced journalists from the CEE region, Germany, and the UK. New original articles, photography, reports and other pieces of editorial contents will be produced during the workshop, and participants will be encouraged to get them finished and published in their home country languages. Selected stories from the workshop will also be produced in English and published by  the virtual newsroom.

Facilitators and experts: Experienced journalists from the environmental sections of The Guardian, BBC, the Financial Times, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung, and Süddeutsche Zeitung will facilitate the editorial workshop. Pavel Antonov, PhD, experienced environmental journalist and executive editor at BlueLink, will lead the workshop and the resulting editorial work. Experts on climate change, clean energy and related environmental issues would be present to share relevant information and knowledge with the workshop’s participants on particular topics covered.

Location and field visits: participants will work in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia for four days. One day is designated for field work in the Kresna Gorge - a precious and picturesques ecosystem, threatened by EU-funded motorway construction project connecting Northern Europe and Bulgaria to Greece.

Duration: Participants should be available from Nov 30, Wednesday to Dec 3, Saturday, excluding arrival/departure days.

Who can participate: There is no participation fee. Journalists (both aspiring and experienced) from Europe’s post-socialist countries and Germany who are willing to work independently in public interest, covering climate change, clean energy as well as other issues related to environmental justice and democracy, are welcome to apply for participation. The organisers will look to guarantee equal possibility for participants from disadvantaged groups and minorities. Diversity of geographical representation of participants across the CEE region and Germany will be sought. Selected participants should be well-motivated to learn and apply new knowledge into their work at home, as well as to be prepared to produce journalistic articles under editorial supervision within the virtual newsroom launched by the project. Participants should be able to work and write in English during the workshop and follow-up activities, but will be encouraged to publish stories in their home languages and home media if they work for any.

Travel, accommodation, and other provisions: Travel costs to Sofia and back are covered by the BlueLink Foundation, as well as the meals and accommodation for the workshop’s duration. The organizers cannot accept liability for personal accidents or loss of or damage to the private property of participants and accompanying persons, either during or indirectly arising from attendance of the workshop. Participants should make their own arrangements with respect to health and travel insurance.

Apply now! Applicants should complete a simple application/registration form online at bluelink.typeform.com/to/YCup2z and submit links demonstrating their background and motivation. Participants will be selected based on the merit of their applications. Applicants from disadvantaged groups and minorities will be given priority consideration.

Deadline for registration: Applications for participation in the BlueLink Newsroom will be accepted throughout the project’s duration, until March 2018. Participants in the first workshop to be held in November 2016 will need to have applied prior to 24.00 h, November 16, Wednesday, but applications will be evaluated on ongoing basis, so interested participants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Quality applications that cannot be accepted for the first workshop will be held for the following two workshops to be held during 2017 in other venues.

Any questions regarding participation in the project and the workshop may be addressed to Mr. Pavel Antonov, Executive Editor, and BlueLink’s team at office bluelink net.