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Balkan Insight is a publication of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), that focuses on news, analysis, commentary and investigative reporting from southeast Europe. It is run by journalists in southeast Europe - the Balkans - including BIRN regional director Gordana Igric, an international award-winner for her reporting on human rights abuses and war crimes.
Balkan Insight reports from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. Balkan Insight articles have been republished by 95 media outlets in southeast Europe.
Recent award-winning Balkan Insight journalists and reports include:
- Krenar Gashi and BIRN investigative team, winner of Best Print/Online Story of 2006 for "Ex-Policemen Run Kosovo Passport Scam"; awarded by Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo.
- Nidzara Ahmetasevic, Justice Report editor, winner of honorary mention for "The Last Taboo", dealing with the issue of rape and sexual abuse of men in detention camps during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina; awarded in December 2006 by the Claudio Accardi Association.
- Arbana Xharra, winner of First Prize, 2006 journalism competition; awarded in December 2006 by United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency; for reporting on corruption in both Balkan Insight and the Kosovo daily newspaper Koha Ditore.
- Alina Constantinescu and Daniel Ganga, winner of honorary mention for reporting on ethnic minority issues; awarded in October 2006 by the Romanian Center for Resources for Roma Communities.
Balkan Insight distinguishes itself among other news publications in southeast Europe by its accuracy, and also by ability to draw on a large pool of journalists throughout the region, across national borders. Balkan Insight’s cross-border coverage of international issues helps counteract the radical “Balkanization” of journalism in southeast Europe that mirrored “Balkanization” along national and other political lines after 1990.
Sections of the publication include In Brief, Analysis, Comment, Investigation, Business Insight and Justice Report.
- In Brief articles are short, quick-read news stories supplemented by concise analysis. They
are published on a real-time basis throughout the week.
- Analysis articles are longer stories, typically 900-1000 words in length, describing an event or trend in southeast European news and reporting from an analytical perspective.
- Comment articles are opinion pieces contributed by a wide variety of high-quality analysts, frequently well-known journalists, policy experts and economists from southeast Europe and elsewhere.
- Investigation articles are Balkan Insight’s longest, most research-intensive articles. These are frequently the fruit of long and difficult investigation, often involving more than one journalist in more than one location.
- Business Insight articles cover business and economic news in an analytical manner. They are similar in length to Analysis articles. BIRN aims ultimately to expand Business Insight into a publication in its own right, a market-leading subscription-based newsletter covering international business and economic trends in southeast Europe. For this purpose, BIRN recruited in 2007 a board of editorial advisors whose members include some of the region’s most respected market economists and business leaders, some of whom have contributed opinion pieces to Balkan Insight.
- Justice Report articles are linked into Balkan Insight online from another BIRN publication, Justice Report, which provides in-depth coverage of war crimes trials ongoing in republics of the former Yugoslavia.
Balkan Insight occasionally publishes special editions, focusing on a particular theme, issue, territory or major event such as an election.
Staff, contributing editors and board members include
Balkan Insight staff editors, contributing editors and board members include:
- Gordana Igric, BIRN Regional Director, is a veteran Belgrade journalist and winner of Overseas Press Club (USA) and Human Rights Watch awards for her reporting on human rights abuses and war crimes during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia during the 1990s. She later directed the award-winning Balkans program of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. With former IWPR colleagues across southeast Europe, she founded BIRN in 2005.
- Ana Petruseva, Assistant Editor, is a journalist in Skopje, Macedonia, where she is the founder and country director of BIRN Macedonia. She has worked for a wide variety of media outlets since 1997, including Reuters, Arte (France/Germany), Spiegel TV (Germany), Rai Uno (Italy), Deutsche Welle (Germany), Forum (Macedonia), covering both the Kosovo war of 1998-1999 and the Macedonian conflict of 2001. She also produces documentary films.
- Marcus Tanner, Editor and Trainer, is a journalist in London. A former assistant foreign editor and Balkans correspondent for The Independent (UK), he covered the break-up of Yugoslavia, the fall of communism in Bulgaria and Romania, the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His books include “Croatia: a Nation Forged in War” (1997), “Ireland’s Holy Wars” (2001) and “The Last of the Celts” (2004), all published by Yale University Press.
- Eric Jansson, Contributing Editor, is an American journalist based in the UK. He has reported since 1997 from central and eastern Europe and the Balkans. A former Balkans correspondent for the Financial Times and Baltics correspondent for dpa Deutsche Presse Agentur, he has also written for the Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune and many other media outlets. In addition to editing, he has consulted BIRN on future development of Business Insight.
- Tim Judah, a British journalist who has covered the Balkans for The Economist, the New York Review of Books and others is the president of the board.
According to the Balkan Insight's own informations the main donors of the network consist mainly of western based governments or non-governmental organisations (NGO), for instance the German and US-funded Balkan trust for Democracy, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.