RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship
RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship November 21, 2023 – June 31, 2024
Applications for the Regional Reporting Fellowship are now closed. Applications will reopen on June 1, 2023.
Fellowship term: November 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024
Application opens: June 1, 2023
Application deadline: July 1, 2023
Selection results announced by: August 31, 2023
The goal of the RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship is to equip aspiring journalists from the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe with the skills and editorial expertise they need to become standard-bearers of a professional, independent, and ethical press. A free and vibrant media serves as a safeguard against disinformation, while promoting good governance and regional peace. The Fellowship is guided by RFE/RL’s mission to provide accurate, independent journalism in support of democracy and human rights. The program is financed by a grant from the U.S. Department of State.
Fellows will spend eight months in a local RFE/RL bureau where they will receive training, contribute to the day-to-day work of the Service they are placed with and be mentored by professional colleagues. During the second half of their in-bureau programs, Fellows will travel to RFE/RL headquarters in Prague for two weeks to receive additional training that augments the preparation they have received in the bureaus.
The main components of the program are:
- incorporation into the daily multi-platform operations of the RFE/RL bureau
- training in the skills needed to produce professional multi-platform journalism
- mentoring in editorial standards and adhering to RFE/RL’s mission
- inclusion in daily editorial meetings to discuss editorial standards, decisions, and policies
- exposure to the decisions, concerns, and standards that drive and distinguish the professional, independent press
- support in efforts to network with other local media and pursue personal objectives and career goals
The Prague trip also serves a vital networking function, introducing Fellows to colleagues in other RFE/RL language services, representatives of numerous Prague-based advocacy NGOs, and journalists working for Prague-based media outlets. Such contacts will expose Fellows to new professional resources and media trends.
Fellows will receive a monthly stipend for the term of the program that is consistent with the local wage scale, workspace at an appropriate RFE/RL bureau, and paid travel to and from Prague.
The Fellowship accepts applications from journalists in Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine who speak the dominant local language. In the cases of Belarus and Russia, only journalists currently living outside of these two countries may apply.
Eligible applicants should
- have an education in journalism or a related field
- have a minimum of two years’ experience in journalism
- demonstrate a commitment to RFE/RL’s mission of professional, independent, and ethical journalism
- plan to work in their home country, where possible
Proficiency in English is not expected, but a working knowledge of English is desirable.
Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. Applicants will be selected on the basis of their qualifications, their ability to contribute to the work of the bureau, their commitment to the program’s mission, and their professional motivation and goals, as stated in their personal statement.
A complete application must include the following materials:
- curriculum vitae
- personal statement
- 2 work samples
Details of each part of the application can be found below.
Application materials must be in the language of the home country but a copy of the CV in English must be provided.
Please submit them in the form of attachments through the online application portal, which will open June 1, 2023.
In addition, please let us know in the online cover letter how you learned about the Fellowship (e.g., RFE/RL’s website, Facebook, a professional or academic reference, etc.).
Shortlisted candidates will be contacted and asked to participate in a telephone, online or in-person interview as part of the application process.
Please attach your updated curriculum vitae with your current contact information. This shall include your name, e-mail address, social media profile, phone number, present address, and permanent address; a detailed work history since completing your formal education; and educational background. Please also list any noteworthy distinctions or awards, and current or recent memberships in professional, political, or other groups. Please also state if you have received any type of certification (and at what level) of English language proficiency.
Please include your reasons for applying for the Fellowship, journalistic interests, values, or experiences that would qualify you for the program, and your professional goals following completion of the Fellowship.
Please attach 2 work samples in your working language, on any platform, demonstrating your best professional work. Samples must have been published within the 12 months before the application deadline. All samples must include a date.
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Regional Reporting Fellows 2023
Eastern Partnership Countries
Antonina Andriichuk, Ukraine
At present, Antonina writes articles as a freelance author for War Stories from Ukraine, The Ukrainians, the online magazine TEDxKyiv, and the media project Ukrainer. Before that, she worked at the hyperlocal media network Rayon.in.ua. Antonina received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and social communications from Lesia Ukrainka Eastern European National University in 2020 and her master’s degree in journalism from Ukrainian Catholic University in 2022. She has also participated in several study programs, including the School of Universal Editors from the Nakypilo Media Group with the support of the Deutsche Welle Akademie, XV International Summer School of Media Law, and the international autumn storytelling school Our Future. Antonina speaks Ukrainian, English, and Polish.
Carolina Buimestru, Moldova
Carolina currently manages the science magazine Orchiculture, Viticulture and Winemaking and is also a radio show host at Eco FM. In the past, she was a journalist at Ecopresa.md and worked as a videographer for the Youth Media Center. Before beginning her career in journalism, Carolina was a history teacher. In 2020, Carolina completed her education in journalism at the School of Advanced Studies in Journalism. She also took part in the Moldox Documentary Film Workshop and served as a director and camerawoman for a short documentary about village life. Her other projects include a short film about powerlifting master Maria Scripchenko. Carolina speaks Romanian, Russian, English, French, and beginner-level Italian.
Olya Ivleva, Ukraine
Olya currently works as a freelancer for Bihus.info and cooperates with Sud reporter, focusing on courtproceedings. In the past, she worked for several media outlets in Odessa, including Why, Lotsiak, Pushkinske, Information Service, Society Odessa, and HB. She also interned at the Вihus.info project for regional journalists who analyze the finances of political parties. She took part in the Slidstvo.Info “Evil Identification School” project, which records war crimes, giving her experience using OSINT technologies. Olya earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching at Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University in 2013. She has also attended number of training sessions, such as the Donbas Media Forum, Journalism Exchange Program, and the School of Investigators’ "Corruption under the Microscope," where she learned to work with open-source data and analytics, as well as to find topics for investigations. Olya speaks Ukrainian and English.
Yulia Ralko, Belarus
At present, Yuliya is a freelancer cooperating with independent media and NGOs covering social life, political repression, and military aggression. During her studies, Yuliya worked for the KultCenter Korpus event center as a production manager. She believes that everyone has the right to receive objective information about events in all spheres of life, and cherishes honesty and courage, which she considers essential values. Yuliya graduated in 2021 from the Belarusian Human Rights School’s Faculty of Screen Arts, Documentary and TV Directing. Yuliya speaks Belarusian, English, French, and Russian.
Mariam Takidze, Georgia
Until the end of 2022, Mariam worked as a reporter and a presenter for the public broadcaster Adjara TV and Radio. She presented the weekly TV show “#Hashtag,” which covers social issues ranging from human rights to education, youth life, gender equality and other important occurrences in Georgia or worldwide. She is the winner of the #MediaEquality Award from WECF Georgia and the European Union in Georgia in the "Best Regional Media Product" category, for strengthening women's rights and ethical representation. Mariam holds a master's degree in gender studies and a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. She also attended investigative journalism training organized by IFACT and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus, where she honed her skills in gathering open-source data, audiovisual journalism, interviewing, and more. Mariam speaks Georgian, English, and Russian.
Western Balkans Countries
Alem Bajramovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Alem is currently a youth correspondent for the Balkan Diskurs, a project of the Post-Conflict Research Center, as well as a correspondent for BIRN reporting on missing people and war crimes. In the past, he worked as a volunteer correspondent and edited a youth-related column for the local Goražde newspaper, Glas Gorazda. He has also collaborated with the Balkan Investigative Research Network (BIRN), Deutsche Welle, the Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina (NDNV), and other organizations. Since he was a teenager, Alem has pursued interests including photography, film production, screenwriting, politics, peace-building, and non-violent conflict resolution, participating in a variety of workshops and volunteer activities around these topics. Alem obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations, and diplomacy in 2020 from the University of Sarajevo. He is currently completing his master’s degree in security and peace studies at the University of Sarajevo. Alem speaks Bosnian and English.
Albina Kastrati, Kosovo
In 2022, Albina worked for Gazeta 10 where she researched, wrote, edited, and published news articles. In 2021, she completed an internship at Deutsche Welle, where she was part of the Balkan Booster 2021 project with the theme "Finding Solutions,” searching for sources, planning interviews, and writing, shooting, and editing stories. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pristina. Albina speaks Albanian and English.
Nelli Yeghiazaryan, Armenia
In 2022, Nelli began journalism internships at Urbanista and RFE/RL's Armenian Service. Later in the same year she worked as a data communication fellow for ForSet NGO. Prior to that, she was a content creator for Busticks Applications and head of the PR and Communications Committee of the United Youth Nation. Nelli received her bachelor’s degree in Armenian language and literature in 2018 from Armenian State Pedagogical University. Nelli spent a year with the Hetq Media Factory NGO completing a course in investigative journalism. She has also attended investigative journalism training by the Media Initiative Center. Nelli speaks Armenian, English, Russian, and beginner-level Spanish.
About RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowships
The 2022 cohort of RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellows visited Prague for one week of advanced training and networking opportunities with RFE/RL journalists and Czech media outlets. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Regional Reporting Fellowship combines eight months of full-time work as reporters in RFE/RL field bureaus with training and mentoring by RFE/RL journalists – an experience, the Fellows agreed, that was "the best opportunity for young regional journalists to learn from their professional colleagues." The Regional Reporting Fellowship is open to aspiring journalists from Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Former RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellows
RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellow Olga Komarova Wins Award, Ukraine
Olga Komarova, a former participator in RFERL’s Regional Reporting Fellowship program, won Best Radio Report for her story Will Ukraine open for Belarus a route by river to the sea?. Olga is a native of the Odessa region, and is a journalist and co-founder of the local news site Re: Post , which has become a key online source of local news. Olga has also worked at MiG TV studio as a reporter and TV presenter, and was a freelance journalist with the newspaper Ukrainian Week. Olga Komarova holds an MA from Odessa National Economic University. She speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and English read more.