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RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship

RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship November 1, 2023 – June 31, 2024

Applications for the Regional Reporting Fellowship are now closed.

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.

Description

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.

Eligibility

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 case of Belarus, only journalists currently living outside of the country 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.

Application Instructions

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.

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.

Curriculum Vitae

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.

Cover Letter

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.

Work Samples

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.

Privacy Notice for RFE/RL Fellows

Fellowship at RFE/RL is contingent upon the successful completion of a background security check performed after the acceptance of RFE/RL´s offer. More details and information about the collection and processing of your personal data will be provided to you together with the Fellowship agreement.

Questions?

Please contact fellowships@rferl.org

Regional Reporting Fellows 2023–2024

Salome Chaduneli, Georgia

Salome was a journalist at Television Formula, where her live reporting covered topics such as political events, social issues, challenges of the judicial system, and human rights policy. At Television Formula, she also worked on the investigative program Shabatis Formula, which focuses on elite corruption. In the past, Salome worked as a media monitor at the EU, UNDP, and Georgian Chapter of Journalistic Ethics, covering online media during the local election in 2021, and as an on-air journalist for On.ge. Salome is the participant of the several international media projects together with her Azerbaijani and Armenian colleagues. Her article Punishment is not the solution – everything about juvenile justice won a competition on the topic of juvenile crime prevention in Georgia at the Georgian Center for Psychological and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims. Salome holds a master´s degree in political science from Ilia State University with a semester abroad at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She did her bachelor's degree at Tbilisi State University in the field of journalism and mass communication, with a minor in social work. Salome speaks Georgian and English.

Kristina Gadze, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kristina is a journalist and activist focused on topics such as peacebuilding, human rights, and social issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She currently works at the Post Conflict Research Center as the project assistant and, in their multimedia platform, as assisting editor and youth correspondent. Simultaneously, she is a columnist at Forum ZFD B&H. In the past, she worked for a social network Karike and student radio and portal Treći. At the University of Mostar, where Kristina obtained her master´s degree in journalism and informatics, she received a Chancellor´s award for student excellence and at the Association of Journalist in B&H, she won an award for the best student paper on labor rights of journalists. Kristina speaks English fluently.

Shoghik Galstyan, Armenia

Shoghik has over 11 years of experience in journalism with strong writing and editing skills focused on political, social, and human rights issues. She currently reports for Factor TV, covering news stories and creating video reportages and conducting studio interviews, while also mentoring young journalism students. In the past, she was a reporter at the Armenian Public TV, AraratNews, and Med-Practic websites. In 2016, she received a Media Award for Actively Covering the Issues of Local Self-Governing Bodies from the Yerevan Press Club. Shoghik obtained her master´s diploma in journalism at the Yerevan State University with her thesis: Coverage of Sumgait Pogroms in Armenian and Azerbaijani Media. Her native language is Armenian, and she can speak intermediate Russian and English.

Hlafira Zhuk, Belarus

Hlafira has been working as a journalist in Belarusian independent media since 2020, both as a full-time employee and as a freelancer, focusing on political and social issues. In the past, she worked as a journalist at Nasha Niva and Narodnaya Volya. At the Belorussian Association of Journalists, she held the position of project manager. Hlafira has been a member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists since 2021. She is currently finishing a bachelor´s degree in media and communication at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. Hlafira´s native languages are Belarusian and Russian, and she is intermediate in English.

Gentiana Kadrija, Kosovo

Gentiana is a journalist and editor at a news agency KosovaPress, where she focuses on current political affairs, justice, and security, often reporting from court proceedings at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. Her seniority enables her to train other employees and provide them with feedback and guidance. Previously, she reported on main events in the region while also working on documentaries. Gentiana has attended seminars about disinformation organized by the National Democratic Institute. Recently, she was trained in Mobile Journalism by DW Akademie. She obtained her bachelor´s degree in journalism from the University of Pristina. Gentiana´s native language is Albanian; she is fluent in English and intermediate in Spanish.

Luminita Toma, Moldova

Luminita is an eloquent journalist with a passion for accurate storytelling and effective communication. Luminita currently works as a news reporter for the Independent Journalism Center in Moldova and is also completing an internship at Hotnews Romania, where she hopes to gain more experience and expertise in the journalistic field. As a news reporter, she researches and produces daily news reports. In the past, Luminita worked for Orange Moldova as a regulatory assessor for a British operator. Luminita holds a bachelor´s degree in communication and public relations from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University. Her native language is Romanian, she speaks English fluently, and French and Russian at an intermediate level.

Mariami Varadashvili, Georgia

Until October 2023, Mariam worked as a journalist at Business Media Georgia (BMG), where she covered business and economic issues of countries, focusing on the energy sector, aviation, and tourism. She also worked for Formula’s business division Business Formula, featuring topics related to the economy. As a reporter, Mariam spent nearly four years at Netgazeti where she covered issues ranging from politics and economy to human rights. She has been awarded a certificate for the completion of the MediaTOR course in reporting on economy, new media, and data journalism, which was organized by USAID and International School of Economics at TSU. She also holds a certificate for an internship program “Learning by Doing” at Radio Tavisupleba’s Media School. Mariam graduated from Tbilisi State University, where she studied English philology. She speaks Georgian and English.

Olena Vysokolian, Ukraine

Olena is a freelance journalist, videographer, and photographer. Her journalistic contributions can be seen in NGL.media, Lyuk, and Local history, while her videos appeared in NGO Building Ukraine Together, the oral history project the #Unheard, and Prague civil society. She has previously interned at Reporters and Hromadske. During her work in local media "Nashi hroshi. Lviv" she focused on writing news, conducting anti-corruption investigations, and producing YouTube videos. In the project The European Union and the Council of Europe work together to support media freedom in Ukraine, she monitored the compliance with journalistic standards and mentions of political forces in regional mass media during the pre-election campaign of local elections in 2020. She also worked as a mentor and co-author of the curriculum at the NGO Poltava branch of the Public Service of Ukraine. Olena holds a master´s degree in journalism from Ukrainian Catholic University. Her native language is Ukrainian, and she also speaks English.

About RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowships

'The Best Opportunity to Learn:' RFE/RL’s Regional Reporting Fellowship
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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.

​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.

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