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RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship

RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship January 4, – August 31, 2023

Call for Applications​

Application for RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship

Deadline for RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship Applicants: Sunday, October 2, 2022

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is now accepting applications for the 2023 RFE/RL Regional Reporting Fellowship.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to contribute to the professional development of aspiring journalists in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans in support of media freedom and independence.

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.

Program Summary

Fellows will be selected on a competitive basis from Eastern Partnership countries and countries in the Western Balkans and placed with a local RFE/RL bureau. They will be integrated into the daily work of the bureau, where they will work on a full-time basis to produce content across all journalistic platforms and participate in editorial discussions under the supervision and mentoring of professional RFE/RL colleagues. As a result of the program, Fellows are expected to strengthen their journalistic skills and knowledge, develop their editorial judgment, expand their professional networks, and deepen their understanding of the role of an independent press in their country.

English-language proficiency is not required.

The Fellowship is for an eight-month term, running approximately from January 4, 2023, through August 31, 2023. It will include a visit to RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague for additional professional development.

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 accommodations in Prague. Housing may be provided for Fellows who must relocate to work at the local bureau.

Selection

The selection process for the fellowship is competitive. 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 cover letter.

Fellowship winners will be announced by November 1, 2022.

Questions may be directed to hokuvovaj@rferl.org.

Regional Reporting Fellows 2021

Eastern Partnership Countries

Vahe Ohanyan, Armenia

Vahe began his career at Bars Media, producing PSAs, corporate videos and documentaries for the UN, European Union and Habitat for Humanity. At Bars Media, Vahe also produced an award-winning fiction "Akhtamar" (2010), with Amsterdam Worldwide in the Netherlands, and Coy! Communications in the UK. Vahe worked as a full-time producer and broadcaster for Voice of America’s Armenian service in Washington, D.C., conducting interviews and producing and editing news and original feature stories for TV, web and social media. He has produced popular international formats such as “The Voice” and “The X Factor” for Armenian TV networks. As a producer of international formats and head of acquisitions at PanArmenian Media Group (2012-2014), Vahe cooperated, negotiated and signed deals with media outlets such as CNN, PBS, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment (UK), Sony Music (Russia), National Geographic (Europe), Discovery (Germany), Globo TV (Brazil) and Talpa Media (The Netherlands). In 2021, before joining RFE/RL, Vahe produced a documentary series for Aliq Media that focused on the human aspects of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Vahe has a master’s degree in directing from the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Film. He also studied liberal arts with an emphasis on media and film for three years at The Blake School at Minneapolis College, Minnesota, U.S. Vahe is a graduate of the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE) European Producers Workshop (2010) and a UNESCO nominee for ROLEX Awards for Enterprise: Young Laureates Program. Vahe is fluent in Armenian, English and Russian, and has an intermediate knowledge of French.

Arina Korshunova, Belarus

Arina started her career as an interviewer for the Institute of Sociology. Then she became an assistant manager at The Representative Office of the German Adult Education Association ("Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.") in Belarus, organizing events, copywriting and communicating with guests and partners. She also spent one year at LSTR Adziennie, planning and implementing new content for company websites and social media, writing posts, copywriting, working with suppliers and organizing the sales process. Arina was also an SMM-specialist for Legalize Belarus and Youth Block, where she prepared content, planned and communicated with followers, and was responsible for customizing advertisements. Arina suspended her role in Legalize Belarus and Youth Block during her RFE/RL fellowship. Arina started her studies in 2017 at the Belarusian State University Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, majoring in philosophy. She dropped out in 2020 in solidarity with repressed students. She speaks Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian and English.

Lana Kokaia, Georgia

Lana began her career in 2015 as a full-time multimedia journalist in the regional media outlet Kutaisi Post. At the same time, she was a mobile reporter for the Georgian Public Broadcasting TV Program Realuri Sivrtse. In 2017, she began freelancing for the OC Media and the Caucasus Edition: Journal of Conflict Transformation. In 2020, Lana started a full-time job at On.ge newsroom based in Tbilisi. Before starting the Regional Fellowship program at RFE/RL, she became a contributing writer at the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR). Lana has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in journalism from the Akaki Tsereteli State University. In 2017, she was awarded Georgia's most prestigious journalism prize –– the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Special Prize in Peace Journalism –– in the category of the “Best Conflict-Sensitive Journalistic Work.” She is also the winner of Global Initiative on Psychiatry –– Tbilisi's contest promoting rights of people with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities in Georgia –– in the category of “Best Story on Online Media. Lana’s mother tongue is Georgian, and she also speaks English and Russian.

Olga Soroceanu, Moldova

Olga likes to analyze phenomena of mass culture and societal change –– at all levels of economy, politics and, last but not least, culture. She started her career as an intern at Știripozitive, where she spent a month in 2021. From June 2021 to October 2021, she interned for RFE/RL in Chisinau. She is completing her studies at the Moldova State University, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences. She attended the IREX EUROPE online training session on journalism. Her mother tongue is Romanian, and she also speaks Russian and English.

Iryna Masliukova, Ukraine

Iryna started her journalism career as a freshman at university. She was an intern at the Kropyvnytskyi news outlet, writing articles about cultural events. In 2019, she interned at Radio Svoboda for a month. During the internship, she shot a story for the newsroom program and prepared surveys and other materials. Since September 2018, she has worked as a journalist for the information portal «Gre4ka.info», Kropyvnytskyi, where she is responsible for writing news, preparing materials and shooting and editing mobile videos. She also prepared a viral caption video. In addition, she acts as a social media administrator and posts materials on social networks including Telegram, Instagram and Facebook. She graduated with honors from the Volodymyr Vynnychenko Central Ukrainian State Pedagogical University, Department of Journalism. In 2020, Iryna won the PRESSZVANIE award for journalists in the “Opening of the Year” nomination. Iryna speaks Ukrainian and Russian, and she has a good command of English.

Western Balkans Countries

Mirnes Bakija, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bakija spent a month at RFE/RL participating in the program “Free Voices” in 2018. Mirnes also spent six months working as a journalist and photographer on the project "Mi o nama." He then worked for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) as a data journalist. In May 2019, Mirnes joined the Post Conflict Research Center working as a correspondent for the "Balkan Diskurs" internet portal. He spent a year as PR, journalist and activist in the Association of Citizens "Oštra Nula" from Banja Luka. In June 2021, Mirnes joined eTrafika as coordinator and editor on the project "Može i drugačije." He most often reports on human rights, marginalized groups and women’s rights. He was a member of the correspondence team on the “Love Tales” project and one of the creators and correspondents on the project WISB (Women in Small Businesses), which aims to inspire women to start small businesses, encouraging them to use their skills to implement their ideas. Mirnes has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communication studies from the Faculty of Political Science in Sarajevo. He has also attended many journalism training courses, including Transitional Justice Reporting Training for Journalists (Belgrade) in 2019, Training for Reporting on Corruption in Public Procurement (Trebinje and Zenica) in 2019 and Graphic Designer Course (CorelDRAW; Photoshop; Illustrator) in 2019. He has won three journalism awards, including two awards for his work on hate speech against marginalized groups. He also won a photography award at the MIR Multimedia Competition. Apart from his mother tongue, he also speaks English.

Ivana Stojkova, North Macedonia

Ivana began her professional career at the Macedonia Radio Television, first as a host of the educational program “The Bell,” and later as an intern in the news program. After that, she completed a one-month internship at Deutsche Welle. Then Ivana worked as a reporter for the news program at TV Kanal5 for a year, where she reported live from the field and conducted interviews. Ivana spent four months as a fellow at Voice of America in Washington, D.C. When she returned, she started working for TV 24 as a news reporter, where she was responsible for publishing and broadcasting news stories about health, science and social issues. Her job includes producing reports on daily news as it unfolds, producing multimedia content, gathering and verifying data from various sources and hosting daily program shows. Ivana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia. She attended a Thompson Reuters course and has a certificate in mobile journalism. Her mother tongue is Macedonian, she also speaks English and intermediate German and Italian.

Iva Gajic, Serbia

Iva works simultaneously for several media organizations: Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina where she works as deputy podcast manager, Fabrika Kreativnosti as podcaster and Pizzeria "Vetrenjča" as social media manager. From time to time, she writes for the portals Autonomija and VOICE. She worked as a journalist trainee at Fakenews Tragač for four months. At university, Iva was editor-in-chief of the students’ portal Univerzitetski Odjek. Iva graduated from the University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Media Studies in 2021. During her studies, she spent a semester in Belgium at Howest University. She is currently completing her master's degree at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Department of Digital Transformation of Media and Culture. She has attended many training courses on investigative journalism, digital journalism, visual storytelling, podcasting basics, mobile journalism and newsroom management. Her mother tongue is Serbian, she also speaks English fluently and has basic knowledge of German and Spanish

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 recently 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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