International Reporting Workshop for Albanian Journalists
This professional workshop offers an opportunity for young and active journalists to: perform field reporting of extractive and energy industry’s impact on Albania’s rural areas; investigate transparency and accountability of public authorities and business; and enhance their professional skills and knowledge.
The Patos-Marinza's oil field is considered to be the largest in Europe with a 7.7 billion barrel of oil reserves. Currently in the area are drilling and production activities by companies in agreement with the Albanian government. Drilling and production activities cause: groundwater and soil pollution from oil waste or as a consequence of accidental losses of liquid waste, production water, production chemicals and hydrocarbon sludge, which is hazardous waste; and airborne release of sulfuric and hydrocarbon gases. Environmental and social measures required by Albanian law have not been implemented. They affect community health and safety, employees’ safety, waste management and disposal ◊Accepted participants will spend 2 days in field reporting work in Fier. There they will take part in a professional investigation of the consequences of oil extraction in the Patos-Marinza oil fields. Rural Watch has established that standards of operation of the concession appear at odds with human health and the environment.
Participants will investigate local communities’ situation and attitude to oil extraction; actions of business investors, local and national authorities.
The Rural Watch project will provide participants with specialized professional guidance and access to in-depth information and expertise on spot.
Experienced environmental journalists will participate in the investigative work. Among them will be: Pavel Antonov, Executive Editor of the BlueLink information network (Hungary/Bulgaria) and Xhemal Mato, a veteran environmental reporter for the Albanian National Television.
All participants will produce their own stories and publish them in their respective media outlets. A feature story-telling method will be mastered, alongside classical investigative and reporting techniques. The best stories will be published by Rural Watch, and translated into English for distribution via the BlueLink Stories – a regional environmental e-magazine and possibly by other international media.
Throughout the workshop participants will be involved in establishing the principles of quality independent journalism and their practical implementation in Albania. Participating journalists will share experiences and lessons learned, and will work to produce engaging feature stories of importance for the rural communities of Albania.
Costs and logistics
Participation in this workshop is free for accepted participants. Rural Watch will cover their costs for travel, accommodation and food for the workshop’s duration. Participants will be be transported from Tirana to Fier on the early morning of May 29, and back in the evening of May 31, 2019. The team of Rural Watch will facilitate participants’ access to the affected areas and communities, and to representatives of local and regional authorities and the business where possible. Participants will be supported to make their own inquiries and arrangements for journalistic investigations, which might extend the time of investigation more than the 2 days foreseen by this event. Participation is expected for the whole duration of the workshop.
While most participants will be expected to gather information and work in Albanian language, English speaking journalists will also be considered as translation from/to English will be provided.
Follow-up investigative reporting
Employing their improved professional investigative and story-telling skills, participants will be able to cover extractive and industry stories across Albania’s rural areas. Journalists will have access to action monitoring groups for each of the pilot regions, as well as external experts. In addition to resulting publications in participants’ home media, stories will be published by Rural Watch to reach substantial audience numbers though internet and social media. Market level honoraria will be paid to participating freelancers.
Young and active journalists, either employed by mass media organisations in Albania or free-lanced are eligible to apply for participation are invited to apply for participation.
Journalists working for press, radio, television and internet media will need to be commissioned by their employers.
Journalism students are also eligible, based on a convincing statement of interest/intention to cover extractive and energy related environmental issues in Albania’s rural areas.
Priority will be given to journalists who have covered one of more of the 5 priority cases selected by the Rural Watch: Bulqiza (Chromium industry and HECs of Mat River) Prrenjas (HECs of Shkumbini River in Shebenik Jabllanice National Park); Roskovec (Oil extraction industry in Patos Marinze); Selenice (HECs in Shushica tributary to Vjosa river).
Priority will be given also to applicants from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds.
Rural Watch offers equal opportunity to all potential candidates and shall not discriminate on any basis.
How to apply?
Interested candidates are asked to submit an application by email to: Ms Entela Pinguli, Project Manager, Eco Partners, info [at] eco [dot] al">info [at] eco [dot] al. Each application should consist of:
· A brief statement, outlining the candidate’ s reasons for applying - by email;
· A description of previous experience or demonstrated interest in journalism, covering extractive and energy industry or related environmental/economic/political issues, including links to publications (As an attachment or the CV indicating it) ; and
· A confirmation that the journalist’s employer will support their participation for the duration of the workshop, where applicable.
For more information about the workshop and applications, interested applicants can call telephone +355686054911.
Applications for participation will be accepted on rolling basis by May 15, 2019.
Participants are encouraged to apply earlier to allow for proper consideration.
Successful participants will be notified by May 20, 2019.
About Rural Watch
With financial support from the European Union ECO P is implementing the project “Rural Watch – improving CSOs role in supporting transparency and accountability of public authorities and business in the rural areas” from April 2018 to March 2020. The project addresses some of the most pressing issues of the rural development in Albania related to the quality of life and keeping the standards for clean and safe environment. Overall project objectives include: improved environmental performances of energy and extractive industries in Albanian rural areas; Increased transparency and accountability of public authorities and businesses related to extractive and energy industry (EEI) in rural areas; and rural communities (women and men) better informed and empowered to monitor and control energy and extractive industry in rural areas. The project’s specific objective is strengthening civil society’s role in promoting monitoring standards and ensuring the sustainable use of the natural resources from extractive and energy industry in rural areas. For the purpose of achieving these goals, Rural Watch supports journalists covering extractive and energy issues, the environment, transparency and accountability of public authorities and the business. The project has developed an online platform https://www.vezhguesirural.org/ which will be used an information resource as well as an outreach tool for the project communication strategy towards communities, Journalist and lawyers relevant to the target areas. ◊