“The RVI fellowship is designed to make good journalists even better and, what was the most important for me, it gives journalists freedom along with editorial support and guidance to do research or in-depth analysis about a topic that interest them.”
Working as Germany correspondent with several media in the Balkans last five years, I got familiar with German politics, economy and culture but the RVI Fellowship gave me opportunity to do investigation in both regions. As RVI fellow, I explored how Germany’s far-right is extending its ideology and network into southeastern Europe. The whole experience was fruitful and important for me in many ways.
Firstly, the RVI fellowship is designed to make good journalists even better and, what was the most important for me, it gives journalists freedom along with editorial support and guidance to do research or in-depth analysis about a topic that interest them.
In my case, the fellowship provided me an opportunity to confront with an entrenched and widely-held perception in the West of the Balkans as a source of ethnic nationalism and instability endangering Europe. My story proved the reverse trend that the export of far-right ideology goes from Germany to the Balkans.
Secondly, in every phase of the fellowship – from the initial workshop, through investigation and editing, to the publication and following reactions – I felt I had firm support from BIRN and RVI. Furthermore, I had support from people who understood what I was going through and who had extensive experience in reporting on regional issues for global audience.
That was very important in the process of editing. My story is focused on the connections which Germany’s Alternative for Germany, AfD, and National Democratic Party, NPD, have established in Serbia and Croatia, fanning the flames of Islamophobia and historical revisionism. During the investigation I found out that their targets were not just politicians and political parties, but church figures and intellectuals too, via dozens of meetings, conferences, panel discussions, seminars and other events. Afterwards it was a challenge to condensate really extensive material – dozens of documents, interviews and background information – into a readable piece. The way that my piece was with surgical precision edited by BIRN’s editor Matt Robinson, accompanied by attractive visual and promotion material made by BIRN, resulted the final article that is attractive not just for audience in the Balkans and Germany but worldwide.
Finally, having in mind the state of journalism nowadays, the importance of RVI Fellowship is even greater. We are living in times where even the major respectable newspapers and news magazines expect from their journalists to pitch their stories in the form of a headline, and afterwards editors’ decisions are mainly determined by Google’s algorithms or Chartbeat’s analytics for digital publishing. We are living in times where even in the mainstream media the headline can dictate the news, instead of the other way around. The RVI Fellowship helps journalist to overcome this sad reality of modern newsrooms and journalism itself. It helps good journalism and good stories to come to the light of day.
Nenad Radicevic is an experienced journalist and editor from Serbia, specialised in international reporting, who has been working for the last four years as a Germany correspondent for a number of media outlets in the Balkans.
After a decade working in print media, last years he is engaged in mobile and video journalism as well.
He was a 2007 fellow of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
The Resonant Voices Initiative in the EU is funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police.
The of this story is the sole responsibility of BIRN and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.