Faik Ispahiu

Faik Ispahiu has been involved in multi-media production and media development since graduating from the University of Pristina where he studied TV, film and theatre direction.

He has worked for a number of organisations, including the IREX Kosovo media programme, the public relations office of the ministry of communities, and helped to launch the TV station Kohavision.

He is the current director of Internews Kosova, which is a member of Internews International.

Ispahiu is also one of the founders and a manager of the International theatre festival Kosova InFest – the main theatre event in Kosovo.

Ispahiu is TV director and executive producer of the BIRN-organised debates Life in Kosovo.

Dragana Nikolic Solomon

Dragana Nikolic Solomon is the Head of the Media Department (2007 – present) at the OSCE Mission to Serbia where she serves as senior adviser to the Head of Mission on media issues, communicates OSCE media policy to Serbian Government, media and NGOs, as well as briefing the international community on the media environment

She also advises on the drafting of the new media legislation and provides expert counsel to legislators, the international community and governmental agencies regarding current legislation and its compliance with international standards.

Ms. Nikolic develops and manages projects, including capacity building for Serbian journalists to increase the quality of reporting, with special emphasis on South and South West Serbia.

Her extensive background includes being Serbia editor and director for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network BIRN, as well as Balkans assistant editor for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting.


Jelena Drakulic – Petrovic

Jelena Drakulic-Petrovic, general manager of the largest media publishing house in Serbia, Ringier d.o.o

Graduated from Faculty of Philology, Belgrade University in 2001. Have been at Ringier since 2004, started from Marketing, through Business development and Publishing management till becoming general manager of all Ringier activities in Serbia in 2008. Previous working expertise in sales and FMCG.


Helen Darbishire

Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe, is a human rights professional specialising in access to information, freedom of expression and media freedom

Helen has extensive experience of working to promote the right to information globally, including by assisting drafting and promoting implementation of access to information laws in Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

She is a founder and current chair of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network.

Helen’s human rights experience spans 20 years. She has worked with Article 19 (London and Paris, 1989-1998) and the Open Society Institute (Budapest and New York, 1999-2005) and as a consultant with inter-governmental organisations (including UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the World Bank).

She has published and lectured widely on freedom of expression, access to information, human rights and democratisation. She holds a degree in History and Philosophy of Science (Psychology and Philosophy) from the University of Durham, in the UK. She speaks English, French and Spanish. Helen is based in Madrid, Spain.


Eric Nalder

Eric Nalder has received two Pulitzer Prizes, one for national reporting in 1990 and another for investigative reporting in 1997. 

He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in public service in 1992. He has published one book, Tankers Full of Trouble, which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for 1994. He has taught interviewing and investigative reporting workshops in five countries, each year adding new techniques learned from journalists, cops, FBI agents, lawyers, social workers and other practitioners. Retired in January and working on another book, he was a journalist for 42 years, last serving as national investigative reporter for the Hearst Newspapers chain (Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, etc). Always based in the Seattle area, his stories have exposed corruption in politics, the legal profession, government agencies, financial institutions, police departments, businesses and sports. He has also examined the dereliction and loopholes that led to massive oil spills, pipeline explosions and oil well disasters. He previously worked for the Seattle Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer and San Jose Mercury News. His jobs usually included investigative team leadership.  He lived during his youth in Norway, France, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Marija Ristic

Marija is one of the editors and journalists of Balkan Transitional Justice programe.

Marija joined BIRN in 2011 as journalist covering Serbia. Marija is further engaged in BIRN’s documentary production.

She studied German language and journalism, and is currently pursuing for her master’s degree in international security. Marija has received numerous awards and scholarships from the OSCE, the Dr Zoran Djindjic Foundation, the Serbian Ministry of Education, the Austrian government and the Norway Research Council.

Milorad Ivanovic

Milorad Ivanovic is the deputy editor-in-chief of Blic, the largest Serbian daily newspaper. He was previously the paper’s foreign affairs editor and has a special interest in investigative and cross-border journalism

Milorad has also worked as a correspondent for the the French news agency EPN and has had articles published in such international newspapers as The Sunday Times in the UK, El Mundo in Spain, Der Standard in Austria and the Washington times.

Milorad produced Hidden Wounds, a documentary film on post-traumatic stress disorder which was made in co-operation with the BBC.

His investigations have included work on human trafficking (in association with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting),  the employment of Balkan mercenaries by British and US security firms in Iraq, and arms trafficking from Ukraine into Serbia.

In 2007 Milorad was selected for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.

Stephen A. Salmieri

Stephen Salmieri worked as Chief of Undercover Operations within the FBI for 29 years.

In this role, he managed FBI undercover operations nationally and internationally, and was a member of the International Working Group on police undercover operations and liaison with CIA and NSA.

He formulated the FBI’s undercover agent selection and training programmes, designed and implemented training programmes for Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

He was the coordinator of terrorist task force and informant programmes.

One of the FBI’s original undercover agents, his projects included organised crime, biker gangs, corruption, insurance fraud, narcotics, money laundering, murder for hire, property theft, terrorism, white collar crime.

He was also an inmate at a maximum security prison, and utilised the witness protection programme for organised crime top-echelon informants.

Salmieri is trainer for Investigative Techniques Unlimited, and senior police adviser on organised crime, undercover operations, narcotics and terrorism to the Republic of Serbia.

He is a consultant to the FBI, the State Department, the US Departments of Justice, Food & Drug Administration and Police.

He has lectured in the Caribbean on undercover operations, money laundering and terrorist financing.

He also worked as a consultant for National Geographic Television’s July 2013 series ‘Inside the American Mob’.

Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison is the investigative projects editor at Reuters in New York. He was hired in 2011 to help create an investigative reporting unit.

Projects he has overseen and edited since he joined the news agency include two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: The Child Exchange, an investigation of America’s underground market for adopted children; and The Echo Chamber, a special report that revealed how a handful of lawyers came to have an outsized influence at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to joining Reuters, Morrison served as the investigations editor and the deputy enterprise editor at USA TODAY, where he had worked since October 1999. His investigation of the impact of industrial pollution on schoolchildren spurred the EPA to launch a $2.25 million project to examine the air outside more than 60 schools across the nation. The reporting earned Morrison and colleague Brad Heath the Grantham Prize, a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Fourth Estate Award, the America’s Promise Journalism Award, the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize, the John B. Oakes Award and the Philip Meyer Journalism Award. Morrison was also part of an investigation that examined the quality and safety of food served to children at schools. The investigation prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to launch sweeping reforms that raised the quality and safety standards for food served to 31 million children each day. It also earned the top investigative reporting award from the Education Writers Association.

Before joining USATODAY, Morrison spent six years as a reporter and editor at the St. Paul(Minn.) Pioneer Press.  There, he worked on the metro desk and as an investigative reporter, and worked on an investigation into academic fraud in theUniversity ofMinnesota men’s basketball program. The investigation earned a Pulitzer Prize for George Dohrmann, the beat reporter who broke the story.

Morrison has taught reporting and writing courses at the Columbia University in New York, American University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Maryland. He served as writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, and has lectured at Arizona State University and Louisiana State University. He also worked with journalists in Egypt in the weeks before the revolution to develop database and investigative reporting techniques.

His French bulldog, Oatmeal, boasts 1,800 followers on Instagram (oatmealthepup).

Laura Ranca

Laura Ranca works with the RISE Project (www.riseproject.ro), a community of investigative journalists, programmers, graphic artists and activists from Romania who investigate cross-border corruption and organized crime, and develop advanced data research and visualization tools.

Laura coordinates the development of Visual Investigative Scenarios, a data visualization platform designed to assist investigative journalists, activists and others in mapping complex business or crime networks (www.vis.occrp.org).

Her current work also includes training journalists and activists on data visualization and a research project on media ownership in Moldova.

Previously, Laura has worked as a public communications officer with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo and as a researcher with the Center for Media and Communications Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.