2012 Agenda

Day to day agenda of the Third Summer School, with all scheduled activities and lectures

BIRN Summer School
August 19 – 25, 2012

Arrival: Sunday, August 19, 2012
 Radika Hotel, Mavrovo, Macedonia

21:00 Welcome and Introductory Dinner – Lead trainer and professor at the Journalism School at Columbia University, Sheila Coronel, project coordinator for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Media Program South East Europe, Denica Zheleva and BIRN Regional Director, Gordana Igric

Monday, 20 August

DAY 1: Thinking like an investigative reporter

  • 9:00 - 9:30Opening and Introduction with Outline of The Training Programme  - Lead trainer Sheila Coronel, Columbia University and CAR trainer Marcus Lindemann

    Introduction of trainers and participants; Presenting training agenda; What participants should expect and what is expected of them

  • 9:30 – 10:30What is investigative reporting? How do investigative reporters think? - Sheila Coronel

    Upon what types of issues should an investigative reporter focus?  Examples of investigative reporting conducted internationally

    Exercise: Thinking like an investigative journalist - Sheila Coronel

  • 10: 30 - 11:00Coffee
  • 11:00 – 12:00Exercise continues: How investigative journalists think - Sheila Coronel
    Conceptualizing an investigation and writing a story memo
  • 12:00 – 13:15 Online profile: Using the WEB to search for personal data – Marcus Lindemann

    Finding information online by linking real names to online identities; Looking for hidden information in the documents; Using social media to find private information

  • 13:15 - 15:00Lunch

    Participants are divided into groups to discuss story ideas with the lead trainer

  • 15:00 - 16:30 Data-Driven Investigative Reporting – Mark Schoofs, ProPublica

    Traditional investigative techniques with data-driven journalism; How to conduct investigations and find stories and sources                                                                                Case studies: Confidentiality Cloaks Medicare Abuse and A Device to Kill Cancer, Lift Revenue

  • 16:45 - 18:15Round table: Censorship and self-censorship in Balkan media - The enemy within ourselves  

    Participants: Arben Ahmeti, journalist at Koha Ditore, Kosovo; Tamara Causidis,  President of Trade Union of Macedonian Journalists, Macedonia; Mark Schoofs, ProPublica; Gordana Igric, BIRN Regional Director, Serbia; Moderator: Ana Petruseva

    Who is in charge of media content? In the Balkans, it is difficult to identify whether journalists, editors, owners or politicians control the media.

  • 18:15 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Tuesday, 21 August

DAY 2: Public records

  • 9:00 - 10:00What are public records and where can you find them - Sheila Coronel
    Public records play an important role in investigative reporting; Examples of how public records were used to provide proof of wrongdoing; Demonstrations of useful search tools and databases
  • 10:00 - 11:30Using public records– Tracking companies Paul Radu, OCCRP and Investigative Dashboard

    Offshore doesn't necessarily needs to be an island, offshore type of company can be established in countries like Austria, Delaware in the US or somewhere else; How to get information from offshore havens

  • 11:30 – 11:45Coffee
  • 11: 45 – 13:30Using Freedom of Information Laws in Europe – Helen Darbishire,  Access Info Europe

    Applying FOI laws for EU institutions; how to make requests for information in the EU

    Access to Public Documents in the Balkans Lawrence Marzouk, BIRN Kosovo

    How to get access to public documents in the Balkans by using FOI requests and online databases

    Case Study: Kosovo Pays 30 Times too Much for Fire Engine, Ministers Flourish from Road Bonanza


  • 13:30 - 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00 - 16:30 Online strategies: Going beyond Google's advanced search – Marcus Lindemann

    Systemically working to find solutions for unsolved web searches; How to build search macros and customize Google into one's own search engine; The seminar will also cover learning how to save and organise information found online

  • 16:30 - 17:00                                                                                                                Participants work on story ideas within the group
  • 17:00 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Wednesday, 22 August

DAY 3: Following the money

  • 9:30 - 10:30Techniques for investigating corruption - Sheila Coronel

    How have journalists investigated corruption in public office? What techniques do they use to investigate bribery, money laundering and theft of public funds?

  • 10:30 – 11:00Coffee
  • 11:00 – 12:00Following the money - Assets of public officials, businessmen, crime groups - Stevan Dojcinovic, OCCRP and CINS

    Buildings, houses and apartments, which you pass everyday, could be part of big property network secretly controlled by powerful individuals. Tracking assets is one of the most important investigative skills and there are numerous tricks which reporter could use to find assets, determine who is behind it and prove it.

    Case study: “Miskovic millions”

  • 12:00 – 13:30Following the money (continued)Privatisation gone wrong - Stevan Dojcinovic                                                                                                                          Privatisation in the Balkans gave opportunities to the mafia, dirty businessmen and corrupt officials to illegally obtain millions of Euros but also to launder enormous amounts of money. Most of the companies privatized in last 10 years in Serbia are now closed and thousands of workers are without a job. How do you determine who has the money and who is behind the privatization deals?

    Case study: Zoran Copic: “Man in the Middle”

  • 13:30 – 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00 - 16:30Online strategies: Finding traces online & introduction to ExcelMarcus Lindemann

    Where to pick up and how to follow traces. How to Monitor websites (and the web) and access sites that have been deleted or changed; Examine data by using simple functions in Excel; Help participants work on strategies for their research

  • 16:30 - 17:00Participants are divided into groups to discuss story ideas with the lead trainer
  • 18:00 – 19:30Round table: Investigating corruption in the Balkans 

    Participants:– Dragana Babovic, reporter Vijesti, Crna Gora, German Filkov, director of the Center for Civil Communications, Macedonia, Vuk Djuricic, spokesperson of USKOK, Croatia, Lawrence Marzouk, editor Pristina Insight, Kosovo; Moderator: Ana Petruseva

    Without a doubt, the biggest issue in all Balkan states is corruption. Is it possible to stop it, to report on it, what can journalists do about it?

  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Thursday, 23 August

DAY 4: The Investigative interview

  • 9:30 - 11:00The art of the investigative interview  - Stephen Grey
    Investigative interviewing – getting information from reluctant sources is an art, but it can be taught. What are the most effective questions to ask? How can you get sources to talk?
  • 11:00 - 11:30Coffee
  • 11:30 - 13:00Finding and interviewing sources – Paul Lewis, special projects editor at the Guardian

    How can journalists exploit the digital age to find sources? And once contact has been made, what is the key to cultivating sources and making them talk? Series of case studies to explore how an 'open' approach to journalism can enable investigative reporters to find crucial information, revealing what somebody, somewhere, does not want them to know

  • 13:00 - 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00 – 16:30Putting the story together - Sheila Coronel and Stephen Grey

    How can journalists make investigative reports more interesting and easier to understand? What kind of narrative structures are effective? Does effective story-telling help ensure that stories have an impact?

  • 16.30 – 17.30Participants divided into groups to discuss story ideas with the lead trainer


  • 17:30 – 18:30Film projection: Putin kiss, Lise Birk Pedersen
  • 20:00 Dinner at Hotel

Friday, 24 August

DAY 5: Workshops

  • 9:30 - 13:00 Workshop: Story Proposals
    Groups present their story ideas; participants critique and discuss the story proposals in terms of: relevance, significance, feasibility, methodological rigor and public interest.
  • 13:00 – 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00 - 23:00
    Farewell dinner and award ceremony

Saturday, 25 August


  • 10:00End of Programme