Call for Nominations to Balkan Award for Understanding

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), calls for nominations for the 2017 Dr Erhard Busek-SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South, Eastern and Central Europe. Eligible to be nominated are journalists, editors, media executives, media experts, writers or journalism trainers in South, East and Central Europe, who have contributed to promoting better understanding in the region and have worked towards ending minority-related problems, ethnic divisions, racism, xenophobia, gender discrimination, homophobia, etc. The winner will be awarded EUR 3,000.

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SCOOP-Supported Investigation Wins First Prize

Gleb Yarovoy received the annual prize for the best journalistic work in Karelia for his investigation “Valaam Millions”.

Journalist Gleb Yarovoy won the Grand Prix of the Annual contest of the Journalists Union of Karelia for the investigation “Valaam Billions – The Monastery’s Secret” about expenses for the restoration and work of the Valaam Monastery. The investigation received a prize in the nomination “Best journalistic work”. The author was awarded on May 19 at the traditional Award ceremony in Petrozavodsk.

A diploma and a prize (a vacation in a country house on the Karelian river Suna) for Gleb Yarovoy was received by his wife and colleague Anna Yarovaya.  Gleb Yarovoy could not attend the award ceremony.

“Valaam Billions – The Monastery’s Secret” was investigated with support from the SCOOP Russia project, published 7th February 2017 on the news site “7×7”.


Grants to go to the GIJC in Joburg

Five days left to apply! Do you want to go to the Global Investigative Conference i Johannesburg in November – but don’t have the money? Apply for a fellowship! See how here


The Dogs Keep Disappearing in Karelia

Since Karelian authorities launched a campaign against stray dogs, Nikolai, Anastasia and many other citizens have been looking for their pets: They have disappeared and nobody seems to know the fate of their beloved animals.

The reporters Alexandra Zaitseva and Maxim Shumeyko from the project “7×7” tried to find out what happened, and soon found themselves in a maze of existing and non-existing companies and offices. It seems that the authorities simply kill hundreds of dogs every year. Needless to add that this is not what the law states.

Their report was published 19.10.2016

Read the original article (Russian)

Read the English translation

Refuge for Journalists Under Threat

The ECPMF’s Journalists-in-Residence Programme offers media workers under threat a safe environment to rest, recover and continue their journalistic work. The deadline to apply is 12 May 2017.
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) is now accepting applications for the next residency cycle (July 2017-January 2018). Participants are provided with free accommodation in Leipzig, Germany and extensive support from the Centre.
On top of a monthly stipend of 1000 euros, the ECPMF covers the costs for travel, visa and private health insurance. In addition, the ECPMF offers its wide-ranging network of media freedom contacts and encourages Journalists in Residence to tap into it and make their voices heard.

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Valaam Billions – The Monastery’s Secret

On the Karelian island of Valaam rises the beautiful Patriarchal Men’s Monastery. But reality around it is not quite as beautiful.

The turnover of the business on the island is billions of rubles. The largest state-owned companies are doing business in this area, while the living conditions for local residents become worse. They are squeezed out of the island, of their houses and their jobs. And the main beneficiary of it all is one of the most famous institutions in religious Russia – the Valaam Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church. Gleb Yarovoy, journalist from the media outlet 7×7 in Petrozavodsk, has gathered information about business on the island.

Read the Russian original

The investigation was also published on Medusa, one of the most popular media in Russian

Read the English translation




The Local Pearl Turned Toxic Green

Lake Valdai is known as “the Pearl” of the Novgorod Province. It streches out with an island with a monastery in it. It is a popular holiday spot for families. But one day the water was a toxic green.

Local authorities took a look, confirmed that something was colouring the water and concluded that it was algae forming because of the hot weather. No analysis were made.

Local journalist A. Galaktionov suspected that there was more to the story and went sailing. Together with Alexander Ivanov, an employee of the Federal Agency for Water Resources Novgorod Sector who is also specialized in the particularities of environmental water, they collected  over 20 tanks of water from around the lake. Their analysis showed a different story.

The investigation was published on on September 30, 2016.

Read the Russian original

Read the English translation


No Peaceful Rest for the Dead in Vologda

When a family in Babaeyevsky, 300 km from Vologda, opened the coffin of a deceased family member, an unknown person was inside. “People change after death” was one of the explanations from the Health Department. But this person had then changed so much that a tattoo on his back had disappeared.

Another family experienced finding a man inside the coffin instead of the deceased mother. And many families have competing funeral service companies knocking at the door just minutes after the deceased person’s last breath. These companies are owned and operated after work hours by staff from the Forensics Bureau.

Marina Chernova took a closer look at the unruly situation for the dead in Vologda. Her story waspublished in three parts:

Read the original in Russian: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Read the English translation


The Broken Dream of a Neat Street

Walking nine streets of the city of Syktyvkar, the reporter Maksim Polyakov from the web media outlet 7×7, counted 14 450 missing or damaged stones in the pavement.

The paving is quite new. The work started in 2006. Most of the streets were covered in 2010 and 2011. One year later the stones started to break. The companies who made the work are in now bankruptcy or close to it. One source says the reason for the many broken stones could be the heavy machineries used when cleaning the snow. Another suggests the stones were laid before they were dry, and therefore are broken. But nobody knows. The city administration doesn’t have money to repair it all. Maksim Polyakov reports that some of the broken areas now are filled with cement.

The investigation was published at the website “7×7” in November 10, 2016.

Read the original investigation

Read the English translation



Big Interest for SCOOP in Vologda

17 journalists from the area of Vologda visited the first promotion seminar this year for applications to SCOOP Russia 2017.

– The audience was very active and interested. Especially those who already had made up their minds on what kind of topic they wanted to investigate, says Anna Sharogradskaya, director of Regional Press Institute in Saint Petersburg arranging the seminar.

Some of the journalists had not been selected when they applied the first time. The seminar encouraged them to make another application.

Other visitors had already once participated in the SCOOP Russia training. Now they wanted to make another investigation.

On the seminars more experienced investigative journalists encouraged less experienced colleagues to make their own investigations.

This time Tatiana Vorontsova from Saint Petersburg shared her experiences. She has made multiple investigations and also passed the special trainer program at Fojo Media Institute in Kalmar, Sweden.

The other presenters were Anna Sharogradskaya, RPI institute, and Marina Chernova, editor of the Vologda newspaper Premier, presenting her local investigation carried out last year.

According to Anna Sharogradskaya, the presenters had a clear mission besides the ambition to collect applications for SCOOP Russia 2017.

– The goal is to convince the audience that it is important to do investigative journalism, because so many topics are either ignored and uncovered, or intentionally banned as the authorities are not made accountable to the citizens who are also the media audience, Anna Sharogradskaya says.

One subject many attending journalists wanted to learn more about, was how to get access to information that someone try to hide from the citizens.

The promotion seminars are important parts of the information about SCOOP Russia. Last year SCOOP Russia attracted a record number of applications, when 61 journalists applied. First time grantees will recieve a week’s training at the Swedish Press Institute Fojo in Kalmar. It is also possible to apply again for journalists who already have been a part of the project another year.

SCOOP Russia is a peer-to-peer project run by the Danish and Swedish associations of Investigative Journalism FUJ and FGJ, in cooperation with International Media Support IMS in Copenhagen, RPI in Saint Petersburg and Fojo in Kalmar.

The program is open only for journalists in Northwest Russia. The application period close February 15. The application form is to find here.

Future promotions and information seminar will be held in Murmansk, Petrozavodsk and Pskov on the following dates:

  • Murmansk: February 5 11.00 – 16.00, Park Inn Hotel Murmansk, room Rotari. Contactperson Anna Kireeva
  • Petrozavodsk: February 7 16.00 – 19.00, Hotel Severnaya. Contact person Anna Yarovaya
  • Pskov: February 9 13.00 – 17.00, venue TBA. Contact person Aleksey Semenov