The rise of the Internet and smart phones has disrupted how people consume news and how journalism is funded. Yet the digital revolution also continues to hold promise for the news media in general and for investigative reporting in particular. The explosion of podcasts in recent years is but one example.
In many ways, it is the best of times and worst of times for investigative journalism. Big, cross-border investigations like the Paradise and Panama Papers, both uncovering a network of secret offshore companies to hide money, proved that public interest journalism and international collaboration – hundreds of investigative journalists joined forces to work on each project – can generate a global impact and a chain of reactions to stem tax evasion.
In Bulgaria and the region, where press freedom – one of the core principles of every democratic society – is under threat, investigative stories are much needed to expose wrongdoing and tell the truth.
In the era of fast news, widespread disinformation, and political leaders from across the globe engaging in anti-journalistic rhetoric, we need watchdog journalism more than ever. While investigative reporting is a costly endeavor and takes time to produce, it is still central to hold governments accountable and to inform but also empower citizens. Technology innovation and new formats such as podcasts can aid reporters’ efforts to find readers, listeners, and viewers where they are.

WHERE

Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia

Livestreaming via Zoom

WHEN

24-25 September 2021

Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia

Agenda

Friday, September 24

 

9:30 – 10:00 Opening Remarks
Welcome by Nancy Schiller, President and CEO of the America for Bulgaria Foundation
Welcome by David McDonald, Executive Director of the World Press Institute
Welcome by Irina Nedeva, Chair of the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria

10:00 – 11:00 Report from the Digital Trenches: What I Learned from Politico
John Harris, Cofounder of Politico

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15 Economic Sustainability: New Business Models and Alternative Revenue Streams for Journalism
Michael Montgomery (moderator), Senior Reporter/Producer from the Center for Investigative Reporting
Paul Steiger, Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica
Camilla Bath, Journalist, Editor and Media Consultant
Galya Prokopieva, Journalist and Managing Director at Economedia

12:15 – 13:15 Lunch

13:15 – 14:30 How Podcasts are Transforming Journalism: The Story of the Bulgarian Crypto-Queen and Podcasting as a Revenue Stream

Michael Montgomery (moderator), Senior Reporter/Producer from the Center for Investigative Reporting
Jamie Bartlett, Author and Journalist, Presenter and co-writer of BBC podcast series The Missing Cryptoqueen
Nickolay Stoyanov, Investigative Journalist at Capital Weekly
Camilla Bath, Journalist, Editor and Media Consultant

14:30 – 15:30 Journalists and Journalism Under Threat

Joanna Krawczyk (moderator), Head of Partnerships at Gazeta Wyborcza
Pavol Szalai, Head of EU/Balkans Desk at Reporters Without Borders
Anna Babinets, Editor-in-Chief and Cofounder of Slidstvo.Info, an independent investigative journalism agency
Alexander Kashumov, Attorney at law, Head of the legal team at Access to Information Programme Foundation

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 – 16:30 New Journalistic Platforms and Ways to Reach an Audience

John Harris (moderator), Cofounder of Politico
Camilla Bath, Journalist, Editor and Media Consultant
Paul Steiger, Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica
Britta von der Heide, Head of Investigations Department at NDR, the German public broadcaster

Saturday, September 25

 

9:30 – 10:30 Disinformation and Politicizing the Pandemic
Michael Montgomery (moderator), Senior Reporter/Producer from the Center for Investigative Reporting
Joanna Krawczyk, Head of Partnerships at Gazeta Wyborcza
Boryana Dzhambazova, Journalist and Board Member of the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria
Anna Babinets, Editor-in-Chief and Cofounder of Slidstvo.Info, an independent investigative journalism agency

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:15 Charting the Future of Independent Media in Bulgaria
Stoyana Georgieva (moderator), Editor-in-Chief of Mediapool.bg
Parvan Simeonov, Executive Director of Gallup International Balkan
Spas Spasov, Founder of ProVeritas, a platform for independent regional journalism
Venelin Petkov, Independent Journalist
Vesislava Antonova, Editor-in-Chief of Manager Magazine

 

Please note: Аll events are listed in Eastern European Summer Time. When you register via Zoom, the time for each day will automatically adjust based on where you are located.

Speakers

Vesislava Antonova
Vesislava Antonova

Editor-in-Chief @ Manager Magazine

Vesislava Antonova is an experienced journalist, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her journalistic career started as a radio reporter at the Bulgarian National Radio. She worked for around 15 years for Capital Weekly. Since July 2021 she is the editor-in-chief of Manager, a monthly business magazine. She is a member of the National Council for Journalistic Ethics in Bulgaria.

Anna Babinets
Anna Babinets

Editor-in-Chief @ Slidstvo.Info

Anna Babinets is the Editor-in-Chief of Slidstvo.Info, an investigative journalism agency, based in Kyiv, Ukraine. The agency specializes in investigating corruption and organized crime in Ukraine. She is also regional editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an investigative network.

Jamie Bartlett
Jamie Bartlett

Journalist & Writer

Jamie Bartlett is a British journalist and writer. He is a regular commentator on national and international media outlets, and a regular writer on technology for The Spectator. His main topics are cyber security and privacy online, new political movements, social media research and analysis, and internet cultures. In 2019, he wrote and presented the hit BBC podcast series The Missing Cryptoqueen, which exposed the biggest ever cryptocurrency scam.

Camilla Bath
Camilla Bath

Journalist, Editor & Media trainer

Camilla Bath is a journalist, editor and media trainer, based in South Africa. As a freelancer and entrepreneur, she is exploring new forms of storytelling in journalism and the media space, with a special interest in podcasting. She helped bring to life several of South Africa’s most recognised news podcasts, including “Poisonous Bullets: The Silent Betrayal of Sindiso Magaqa” and “Through the Cracks: The Untold Story of Mbuyisa Makhubu”.

Boryana Dzhambazova
Boryana Dzhambazova

Freelance Journalist

Boryana Dzhambazova is a freelance journalist, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has been reporting on a wide range of topics – from economic and political developments to social affairs and human rights issues. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, and Politico Europe, among others.

Stoyana Georgieva
Stoyana Georgieva

Editor-in-Chief @ Mediapool.bg

Stoyana Georgieva is a journalist and editor-in-chief of news site Mediapool.bg. Since she founded the platform in 2000, the first online news media outlet in Bulgaria, she has strived to build an independent and quality publication. Georgieva has participated in various civic projects and initiatives as well as in the jury of a number of journalistic competitions.

John Harris
John Harris

Cofounder @ Politico

John Harris is the founding editor of POLITICO, one of thе most visited news American sites and has drawn widespread attention nationally and internationally for its efforts to create a new editorial and business model to sustain robust journalism in an era of radical change for the media industry. Harris brought two decades of experience from The Washington Post to POLITICO to create a focused editorial vision of politics and policy.

Britta von der Heide
Britta von der Heide

Head of Investigations Department @ NDR

Britta von der Heide is the head of the Investigations Department at NDR, the large German public broadcaster in Hamburg. The Department is responsible for investigative stories of NDR that appear on television, radio and online. From 2014 to 2019, Britta was a filmmaker, editor and deputy head of the Investigation Department for the cooperation of NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung”, where she was involved in investigative projects including the Panama Papers and the Implant Files. She has been responsible for various reports and documentaries including the first television interview in Germany of an ISIS returnee and a report on a major child abuse scandal in Germany. Britta and her team have just won the German Audio Book Award in the Podcast category for “Leonora – How a father lost his daughter to ISIS”.

Alexander Kashumov
Alexander Kashumov

Human Rights Lawyer

Alexander Kashumov is a human rights lawyer. He has worked in the field of access to information, freedom of expression, privacy, and personal data protection since 1997. He is head of the legal team of the Access to Information Programme Foundation in Bulgaria. In the past two decades, he has litigated hundreds of cases before national and international tribunals including the European Court of Human Rights. He is also author and co-author of five books, chapters in books, many analyses, articles, and handbooks.

Joanna Krawczyk
Joanna Krawczyk

Head of Partnerships @ Gazeta Wyborcza

Joanna Krawczyk is the head of partnerships and media projects at Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Poland’s leading newspapers. She is also the chair of the Leading European Newspaper Alliance, one of the largest media networks in Europe. Krawczyk has extensive experience in project management in the media and civil society sectors.

Michael Montgomery
Michael Montgomery

Senior Reporter and Producer @ Reveal

Michael Montgomery is an award-winning reporter and broadcast producer for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. A veteran of radio/podcasts, television and newspapers, Montgomery has led major collaborations with the Associated Press, NPR, BBC, APM and Frontline and is a longtime member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. His stories on human rights abuses in Kosovo led to the creation of a new war crimes court based in The Hague. Montgomery’s journalism honors include Peabody, duPont, Murrow, IRE, Third Coast and Oversees Press Club awards.

Venelin Petkov
Venelin Petkov

Journalist

Venelin Petkov is a Bulgarian journalist. He has spent most of his journalistic career at bTV, where he began working as a reporter and newscaster shortly after the network was launched in 2000 and was the director of the News, Current Affairs, and Sports Department until 2020. He is also a documentary maker and producer. He is the only Bulgarian journalist to receive the prestigious US Peabody Award for excellence in television, radio, and online media.

Galya Prokopieva
Galya Prokopieva

Journalist and Managing Director @ Economedia

Galya Prokopieva is a journalist and the Managing Director of Economedia, one of the main media groups in Bulgaria. She started her journalism career in 1993, when she joined the founding team of Capital Weekly, a leading Bulgarian newspaper, while still a university student. Since then, she has held various leadership roles at Economedia. Prokopieva has a degree in finance from the Bulgarian University of National and World Economy and holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD, France.

Parvan Simeonov
Parvan Simeonov

Parvan Simeonov is a researcher, publicist, civic activist, and author of books on empirical research. Simeonov teaches political campaigning and research methods at Sofia University. He is a member of the Pool of European Youth Researchers, CEO of Gallup International Balkan, and a research partner at Ivan Hadzhiyski Institute of Sociology.

Spas Spasov
Spas Spasov

Founder @ ProVeritas

Spas Spasov is a Varna-based correspondent for Capital Weekly and Dnevnik.bg. His decades-long career includes reporting for various print and broadcast media. In 1995, he developed the program concept for the first FM news radio station in Bulgaria, which broadcasts news updates every twenty minutes. He completed the Internet Media course of the Centre de formation et perfectionnement des journalistes in Paris, France. He also interned at Radio France Internationale and France info and completed exchange programs in the United States and the Netherlands. He has a master’s degree from the University of Veliko Tarnovo.

Paul Steiger
Paul Steiger

Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Pro Publica

Paul E. Steiger was the founding editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica from 2008 through 2012 and part-time executive chairman from 2013 through 2020. Steiger served as the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2007. During his tenure, members of the Journal’s newsroom staff were awarded 16 Pulitzer Prizes. In addition, ProPublica reporters received Pulitzer Prizes in May 2010 and 2011.

Nickolay Stoyanov
Nickolay Stoyanov

Investigative Journalist @ Capital Weekly

Nickolay Stoyanov is an investigative journalist and finance editor at Capital Weekly, where he has worked since 2006. Some of his most prominent investigations include a series of stories documenting the demise of Corporate Commercial Bank, which went bankrupt in 2014. His investigation into the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam has been widely recognized and often quoted in international media. He has a degree in international business from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia.

Pavol Szalai
Pavol Szalai

Head of EU/Balkans Desk @ RSF

Pavol Szalai is the head of the European Union/Balkans Desk at Reporters Without Borders, RSF. Prior to joining RSF in Paris, Pavol had eight years of experience as an editor and journalist. Between 2016 and 2020, he worked as editor for energy and environment in the pan-European media network EURACTIV, contributing from its Slovak newsroom. While based in Paris, he was the energy correspondent for the magazine Europolitics (today Contexte) in 2014. In 2008–2010, he covered European affairs in Slovakia’s major daily SME.

Organizers

Organized by

WPI

Supported by

America for Bulgaria
AEJ

Location

Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia

Contacts:

 

Ivan Radev, AEJ-Bulgaria

+359889388619

[email protected]