NUNS award for story from NetNovinar Training Center program
The first NUNS award for exceptional success achieved in investigative journalism in the category of print media for journalists under the age of 35 was given to Đorđe Padejski for a series of articles on the hunt for protected bird species in Vojvodina, made as a result of the educational program “Investigative Journalism and Organized Crime” implemented by the NetNovinar Training Center. The awards were given on International Press Freedom Day, May 3.In the category of experienced journalists, the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS) gave two awards; in the category of young journalists under the age of 35, it awarded six awards in three sub-categories: television, radio and press.Đorđe Padejski’s series of articles on the hunt for protected bird species in Vojvodina was published in the paper Zrenjanin in September and October 2005.During the award ceremony, he asked to speak just to emphasize that the investigative story for which he was recognized was made as a result of the educational program “Investigative Journalism and Organized Crime” implemented by the NetNovinar Training Center at Media Centar Sarajevo.- I had investigated this issue and published articles about it even before attending the program, but there had been practically no interest or echo, although, as a result of work on the issue, three men involved in these illegal activities had gone to prison.Only when I started working on it in the framework of the program “Investigative Journalism and Organized Crime” at Sarajevo’s Mediacentar and thus covered it in a systematically and methodologically correct way, I realized that investigative journalism was actually complex and hard work. When I finished the story within the program and started publishing it in six parts in the paper Zrenjanin, I started getting important feedback first and then – look – I received the NUNS award for investigative journalism – said Padejski, sending a message to his mentors in Sarajevo that for the next cycle of the Investigative Journalism Program he would send as many of his colleagues as possible from his hometown of Zrenjanin.In its citation, the jury stated that Đorđe Padejski “deeply and thoroughly did a series of six parts on organized criminal smuggling of rare birds from Vojvodina. The series is a model of quality and long-term investigative work and reveals the unimagined proportions of yet another criminal business that has not attracted much public attention.”The NUNS award winners were decided by a jury of former NUNS presidents: Gordana Logar, Miloš Vasić, Gordana Suša and Milica Lučić - Čavić. An honorary jury member was Susan Elbow, adviser on media and culture at the US Embassy in Belgrade. The awards were given with donor assistance of the US Embassy in Belgrade.The award ceremony at Belgrade’s Media Center was attended by the US Ambassador to Belgrade Michael Polt.The educational program “Investigative Journalism and Organized Crime,” in whose framework Đorđe Padejski’s awarded story was written, is implemented with donor assistance of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Open Society Fund B-H, and UNESCO.An invitation is open for applications for a new generation of the program from September 2006 to January 2007. The five-month program does not interfere with participants’ regular work because it combines distance learning with two “live” workshops (nine days in total) at Mediacentar Sarajevo.– Center for Investigative Reporting and Media Education is a project implemented by Mediacentar Sarajevo and Investigative Journalism Center from Zagreb.