How to improve your qualification as business journalists?

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By Michelle Tribon
16953213747_dc471dc9b2_zIf you would like to do an investigation as a journalist, you should follow the money. Too often this trace is complicated and tangled, it leads to offshore accounts, related parties, sophisticated schemes. This is only one of the aspects of business journalism that requires in-depth analysis of economy and understanding of financial data. If you would like to improve your skills in business journalism, here are some opportunities that are going to be useful:

Programmes for Southeastern Europe:

Wincott Fellowships for business/economic journalists from Eastern Europe
The Wincott Foundation is sponsoring a fellowship for business journalists from Eastern Europe. With the Wincott Fellowship, each year two journalists have the possibility to spend three months with a full scholarship in Oxford at the Institute for the Study of Journalism. During that time, they attend seminars and lectures offered by the institute. In addition to that, fellows should use the time to research a topic of their choice related business and economic development, resulting in a paper at the end of the stay. They will be supported by an Oxford academic advisor.
Candidates need to have a minimum of five years’ experience in journalism and provide evidence that they are able to work in English. For applying, they candidates need to hand in the proposal for the research topic and two letters of recommendation. The organizers explicitly encourage journalists working in new or alternative media (also websites) to apply for the fellowship. More information on the deadline and how to apply can be found here.
Economic and Political Reporting from Southeast Europe (Robert Bosch Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Very suitable for financial journalists from Bulgaria is a programme called “Economic and Political Reporting from Southeast Europe”, organized by Robert Bosch Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation. The organizers invite up to 16 journalists from Europe’s Southeastern region to participate in a four-week training. In this time, participants have the possibility to learn on who to best report on political and economical developments in their home-countries.
The workshop will be split in two: The first part of the training usually takes place in London, UK during spring. For this time a visit to Brussels, the heart of European politics, is scheduled as well. The second part of the training will take part in Germany. Participants will mainly stay in Berlin, but will also visit Frankfurt/Main, the German financial capital. The complete workshop is run by Thomson Reuters journalists.
The programme is online suitable for full-time professional journalists who are fluent in English. Applicants need to have an experience of minimum two years with a strong focus on economics and finance. To apply, journalists must hand in a short biography, two examples of recently published works (with a summary in English in case this has not been the working language), a story on the state of the applicant’s national economy and a letter of motivation including the applicant’s working conditions as a journalists and how the workshop could help with improving this work. More information on the programme, application and deadlines (usually February) can be found here and here

Internship programmes

Majorie Deane Fellowship
The Majorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation offers internships at the best financial newspapers to give aspiring journalists a chance to learn how to write on economics and finance. Young journalists can either apply for a paid internship at The Economist or the Financial Times, both based in London. The intern at the Economist has the possibility to work there for three months. At the Financial Times, interns can get a hands-on experience in writing on economics for six months. Journalists suitable for the internships need to be fluent in English. To apply, one has to hand in a suitable article and a CV. Applications go directly to the newspapers, deadlines are yearly in the summer and can be found here.
Nico Colchester Fellowship for Young European Journalists
The Nico Colchester Foundation offers three-months internships at The Economist in London to young journalists from the European Union. The successful applicant will receive a stipend of GBP 6,000 to cover travel and accommodation costs. More information can be found here.

Study Programmes

Post-graudate Scholarship in Business and Economics Journalism at the Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC)
Wincott foundation also offers a scholarship to young journalists from the European Union to spend one year at one of the leading journalism schools. The scholarship winner will be paid the tution fees for one year. In addition, the successful applicant will profit from specialist modules and projects on business reporting. More information can be found here. To apply or get in touch with the organizers, contact Richard Sambrook at JOMEC (sambrookrj@cardiff.ac.uk).
The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism
The Knight-Bagehot Fellowships is one of the most important fellowships in economic journalism worldwide. It yearly offers ten experienced business journalists the possibility to study in a one-year programme at Columbia University, New York. There, the journalists do not only have the possibility to enhance their journalistic skills, but mainly take part in courses on business, law and international affairs to improve their understanding of the financial market. The fellowship is also a possibility to establish contact with important business professionals as the programme includes field trips to financial institutions and off-the-record meetings.
The fellowship includes the tuition fee and a stipend to offset living expenses in New York City. Applicants need to be full-time journalists (also freelancers) with a minimum of four years’ experience, but not necessarily in the field of business journalism. Candidates have to prove their ability to work in English. A fee of USD 100 is required to apply. Application are usually accepted from November to March.
Nieman Fellow in Business Journalism
The Nieman Fellowship at Harvard belongs to the best fellowship opportunities for journalists. In cooperation with the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, they offer one place exclusively to business journalists. Successful candidates have the possibility to study at Harvard for 9 months, take part in workshops, talks and writing courses. They will work together with an international group of other fellows. At the same time, they are supposed to realise a journalistic project. During the time at Harvard, a monthly stipend, housing on the campus and health insurance is provided. Participants even have the possibility to bring their family with them. Applicants need to have a minimum of five years of working experience and be fluent in English. To apply, they need to submit their study proposal which they would be realizing at Harvard. More information can be found here.

Research grants

Wincott Foundation research grants
The Wincott Foundation also supports business and financial journalists with research grants. As long as they deal with economics, topics can be chosen freely. However, the aim of the grant is to support business journalism which is understandable and accessible to everyone, not to specialists only, to stress the importance of this topic for mankind. Applicants should contact the foundation’s secretary: secretary@wincott.co.uk
McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism
The McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism has the aim to support experienced journalists financially to give the the opportunity to do in-depth research on a business story. Nowadays, time and money for investigative journalism is short, so the fellowship allows journalists to work on long-term pieces that they cannot carry out during their regular working routine.
Fellow are awarde a grant of USD 5,000 for up to three months. Journalists will be supervised by the Harold W McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism, which is a part of the City University of News York Graduate School of Journalism.
Applicants need to have a minimum of five years experience in journalism with a strong focus on business topics. To apply, journalists need to hand in a research proposal, stating why the story is is significant and how it will be tackled. The grants are awarded twice a year, in spring and in fall. The next deadline is November 13, 2015.

Helpful Material

Covering the crisis, an e-book provided by the EJC European Journalism Centre, focussing on how a financial crisis is covered by the media. Even though the crisis has changed a lot since 2009, still the book gives interesting insights into the relation between the finance market and journalism, talking about credibility and also responsibilities of the media book covering the crisis.
“Kritischer Wirtschaftsjournalismus” (critical business journalism) is an e-book in German provided by Netzwerk Recherche, a network of German journalists willing to foster high quality investigative journalism. The handbook provides analyses of the financial markets, working mechanisms of the business world and tricks on how to best investigate and cover economic issues in the media.
The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism offers lots of material for business journalists who want to train themselves. Apart from regular free webinars, the center offers a range of e-books for free download, covering for example journalism on real estate, insurance or investment and banking. However with a US-American twist, many of the tips can still be useful for journalists covering business and financial matters in Europe.
They also offer a series of podcasts where various journalists talk about how to cover different issues related to finance in the media. The podcasts can be downloaded here.