The Mentorship Programme aims to stimulate skills development among early-career journalists through strategic sessions, to introduce them to cutting-edge topics and to support them in producing journalistic content on issues of particular relevance to the region.


January – July 2024


The Ratiu Forum, a partnership between LSE IDEAS (London School of Economics) and the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation are pleased to announce the 2024 Journalism Mentorship Programme. 
The programme is open to ambitious, early-career young journalists from Romania and Moldova who wish to advance their professional skills and understanding of the Central and East European region. One of the selected mentees will also be selected to attend the 2024 News Associates Summer School in London, UK. 
The project activities will run between January and July 2024. They will include online sessions, as well as one in-person workshop, which will take place at Ratiu Conference Centre in Turda, Romania. 
The participants will be able to learn from seasoned journalists working for the Financial Times, BBC, New Eastern Europe Magazine, and the Associated Press, and from a range of prominent experts on cutting-edge topics relevant to the CEE region.

Covered topics

  • Skills – pitching, writing, and investigating
  • Conflict coverage – the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Gaza conflict
  • Propaganda and disinformation
  • Tackling corruption
  • Gender politics

Activities and benefits

  • Mentees will be invited to attend the in-person Ratiu Forum Journalism Master Class run by John Lloyd of the Financial Times
  • Online one-on-one mentoring sessions with highly accomplished regional and international journalists
  • Webinars focusing on skills development – e.g. identifying topics (scoops), researching, investigating, and pitching – and current-affairs issues
  • Participants will receive a certificate upon completing the programme
  • Selected work produced within the programme will be published on the Ratiu Forum blog


We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2024 Journalism Mentorship Programme is Ingrid Ștefan, who was mentored by Emilia Șercan. Ingrid documented the lives of Romani beggars in the Netherlands in the article she submitted to the competition. The article link will be available soon.
Ingrid, from Iași, Romania, is a third-year Media Studies student at the University of Groningen, aspiring to become a journalist. She works at UKrant, the university newspaper, and dreams of living off of writing people’s stories. Her main interests include narrative and investigative journalism.

The application call is now closed. Selected participants will be informed soon. 
The project is addressed to early career journalists from Romania and Moldova  – journalism students or young professionals with up to three years of journalism experience. Candidates must have a working knowledge of English.
Interested candidates are requested to submit the following information to in English: a motivation letter, a resume (not exceeding two pages), a short pitch for an article or podcast to be completed as part of the Programme with the guidance of their mentor on any topic of their choice, and a writing sample.

Please read here the information note on the processing of personal data for participants.
Please fill out and send us also the GDPR form available here.

The following criteria will be considered when assessing applications:
  • Proven knowledge of and interest in current affairs, particularly about the CEE region
  • Ambition to grow and improve as journalists
  • Commitment to engaging fully in the Mentorship Programme and to making the most of the knowledge and expertise on offer

October-January 2023 – application call

January 2024 – candidates selection and final results 

February 2024 – kickoff meeting (online)

February 9th-11th 2024 – attending the Ratiu Forum Journalism Master Class (Turda, Romania)

February-June 2024 – individual mentors-mentees sessions

February-May 2024 – webinar series

June 2024 – article submission and feedback

July 2024 – wrap-up weekend and programme results (selected winner)

Alison Mutler studied Romanian literature and language at the University of London and graduated in 1987. She first reported from Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova before communism ended and was in Romania working for British television station ITV during the 1989 anti-communist revolution. She moved to Romania in 1991 and joined the Associated Press which she left last year after 25 years. She has been president of the now-defunct Foreign Press Association. She occasionally freelances for Coda Story and Radio Free Europe among others. Starting with the 1st of November 2021, Alison is the director of

Emilia Șercan is an investigative journalist with 24 years of professional experience. She is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences (University of Bucharest). She has worked for national media platforms like the Curierul Naţional and Evenimentul Zilei newspapers and for the Realitatea-Cațavencu media trust. As of 2015, her investigations can be read on PressOne. She has authored over 4,000 investigations, interviews and columns, more recently on the topic of plagiarism in doctoral theses. Emilia Șercan has won several scholarships, among which a US State Department Fellowship at Ohio University (2016), a scholarship at Stendhal University Grenoble (2012-2013) and a Freedom House Scholarship in the USA (2004). Over the years, she has won several professional and academic awards: Journalist of the Year – SuperScrieri Awards (2016), Freedom of Expression Award – Active Watch (2016), Ion Ratiu Journalism Award (2016), “Nicolae Iorga” Award of the Romanian Society of Historical Sciences, European Network for Academic Integrity Award (2019) and the Award the Group for Social Dialogue – GDS (2020).

Luiza Vasiliu, 38 yo, Romania, studied literature and became a journalist by contagion. In 2016 she co-founded Scena9, a platform for the young generation of artists and thinkers. In the meantime, she discovered the thrill of investigative journalism. She published a series about one of the most famous Romanian doctors, who performed unauthorized experimental procedures which killed children or left them crippled. This investigation was a finalist for the European Science Writer of The Year Award. She interviewed John Oliver, Tom Hardy, Charlie Brooker et al. She wrote about astrophysicists studying micro black holes, a teacher chastised for showing her students a movie about Verlaine and Rimbaud, a communism dissident setting Stalin’s statue on fire. In 2023 she exposed together with Victor Ilie the ties between infamous influencers Andrew and Tristan Tate and Romanian organized crime.

Ovidiu Vanghele started his career in 2002 working for the Mediafax news agency before joining the Pro TV news team in 2012. In 2013 he set up the Centre for Investigative Media (CIM), an NGO he has headed ever since. His best known investigative pieces focused on abuses in mental health facilities and on the state’s monetary frauds. He spent 2016 working together with Ana Poenariu (RISE Project) on the series “Toți oamenii generalului” (“All the General’s Men”), an investigative saga on Gabriel Oprea. Ovidiu Vanghele has also set up and headed the editorial team of EurActiv Romania and collaborated with Factual (a Funky Citizens fact-checking initiative) and Since 2017 he has coordinated the Let There Be Light Project (Să Fie Lumină) together with Vlad Stoicescu, with whom he now runs “The Latest Inquest”, a weekly video podcast on Romanian current affairs. He has been teaching investigative journalism at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences – University of Bucharest. 

Diana Oncioiu, currently a reporter working for the alternative publication Dela0, is also a member of the Să Fie Lumină project, initiated by and the Centre for Media Investigations. She has a background in broadcasting, having worked for five years for Realitatea TV and Digi24. She covers mainly social topics – domestic violence, education, social assistance, extreme poverty, and social exclusion – and is the author of a series of in-depth reportages covering topics like the social reintegration of former inmates, life in the undergrounds of the Bucharest neighbourhood Ferentari, human trafficking and the prosecution of sexual crimes against child victims. Diana Oncioiu is the 2020 recipient of the Ion Ratiu Journalism Award.

Dan Perry joined the Associated Press in 1990 where he led various bureaus including the Caribbean, Europe and Africa ones while based in London. He has most recently been leading the Middle East bureau from Cairo. During the years of the Second Palestinian Uprising, he was chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem. Since leaving the Associated Press in 2018, Perry has acted as a counsellor for Thunder11 and has also served as chief business development and strategy officer for the advertising platform Engageya. The author of two books about Israel, Perry has written on politics and society for publications including the New York Daily News, the Cairo Review of Foreign Affairs, and the Times of Israel.

Adam Reichardt is the Editor-in-Chief of New Eastern Europe. Prior to assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief, Adam served as the Managing Editor of New Eastern Europe. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Central European Journal of International and Strategic Studies (CEJISS) and a member of the executive team of the Three Ukrainian Revolutions project run by the College of Europe, Natolin campus in Warsaw. He previously spent eight years in public policy in Washington DC. Adam has an MA in Public Administration in Public and Non-profit Management from the George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia USA, and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. In 2012, he was short-listed for the European Press Prize in the category of “Editing” for his work on New Eastern Europe and in 2014 he was named to the “New Europe 100” list of the region’s top innovators.

Nick Thorpe is a writer, filmmaker and award-winning BBC journalist, specialising in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, born in England in 1960. He studied Modern Languages at the Universities of Reading (UK), Dakar (Senegal) and Freiburg (Germany), graduating in 1982. He has lived in Budapest since 1986 and is married with 5 sons. He reported on the fall of Communism throughout Eastern Europe and the break-up of Yugoslavia for the BBC, Independent, Observer, and Guardian newspapers, including the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. He has been a Central Europe Correspondent for the BBC since 1996. With BBC colleagues, he won a Peabody award for his coverage of the Refugee crisis in 2015, and a Lovie award for best internet reporting in 2018.

Adam Brown


The Ratiu Forum 2022-2023 Annual Review is now available. Click here to read: