Journalism Mentorship Programme

The Ratiu Forum Journalism Mentorship Programme aims at facilitating expertise sharing between experienced journalists (mentors) and young Romanian journalists (mentees).  Romanian young journalists work under the guidance and coordination of experienced journalists for at least three months. The mentee with the best results will have the opportunity to attend an international journalism summer school, with the support of the Ratiu Forum. 

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

2023 programme

2022 programme

2022 winner

Sonia Teodoriu, Euronews Romania journalist, is the winner of the 2022 Journalism Mentorship Programme. She was selected for the podcast she produced within the programme, coordinated by  her mentor – Alex Nedea ( – and will attend the 2022 Reuters Journalist Fellowship Summer School, taking place from 27 June to 1 July. Listen to the podcast here (Romanian): 


Congratulations to all the 2022 mentees!

Andreea Chițu, BA student, Ovidius University (Constanța), Faculty of Letters, Journalism department

Adrian Anton, BA student, Ovidius University, Faculty of Letters, Journalism department

Vlad Iaviță, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) • MSc in European and International Public Policy

Andreea Smerea, MA Hebrew, University of Jerusalem, Rothberg International School, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Jerusalem, Israel; former Junior Communication Consultant within OMAVision

Alina Cristea, Contributing writer Cultura la Dubă

Andreea Coscai, Bennington College, Vermont Media, Communications, Chinese

Norbert Nemeș, MA student, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences Journalism and Political Communication

Roberta Vântu, Collaborator at “ObiectivSM” Online News

Irina Șerban, BA student, BBU Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Journalism

Teodorina Constantin, Contributing writer DOR (Decât o Revistă)

Andreea Scridon, PhD student BBU, Faculty of Letters


  • We are pleased to announce that 7 mentor-mentee working teams have been created for the 2022 Mentorship Programme. Thus, the professional journalists will work in individual sessions with the assigned young journalists and will also coordinate a series of webinars within the project, covering topics like:

    • Approaching the marginals in media – impact and ethical sides
    • How to write an investigative feature
    • How we can trace plagiarism?
    • Avoiding/fighting the fake news


  • Training/webinars (February – April 2022)
  • Offline workshop (May-June 2022) – two days of interactive panels and fieldwork
  • Mentors-mentees working teams –  one-on-one working sessions  


  • Romania ranked to 48out of 180 countries iWorld Press Freedom Index 2020 (dropping from 47 in 2019). “Despite many changes atthe highest level of government, respect for press freedom has not improved.The attitude towards journalism and free speech that prevails within the state and the political class continues to encourage censorship and self-censorship.The media’s funding mechanisms are opaque or even corrupt, and editorial policies are subordinated to owner interests”. More details, here.
    Launched in 2015 to promote investigative journalism and journalists, the Ion Ratiu Journalism Award is inspired by theexample of Ion Ratiu who fought forthe freedom of press. The fifth edition of the Award and the challenging national context highlight the necessity to further support the development of a national network of professional, committed, and independent journalists. 
    Benefiting of the important expertise of our mentors, Ion Ratiu Journalism Awardees and prominent Romanian journalists, the 14 selected mentees – young journalists interested in promoting democratic principles through their work – will have the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals and to improve their reporting skills. 


  • Develop and improve young journalists’ reporting skills through one-to-one activities
  • Empower young journalists and support them in developing independent funding skills – sharing national and international calls for applications, access to various learning resources, training sessions etc.
  • Support mentees to produce at least one meaningful story

Read the personal data note here (Romanian).

2022 mentors

Diana Oncioiu

Currently a reporter working for the alternative publication Dela0,  Diana Oncioiu is also a member of the Să Fie Lumină project, initiated by and the Center 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, social exclusion – and is the author of a series of in depth reportages covering topic like: the social reintegration of former inmates, life in the undergrounds of the Bucharest neighbourhood Ferentari, human trafficking and the trialing of sexual crimes with child victims. Diana Oncioiu is the 2020 recipient of the Ion Ratiu Journalism Award.

Paul Radu

Paul Radu (@IDashboard) is a co-founder and co-executive director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a co-creator of the Investigative Dashboard concept, of Visual investigative Scenarios visualization software and a co-founder of RISE Project, a platform for investigative reporters and hackers in Romania. He has held a number of fellowships, including the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship in 2001, the Milena Jesenska Press Fellowship in 2002, the Rosalyn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in 2007, the 2008 Knight International Journalism fellowship with the International Center for Journalists as well as a 2009-2010 Stanford Knight Journalism Fellowship.He is the recipient of numerous awards including in 2004, the Knight International Journalism Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, in 2007, the Global Shining Light Award, the Tom Renner Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, 2015 European Press Prize, the 2020 Sigma Data Journalism Award and 2020 Eppy Awards. Paul is an Ashoka Global fellow and a board member with the Global Investigative Journalism Network and other organizations.

Alex Nedea

Alex Nedea (recipient of the 2019 Ion Ratiu Journalism Award) started his career in 2004 in the Education department of the daily newspaper Adevărul. He then joined the Reportage team of Jurnalul Național. He was also a member of the Investigation departments of both these newspapers, as well as of the “În premieră” TV show (Antena 3) team. In March 2008 he joined Realitatea TV as an investigative journalist. Alex Nedea is the winner of the Prize for Investigative Journalism (2011), awarded by the Romanian Press Club, of the European Reporter Prize, offered by the European Commission, and also of the 2014 Silver World Medal, awarded by the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards. He is also recipient of 2016, 2017 and 2021 awards of the Superscrieri Gala and of the 2018 Bronze World Medal of the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards. In January 2019 he joined the team.

Alison Mutler

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 revolt. 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 1st of November 2021, Alison is the director of

Emilia Şercan

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). In national media, she worked for Curierul Naţional and Evenimentul Zilei newspapers, and also for the Realitatea-Cațavencu media trust. As of 2015, her investigations can be read on PressOne. She has signed over 4.000 investigations, interviews and columns on various topics of public interest in Romania (Mătuşa Tamara, Afacerile din energie ale “băieţilor deştepţi”, Afacerile de după FNI ale lui SOV, Averea lui Dan Ioan Popescu, Dosarul Bancorex, Ziarişti – foşti informatori ai Securităţii, Afacerile lui Puiu Popoviciu). In the last five years she covered extensively the topic of plagiarism in doctoral theses, publishing investigations about the works of several Romanian politicians or public figures. In 2013 she obtained her PhD in Communication Sciences with the distinction “excellent”, publishing her doctoral thesis – Cultul secretuluiMecanismele cenzurii în presa comunistă (Polirom). In 2017 she published another book – Fabrica de doctorate: Sau cum se surpă fundamentele unei nații (Humanitas). Emilia Șercan won several scholarships, both as a teacher and as a journalist. She was thus a US State Department Fellow at Ohio University (2016), a scholarship holder at Standhal University Grenoble 3 (2012 – 2013) and at Freedom House Scholarship in the USA (2004). Over the years, he 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 ), Professor of the Year – ANOSR (2017), “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).

Ovidiu Vanghele

Ovidiu Vanghele

Ovidiu Vanghele started his career in 2002 when, at the end of his first university year, was hired by Mediafax news agency. During his ten years in the agency, he gradually became interested in more detailed subjects, closer to investigative journalism. In 2012 he joined the Pro TV news team, but also contributed to the network’s premium show “România, te iubesc!”. In 2013 he left mainstream media to set up the Center for Investigative Media (CIM), an NGO he heads ever since. He published several press investigations tracing millions of Euro spent pointlessly, illegally or simply stolen. His best known investigations focused on the abuses from mental health centers, on the Romanian Academy monetary frauds, on the National Railway Company’s contracts or the acquisitions made by the leaders of what was known as “Republica Constanța”. Most of these also became judiciary investigations. He has spent almost the entire 2016 documenting, together with Ana Poenariu (RISE Project), the series “Toți oamenii generalului”, an investigative saga on the personal and financial development of Gabriel Oprea, one of the biggest paradoxes of Romanian politics. Aside from investigative journalism, Ovidiu formed and headed the editorial team of EurActiv Romania, but also collaborated with Factual (a Funky Citizens fact-checking initiative) or sometime in 2020. Ovidiu has been teaching investigative journalism at the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences – University of Bucharest since 2016. At the same time, since 2017, he coordinates the Let There Be Light Project (Să Fie Lumină)  together with Vlad Stoicescu. With his partners in this project, Ovidiu published the first ever investigative report sending an Orthodox bishop in court for sexual assault on seminar boys. Starting 2021, Ovidiu and his longtime partner Vlad Stoicescu have a new joint project: “The Latest Inquest” (Judecata de Acum), a weekly live video podcast where they unveil and debate important Romanian current affairs.

victor ilie

Victor Ilie graduated from the Iași Faculty of Journalism (2012) and reported for Opinia Veche (former Opinia Studențească), Jurnalul Național, Casa Jurnalistului, RISE Project and Inclusive. He joined the team in September 2020. Victor is the recipient of the 2021 Ion Ratiu Journalism Award.

2021 programme

  • 7 mentor-mentee teams have been created and their members started working together in March 201
  • our mentors have coordinated a series of Zoom workshops that were open to the young journalists (mentees) 
Diana Oncioiu: Approaching ‘marginals’ in media – impact and ethical sides
Emilia Șercan: How we can trace plagiarism?
Alex Nedea: How do we avoid running out of scoops?
Alison Mutler: Avoiding/fighting the fake news
Kit Gillet: How to pitch editors at international publications
Paul Radu: Alternative investigation techniques in journalism
Ovidiu Vanghele: Extended group discussion 

Programme Partner