The Achilles Data investigative journalism course organized by the Bakala Foundation will be held for the seventh time this year. The new iteration is marked by an important change. Based on popular demand, the program was extended to the countries of the so-called Visegrad Four. In addition to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where the program has been taking place until now, the program extends to Poland and Hungary.
The course appeals to university students who study journalism or media studies and offers them a unique opportunity to dive into investigative journalism. As part of the program, students will receive an intensive training from top investigative journalists from the Czech Republic and abroad, and will then try out this discipline in practice while working on real investigative cases.
The goal of the program is to familiarize aspiring journalists with the basic tools, current trends and methods of investigative journalism, and to motivate them to engage in this important area of journalism.
Applications for the course are open from June 1 to October 1, 2023 on the Foundation's website
. Teams of three to five students from Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Polish universities or higher vocational schools can apply. The Foundation also aids students who do not have their own team by creating teams from individual applicants.
The first part of the program, a three-day training series, will take place in the Prague premises of the Bakala Foundation in November 2023. It will bring together participants from four countries to gain the necessary knowledge from experienced investigative journalists and professionals from various fields needed for investigation. In previous years, top journalists from international organizations such as OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project), ProPublica and Fundacja Reporterow, among others, have lectured here.
After returning to their countries, the teams will use the knowledge gained to work on their own investigative cases. A local experienced mentor will be ready for consultations and support of the team.
At the end of the course, the teams submit their work for evaluation by an expert jury. The participants will then present the results of their investigations at a festive final meeting, where they will receive feedback from the jury and, at the same time, the best project will be announced.
In last year's Achilles Data, students worked on topics such as the emergence of the South Bohemian mafia, suspicious practices in the public tenders of Slovak municipalities, or misconduct in the organization and financing of Erasmus+ projects.
The Achilles Data program is organized by the Bakala Foundation in cooperation with the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism and the Slovak Stop Corruption Foundation with the support of the US Embassy in the Czech Republic. Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak was also a graduate of the Achilles Data course. His legacy is continued by the Ján Kuciak Investigative Center, which is one of the partners of the project.
More information about the Achillova Data program: bakalafoundation.org/achillova-data