In order to respond to the specific current needs in journalist training and to foster professional conversation among media professionals in the Baltic countries, several leading Baltic media organisations and academic institutions came together to found the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence (BCME). The Centre was officially launched at the founding meeting in Tallinn on November 2015, attended by the founding members as well as a group of international stakeholders. The seat of the centre are in Riga, but its operations cover the entire region, delivering tailor-made training modules to newsrooms of nationwide and local media outlets in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and also the countries of the Eastern Partnership.
“The diversity and calibre of founding members testifies to the need for more targeted training and desire to have a focused, ongoing professional dialogue,” says Rita Ruduša, author of the BCME Concept Note and Executive Director of the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence. The overarching objective of establishing the Centre is strengthening the independent public interest-based media and enabling them to address linguistically and technologically diverse audiences. Unlike other training institutions, the BCME would be demand-driven, rather than supply-driven, and respond to concrete needs in the region.
The founding members of the BCME are the public broadcasters ERR and LTV, the Estonian Publishers’ Association, the Lithuanian Online Media Association, the Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism RE: Baltica, the Latvian Journalist Association, the Latvian Association of Broadcasting Organisations, the Riga Stradins University and the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School of Tallinn University. The list of members is set to grow- the Centre will be open to other institutions and media outlets, and proactively seek their involvement, particularly among the local media. International stakeholders that have shown interest and support for the BCME include Deutsche Welle and the European Endowment for Democracy. Initial funding to the Centre is delivered by The Nordic Council of Ministers and The Danish Cultural Institute.