For decades, print media have relied on advertisers to cover the news, send correspondents abroad, and do investigations, keeping those in power accountable. However, the old business model is broken. Print advertising dollars are being replaced by digital advertising cents, which has led to decline in newspaper circulation and advertising profits. There is an increased demand to “do more with less” be it manpower, resources, or time.

Moreover, technology has changed the way we produce and consume news. Now, anyone with a smartphone in hand and good internet connection could be a reporter. But the need of good, public interest journalism has never been greater.


What is the goal of the conference?

We, at the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria, believe that the speakers would shine a light on how to better navigate the fast-changing media landscape and create as well as encourage innovation. We hope that those success stories could encourage independent journalism in Bulgaria, offering an exciting new way to inform the public about important political, social and human rights issues in the region.


What to expect?

The one-day event will try to tackle some of the following tough questions:

In the era of fast and fake news, could good journalism be sustainable? What is the new news ecosystem? What’s the role of the public and the audience?


Why is it important?

Recent political events like the 2016 Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s election in the United States have proved the crucial role of quality journalism – not just to report the facts but to put things into context and explain the meaning of complex problems.

It’s difficult to see what will replace the old business model but there are some media innovators and entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of all the recent tech advances, trying to imagine what the new media would look like. Instead of complaining about the darkness around, they have chosen to seek the light at the end of the tunnel.


Sofia Event Center,
Paradise Mall


12 November, 2018



9:00-9:30 Registration and coffee
9:30-9:45 Opening:

Welcome by Irina Nedeva, Chairwoman of the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria
Welcome by Nancy L. Schiller, President and CEO of the America for Bulgaria Foundation
Welcome by Daniel Kadik, Project Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Southeast Europe
Introduction by Boryana Dzhambazova, the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria

9:45 -10:30 How Do They Innovate?

Jakub Gornicki, co-founder of the Polish media startup Outriders
An Pham, co-founder of Bulgarian independent online platform Toest
Tomáš Bella, co-founder and web director of Slovak daily Dennik N
Dimitar Semkov and Ivaylo Dernev, founders of Plovdiv-based online news site Pod Tepeto

10:30-11:30 Panel Discussion: In Search of a New Business Model

Panelists: Jakub Gornicki (Outriders), An Fam (Toest), Tomáš Bella (Dennik N), and Ivaylo Dernev/Dimitar Semkov (Pod Tepeto)

11:30-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-12:30 Panel Discussion: News-gathering 2.0

Inge Snip, social media editor at Coda Story
Jelena Vasic, co-founder of Serbian investigative portal KRIK
Vlad Ursulean, co-founder of Romanian online platform Casa Jurnalistului

12:30-13:30 Panel Discussion: News-gathering 2.0

Panelists: Inge Snip, (Coda Story), Jelena Vasic (KRIK) and Vlad Ursulean (Casa Jurnalistului)

13:30-14:15 #AEJTalks:

Jelena Vasic (KRIK): Working in a Hostile Media Environment
Christo Komarnitski (Prass Press): New Media in Cartoons
Coda: Alternatives to Parachute Journalism


We have invited a number of media entrepreneurs and journalists who have started their own innovative media outlets in Central and Eastern Europe.

Inge Snip
Inge Snip

Inge Snip is a multimedia journalist and communications consultant, currently working with Coda Story as a social media editor.

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She has developed, designed and implemented a large variety of communication strategies, style guides, and community building techniques. Inge produces both video and written content to tell inspiring and extraordinary stories, build communities and engage large audiences. Coda Story, a non-profit newsroom with teams in New York and Tbilisi, pioneers a new way of covering crises. The online platform combines innovative design and the best of traditional journalism to deliver stories about events that shape our world.

Tomáš Bella
Tomas Bella

Tomáš Bella is the co-founder and web director of Denník N, an independent online daily in Slovakia, focused on long-form high-quality journalism.

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He has also developed open-source software for online subscription service for publishers. Before creating Dennik N, he was the editor-in-chief of Slovak SME, one of the most popular news sites in the country, and has experience in the IT field.

Jakob Gornicki
Jakub Gornicki

Jakub Gornicki is one of the founders of the Polish media startup Outriders, which offers original international reporting.

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He is also a blogger and reporter who is  passionate about new media and interactive storytelling. Outriders’ mission is to strengthen quality journalism as well as to experiment and find new modes of collaboration between reporters and media outlets.

Jelena Vasic
Jelena Vasic

Jelena Vasic is an investigative reporter and one of the founders of Serbian investigative portal KRIK.

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Previously, she worked with the international Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, or OCCRP. She has specialized in investigating corruption and organized crime and has been training other journalists in the region. KRIK, a non-profit organization established in 2015, is currently the only independent investigative journalism portal in Serbia dedicated exclusively to exposing corruption and organized crime at the highest levels of power.

Vlad Ursulean
Vlad Ursulean

Vlad Ursulean is a Romanian reporter experimenting with digital tools and community engagement.

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He is also one of the founders of Casa Jurnalistului (known as  The Journalist’s House (in English), a collective of independent reporters based in Bucharest, Romania. The online publication specializes in in-depth feature stories about social issues in Eastern Europe.

An Pham

An Pham has managed various digital projects in the recent years. Since Feb 1, 2018, she is a co-founder and editor of Toest.

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Toest ( is a Bulgarian online media supported entirely by donations and volunteer work. An Pham has economic education and many years of organizational experience.

Christo Komarnitski

Christo Komarnitski is a prominent Bulgarian cartoonist who works for the daily newspaper Sega (“Now”).

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He specializes in political satire and has won a number of international awards for his work. Komarnitski is co-founder of Prass-Press – the first satire newspaper in the country in over a decade. The team, dubbed as the Bulgaria’s Charlie Hebdo, vowed that their cartoons would spare no politicians and would pull no punches.

Ivaylo Dernev

Ivaylo Dernev and Dimitar Semkov are journalists and founders of the news site Pod Tepeto in Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria.

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To keep afloat, though, they need to be entrepreneurial and find diverse way to fund their journalism, including starting their own bar “Cat&Mouse” and brewing their own beer. Some of their projects include, an online platform about culture in Plovdid, and, a digital guide of the city.

Dimitar Semkov

Ivaylo Dernev and Dimitar Semkov are journalists and founders of the news site Pod Tepeto in Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria.

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To keep afloat, though, they need to be entrepreneurial and find diverse way to fund their journalism, including starting their own bar “Cat&Mouse” and brewing their own beer. Some of their projects include, an online platform about culture in Plovdid, and, a digital guide of the city.



The online platform Toest is an ad-free Bulgarian media, which plans to be funded entirely by its readers.
The site, which launched earlier this year, aims to do slow journalism, offering analytical and feature stories rather than breaking news.

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While many regional media in Bulgaria are struggling to survive, two Plovdiv-based journalists – Ivaylo Dernev and Dimitar Semkov – have built an online media, which has become the go-to source of news about the second biggest city in the country.

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The founders of Outriders, a Polish media startup that offers original international reporting, raised $30,000 to launch the platform in September 2017.
Since then, they have covered everything – from Brexit and global migration to same-sex marriage referendum in Taiwan – but Poland.

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Friedrich Naumann Foundation


America For Bulgaria Foundation



Sofia Event Center, Paradise Mall



Camelia Ivanova, AEJ-Bulgaria

+359 899816825

[email protected]