2015 “Writing for CEE” journalism award goes to Martin Leidenfrost

  • Karl-Markus Gauß spoke at award ceremony about discovering Europe
  • SEEMO Secretary-General Vujovic: Europe standing before new barriers and divisions

The international journalism award "Writing for CEE" was handed out for the twelfth time on Wednesday evening. It was won by Austrian writer Martin Leidenfrost, for his column entitled "Expedition Europe". The prize is awarded along with EUR 5,000.

In his essays, Leidenfrost narrates his travels through Europe. For example, he wrote about the role of the Cossacks in the Ukraine conflict, researched the background to self-immolations in Bulgaria, and searched for national tobacco shops in Hungary. He travels "incessantly" through Europe "looking for ideas, absurdities, inspirations, a soul of Europe", said Leidenfrost. He wants his texts to "build intellectual bridges between corners of Europe".

Overcoming barriers and breaking down prejudices are the goals of the journalism award that has been handed out by APA and UniCredit Bank Austria since 2004 for quality journalism on Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). "25 years after the end of the Cold War, Europe stands confronted with new barriers and divisions. This is why we need such initiatives more than ever before", explained this year’s keynote speaker Oliver Vujovic, Secretary-General of the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), at the award ceremony in Vienna.

Honorary guest at the evening, writer Karl-Markus Gauß, also touched upon the refugee crisis. In his speech entitled "Discovering Europe", Gauß addressed the media too. Europe is either being transformed or condemned. "But it is important to discover it." This is what he is trying to do with his work, as do journalists and the award-winner, emphasised Gauß.

After winning the award back in 2007, Leidenfrost convinced the international jury again, which this year had to make their selection from among articles submitted from 20 different countries. "Expedition Europe" appears in four CEE magazines: "Die Presse", "tyzden", "Neues Deutschland" and "Südostschweiz".

The best texts in 2015 also included:

  • Eva Konzett, Marijana Miljkovic and André Kühnlenz: “Chinese investment in Central and Eastern Europe” ("WirtschaftsBlatt")
  • Christian Geinitz: "Charcoal makers from Kosovo just want away" ("Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung")
  • Elena Stancu: "Roma Coppersmiths in Corcova" (http://teleleu.eu/caldararii-din-corcova)
  • Paul Dobrovolsky : "Internal world of DPR" ("Novoe Vremya Magazine")
  • Adelheid Wölfl: "Remembering without being torn asunder" ("Der Standard")

Members of the ever-shuffling jury in 2015 included the prize winner from the previous year, "Spiegel" reporter Takis Würger, Polish journalist Pawel Bravo, Bulgarian journalist Ivan Bakalov, communications consultant Ildiko Füredi-Kolarik, press spokesman of UniCredit Bank Austria Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Czech communications expert Milan Smid, Hungarian radio journalist Julia Varadi, Austrian journalist Cornelia Vospernik, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic, and as jury spokesperson, deputy head of the APA Foreign Policy department Alexandra Demcisin.

The winning article and the best texts from 2015 can be read online from Wednesday evening. Further information can be found at www.apa.at/cee-award/

Bank Austria Media Relations International
Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Tel.: +43 (0) 50505 56036
E-mail: tiemon.kiesenhofer@unicreditgroup.at