New Horizons in Journalism 2022
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Join us December 1 for the second annual New Horizons in Journalism Conference, organized by the World Press Institute and supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation and the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria. We are honored to have Brian Beutler, Editor-in-Chief of Crooked Media, as the keynote speaker. Crooked Media is a pioneer and leader in the digital age of journalism offering podcasts, a news and opinion website, live events, and a live streaming presence. Its flagship podcast, Pod Save America, has over 175 million downloads.

At a time when institutions in Bulgaria and worldwide are under constant strain, the need for fair and accurate information is vital for democratic societies to function. The rise of the smartphone and other personal computing devices has flattened the information paradigm and made news easily accessible to billions of people. Yet who should the news consumer trust and how do they know that news they are receiving is accurate and fair with the constant deluge of disinformation and propaganda found online. Powerful interests are at play working to bend public opinion, control the narrative, and put pressure on journalists through intimidating and costly tactics such as SLAPP lawsuits. While larger news organizations in capital cities such as Sofia struggle to withstand attacks from these powerful institutions, how can local and smaller news organizations survive such pressures and continue to provide fair and accurate information for their communities.

Join us as leading journalists and experts explore these topics and more at the 2022 New Horizons in Journalism Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria on December 1.


Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia


December 1, 2022


9:00 – 9:30 Opening Remarks
Welcome by David McDonald, Executive Director of the World Press Institute
Welcome by Lenko Lenkov, Program Director Business Enabling Environment, America for Bulgaria Foundation
Welcome by Irina Nedeva, Chair of the Association of European Journalists in Bulgaria

9:30 – 10:30 Disinformation and the Role of the Journalist
Brian Beutler, Editor-in-Chief of Crooked Media

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break 

10:45 – 11:45  Combating Disinformation & Propaganda 
Alexey Kovalev, Investigative Editor, Meduza
Sophie Vériter, Researcher at ISGA
Venelin Petkov, Independent Journalist

Michael Montgomery (Moderator), Senior Reporter/Producer from the Center for Investigative Reporting

11:45 – 13:00 Lunch break

13:00 – 14:15 Examining SLAPP lawsuits and their threat to press freedom
Flutura Kusari, Senior Legal Advisor, ECPMF
Alexander Kashumov, Human Rights Lawyer
Lora Georgieva Mateeva – Legal Program Coordinator, Anti Corruption Fund
Stoyana Georgieva, Editor-in-Chief,
Maria Cheresheva (Moderator), Vice-President of the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria

14:15 – 15:30 Exploring the future of local journalism 
Brian Beutler – Editor-In-Chief, Crooked Media
Dean Starkman – Senior Editor, ICIJ
Emilia Dimitrova – Publisher and Editor, Sevlievo Online
Camilla Bath (Moderator), Journalist, Editor and Media Consultant


Camilla Bath


Camilla Bath is a seasoned journalist and trainer who, for more than a decade, has helped innovative news organizations to reinvent themselves in a digital world. She is a director and co-founder of Nala Academy, a journalism and communications training collective based in South Africa that works with newsrooms across Africa to sharpen their news product and reach new cross-platform audiences. Camilla was formerly the Launch News Editor at Newzroom Afrika, South Africa’s newest independent television news station, and Deputy Editor and Digital Development Editor at Eyewitness News (EWN). She has won a host of awards for her journalistic and digital work, is a 2014 Fellow of the World Press Institute, and holds a BA (Honors) degree in journalism.

Brian Beutler

Editor-in-Chief of Crooked Media

Brian Beutler is Editor-in-Chief of Crooked Media and host of the podcast Positively Dreadful. He was previously a senior editor at the New Republic, where he wrote a daily column and hosted the podcast Primary Concerns. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, TPM, and other outlets.

Maria Cheresheva

Vice-President of AEJ-Bulgaria

Maria Cheresheva is one of the founders of AEJ-Bulgaria. She has over 15 years of experience as a journalist in various Bulgarian and international media. She is a host of the current affairs program “Who is speaking” on Darik Radio and works as a freelancer with media such as ZDF, Balkan Insight, Deutsche Welle, BBC, etc. She worked as a correspondent for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bulgaria and is a part of a number of cross-border investigations in the field of human rights, arms trafficking, corruption, etc. As part of the AEJ-Bulgaria team, he works actively in the field of media literacy as a trainer and editor of the high-school journalism platform sCOOL Media. She has a BA in “European Studies” from the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

Emiliya Dimitrova


Emiliya Dimitrova graduated Bulgarian Philology at Veliko Tarnovo University St. St. Cyril and Methodius. Since her graduation she works as a journalist, and since 2015 she developed her own site for news from Sevlievo and the region. She was Editor-in-Chief of Sevlievo Today newspaper, journalist in Rossitsa newspaper and Editor-in-Charge of the news in cable TV Kiwi-TV in Sevlievo. Since 2015 she is Coordinator of the Access to Information Program for Gabrovo District. Emilia Dimitrova is the winner of the Golden Key award of Access to Information Program for 2018.

Stoyana Georgieva
Stoyana Georgieva

Editor-in-Chief of

Stoyana Georgieva is a journalist and Editor-in-Chief of news site Since she founded the platform in 2000, the first online news media outlet in Bulgaria, she has strived to build an independent and quality publication. Georgieva has participated in various civic projects and initiatives as well as in the jury of a number of journalistic competitions.

Alexander Kashumov

Human Rights Lawyer

Alexander Kashumov is a human rights lawyer. He has worked in the field of access to information, freedom of expression, privacy, and personal data protection since 1997. He is head of the legal team of the Access to Information Programme Foundation in Bulgaria. In the past two decades, he has litigated hundreds of cases before national and international tribunals including the European Court of Human Rights. He is also author and co-author of five books, chapters in books, many analyses, articles, and handbooks.

Alexey Kovalev

Investigative Editor – Meduza

Alexey Kovalev is a Russian journalist who was born in Moscow and spent most of his life there, except for three years in London where he got his master’s degree in international journalism in 2010 and reported for Russian news magazines. Currently he is the investigative editor of Meduza based in Riga, Latvia (he was forced to emigrate Russia in early March 2022 after a law effectively criminalizing all independent reporting came into effect). Alexey has been working as a journalist for 20 years, mostly for local and national papers, magazines and news websites, but he is also an occasional contributor to The Guardian, The New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy magazine and other Western media. Alexey is a 2018 WPI alumnus who participated in our U.S. fellowship program that year.

Flutura Kusari

Senior Legal Advisor – ECPMF

Flutura Kusari works as Senior Legal Advisor at the European Centre For Press & Media Freedom (ECPMF). She runs the legal program of ECPMF which has supported more than 250 journalists facing legal actions to cover their lawyer’s fees. Flutura represents the ECPMF at the European Anti-SLAPP Coalition the CASE and is a member of Anti-SLAPP expert’s committees established by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Lora Georgieva Mateeva

Legal Program Coordinator – Anti Corruption Fund

Lora Georgieva Mateeva (Legal Program Coordinator – Anti Corruption Fund) is an attorney-at-law, experienced in litigation and consultation in the fields of civil, corporate and administrative law, member of the Sofia Bar Association and certified mediator. She holds a Master in Law degree from the Sofia University Saint Kliment Ohridski.

Michael Montgomery

Senior Reporter and Producer at Reveal

Michael Montgomery is an award-winning reporter and broadcast producer for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. A veteran of radio/podcasts, television and newspapers, Montgomery has led major collaborations with the Associated Press, NPR, BBC, APM and Frontline and is a longtime member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. His stories on human rights abuses in Kosovo led to the creation of a new war crimes court based in The Hague. Montgomery’s journalism honors include Peabody, duPont, Murrow, IRE, Third Coast and Oversees Press Club awards.

Venelin Petkov


Venelin Petkov is a Bulgarian journalist. He has spent most of his journalistic career at bTV, where he began working as a reporter and newscaster shortly after the network was launched in 2000 and was the director of the News, Current Affairs, and Sports Department until 2020. He is also a documentary maker and producer. He is the only Bulgarian journalist to receive the prestigious US Peabody Award for excellence in television, radio, and online media.

Dean Starkman

Senior Editor for ICIJ

Dean is a fellow-in-residence at the Center for Media, Data and Society and a visiting lecturer at the School of Public Policy, the Central European University, Budapest. He is the author of The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism, an acclaimed analysis of business-press failures prior to the 2008 financial crisis and theoretical framework for journalism’s past, present, and future. Previously, he ran the Columbia Journalism Review’s business section, The Audit, a web-based provider of media criticism, reporting and analysis. Starkman covered white-collar crime and national real estate for The Wall Street Journal and helped lead the Providence Journal’s investigative team to a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

Sophie Veriter
Sophie Vériter

Researcher at ISGA

Sophie Vériter is a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of Leiden University and a Europaeum Scholar. Her research focuses on counter-disinformation policies in the European Union, in particular the strategies used by small states to influence their development, and their implications for democracy. Sophie’s interests include in European policy-making, democracy, strategic communication and narratives, technology, as well as the EU’s eastern neighborhood.


Organized by

Supported by


Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia


Ivan Radev, AEJ-Bulgaria


[email protected]