Five distinguished journalists comprise the independent jury presiding over IJ4EU’s flagship scheme. Stay tuned for the results of the latest call.

The International Press Institute, which leads the consortium of organisations running the IJ4EU fund, has announced the identities of five independent jury members who preside over the programme’s flagship support scheme for cross-border journalism.

The jury met earlier this month to select projects for funding under the latest call of the Investigation Support Scheme, which provides grants of up to €50,000 for journalistic collaborations in EU member states and candidate countries.

The successful teams will be announced in a few days.

Editorial independence is a central pillar of the IJ4EU fund. No donor is permitted to exert influence over the selection of grantees or their work. That is why independent juries award all IJ4EU grants and prizes. 

Aside from jury chairs, the identities of jury members are kept secret until all projects or awards have been chosen for a given grant or award cycle.

Here are the journalists who served as jury members for the Investigation Support Scheme during the 2022/23 edition of the IJ4EU programme. 


Nataliya Gumenyuk (Chair)
Founder and Chief Executive, Public Interest Journalism Lab (Ukraine)

Nataliya Gumenyuk, an award-winning Ukrainian reporter and author known for championing public interest journalism, served as the jury chair of the IJ4EU Investigation Support Scheme in 2022/23. Gumenyuk is the founder and chief executive of the Public Interest Journalism Lab (PIJL), which promotes constructive discussion around complex social issues.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, PIJL has turned its attention to frontline reporting, even as it continues to promote fact-based public interest journalism. Gumenyuk herself turned to frontline reporting to document Ukrainians’ wartime stories. She has travelled to all affected areas of the country. She reported the first accounts of Kharkiv under shelling, Mykolaiv facing a possible siege and Odesa preparing for a possible assault. Later, she reported from liberated Bucha and the Chernihiv region, providing accounts of a month of occupation.

She went on to report on how Ukrainian society at large changed during the war, be it the life of the Ukrainian Jewish community in Dnipro or the way democracy functions. During the course of the invasion, Gumenyuk co-founded the Reckoning Project, which aims to document war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in particular the impact of months of occupation on Ukrainian communities.

She is a visiting fellow of the Vienna-based Institute for Human Sciences.


Aritz Parra
Southern Europe News Director, Associated Press (Spain)

Aritz Parra leads AP news in Southern Europe, which includes Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal. He is an accomplished journalist with a wide skillset in both print and video and leadership experience gained in Spain, where he stood in for former Southern Europe News Director Karl Ritter on a number of occasions and most recently worked to help coordinate the coverage of the Ukraine war. 

Parra joined the Associated Press in 2012 as the agency’s senior producer in Beijing, leading video coverage of the beginning of the Xi Jinping era, a shifting economy, the erosion of individual and civil rights and the impact of pollution and climate change, among other stories. He also covered breaking news, including natural and human-made tragedies, in Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and in some of the most challenging countries for journalists: Myanmar and North Korea.

Upon relocating to Madrid, in late 2016, he pivoted from video back to print as his primary format, writing stories for both English and Spanish-language audiences. Since then, he has led the Iberia Peninsula’s coverage on elections, extremist attacks, the rise of far-right populism, deadly wildfires, the reverberations of the Venezuelan crisis, separatism in Catalonia, Spain’s painful reckoning with its recent history, a volcano eruption, the multi-layered issue of migration to Europe and the conflict in Western Sahara. The Iberia team’s reporting on the first year of the devastating coronavirus pandemic was recognised with a Gramling Award.


Ioana Avadani
President, Center for Independent Journalism (Romania)

Ioana Avadani is the head of the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) in Bucharest. In 2013, she was awarded the European Citizen of the Year prize of the European Parliament.

She has experience of over 25 years in the media, having worked as a news agency deputy editor-in-chief, a TV editor and as a media developer with CIJ.

As CIJ director (1998-2019), Avadani coordinated programmes ranging from professional training for journalists to targeted assistance for media operations, from advocacy for transparency, press freedom and protection of journalists to curricula development and strengthening of journalists’ associations in Romania. She was instrumental in the passing of critical legislation such as access-to-information and sunshine laws, the broadcast law and public broadcast services and public procurement legislation. She has also been central to media self-regulation in Romania. In 2018, she was elected president of the CIJ board for a five-year term.

Between 2004 and 2006, Avadani served two stints as president of the South East European Network for the Professionalization of the Media, a network of 18 training centres and media institutes in 10 countries in Southeastern Europe. Between 2015 and 2019, she served as a member of the Council of IFEX, one of the largest global networks of organisations specialising in freedom of expression.

Avadani has published numerous articles and studies dedicated to media development in Romania and the SEE region. She was a Visiting Research Fellow with the Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe Programme at St Antony’s College at Oxford University. She has appeared as a speaker at many national and international events and taught numerous courses for various audiences. She has an MA in Anthropology and an MA in Applied Ethics. She is completing a PhD in Anthropology. 


Leif Lonsmann
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Nordic Journalist Centre (Denmark)

Leif Lonsmann has more than 40 years of media experience as a journalist, editor, head of investigative reporting, head of development, research and training, editor-in-chief and CEO for the Danish National Public Service broadcaster). He also has more than 30 years of experience in teaching, education and media consulting in more than 30 countries around the world.

Since 2018, he has worked as an independent consultant, media adviser and a senior manager at the Nordic Journalist Centre, which conducts training, exchange and cooperation for journalists in the Nordic region and abroad, with a special focus on Russia, the Baltics, the former Soviet neighbourhood region, climate journalism, the Arctic and indigenous and circumpolar affairs. Lonsmann has acted as a juror and mentor for several international grant and fellowship programmes.


Natalia Antelava
Editor-in-Chief, Coda Story (Georgia)

Natalia Antelava is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Coda Story, an award-winning newsroom that covers the roots of global crises. Originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, Natalia started her journalism career in West Africa and was the BBC’s resident correspondent in the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, Washington DC and India. She has covered wars in Georgia, Ukraine and Iraq and reported undercover from Myanmar, Yemen and Uzbekistan.

Her investigations into human rights abuses in Central Asia, Iraq and the United States have won her a number of awards. Antelava has also written for The Guardian, Forbes magazine, The New Yorker and CNN. She is the author of Coda’s weekly Disinfo Matters newsletter and the host of the narrative podcast “Undercurrents: Tech, Tyrants and Us”, Coda’s collaboration with Audible that tells stories of people whose lives were turned upside-down when digital technology collided with tyrants.