Spheres of Influence Uncovered

This cross-border media project brings together talented journalists from seven countries across Eurasia. We collaborate on stories about the impact of international economic cooperation. Through networking and building the capacity of independent local media, we invigorate and broaden critical public discussion on this important topic.

Spheres of Influence Uncovered is a three years long, cross-border media project that brings together talented journalists from seven countries across Eurasia. 

Our focus is on economic cooperation and geopolitical competition across borders. We look at foreign investment, trade, infrastructure projects, and their wider international context. Our interest is in stories that lie at the intersection between local impact and global relevance.

Discussion of these issues is limited in our seven project countries. We seek to address this gap and strengthen public discourse around these issues by:

  • Building the capacity of local journalists through online and offline training.

  • Facilitating quality journalistic coverage on issues related to the focus topic.

  • Forming a cross-regional network of journalists through offline events and collaboration on cross-border stories.

The context

Spheres of Influence Uncovered is driven by the recognition that Eurasia has entered an era of heightened geopolitical competition. In this context, economic cooperation is a crucial tool, leveraged by competing powers to increase their international standing. 

Among our project countries, the main protagonists in this competition are the EU, China, and Russia, although other countries such as Turkey are also striving for greater regional and international influence.

Geopolitical competition between states has always played out in the economic sphere, and this is especially true in an era of globalisation and economic interdependence. Political and commercial objectives are tightly interwoven, but whether leveraged intentionally or not, power flows from economic impact.


Building across the information gap

Discussion on topics like foreign investment is limited in our seven project countries of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Spheres of Influence Uncovered seeks to address this gap, strengthening public discourse around economic issues of public interest. We do this by:

Building the capacity of local journalists through online and offline training.

  • We provide online and offline courses in data collection, data visualisation, storytelling, open source research techniques, and other crucial journalistic skills. 
  • Trainings will be held throughout the project duration.

We also help to address the information gap by facilitating quality journalistic coverage.

  • 75 articles will be published as part of this project.
  • A map of economic interactions in the region will be produced.
  • Altogether, these publications will reach 1 million people.

Through collaboration on stories and during events, we are forming a cross-regional network of journalists. 

  • Three in-person events have been held in 2023 in order to facilitate in-depth networking between participants.
  • Of the 75 articles published as part of this project, 25 will be cross-border stories.



Alongside the topical focus on international economic interactions, the project involves two principal journalistic methods.

Economic literacy and data journalismUnderstanding international economic activity can involve complex data and economic indicators. A key aim of the project is to build economic literacy among participant journalists and encourage data-driven stories.

Collaborative journalismThe international scope of the project’s focus makes it particularly suited to interregional collaboration. Topics like Chinese foreign direct investment are best understood through cross-border collaboration and a key focus of this project is to bring journalists from different regions together.

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Cooperation partners