UK-born Michael Bird has been in love with eastern Europe ever since watching Elton John's video for 'Nikita' and falling for the border guard with 'eyes like ice on fire'.
After travelling extensively through the ex-Communist region during the 1990s in search of this woman - in vain - he settled in Bucharest, where he is now a journalist, writer and TV presenter who specialises in long-form features on major social, political and business issues in southeast Europe.
For The Black Sea he has travelled to Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Moldova to investigate the impact of problem drug use on fragile economies, including recording the stories of addicts and survivors of substance abuse.
For his work for The Black Sea covering the HIV epidemic in eastern Europe, he is winner of the 2014 Award for Best Initiatives of European Online Investigative Journalism, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (European University Institute, Florence, Italy).
Major projects he has worked on include Football Leaks in 2016/2017. This is a series of articles from the largest leak in sports history undertaken in a cross-border project with European Investigative Collaborations spanning 14 countries, leading national media outlets and over 60 journalists. In 2016, he has also worked on Eurocrimes, a data journalism project revealing the nationalities of criminals in 25 EU countries.
Previously his work has appeared in the Independent on Sunday, Politico, Tagesspiegel, Ukraine Today, Design Week, the New Statesman, EU Observer, Druglink magazine, Business Insider, The Diplomat - Bucharest and throughout the national press of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. He has reported for Deutsche Welle, and been interviewed on Romanian protests in 2017 for the BBC and Al Jazeera.
- Offshore scheme behind the riches of Uzbek dictator''s daughter
- How Turkey’s war on Gülenists was exported to Romania
- The Fix-Up
- Football Leaks: Romanian legend Hagi in missing million Euro transfer scandal with teenage player
- Checking in to Europe''s largest illegal drugs supermarket
- The Last Stigma
- The Neapolitan Exodus
- Expat Romanians: their own worst enemy
- “The EU doesn’t really know what Lithuanians are”
- “It''s so painful to realise we are victims”
- Moldovan energy intermediary company linked to “billion-dollar bank theft” scandal
- Crimea - where Russia''s war on drugs has deadly consequences
- The Donbass Paradox
- The Timebomb
- Revealed: Turkey''s massive global mega-mosque plan
- How realistic is a union between Romania and Moldova?
- HIV epidemic sweeps across east Europe as economic crisis threatens
- A wedding in the sky
- Let''s talk about sex in Moldova
- Bucharest's Cradle of Yiddish Culture risks destruction
- How Hare Krishna and Therapy Saved Me from Drugs in Tiraspol
- Bucharest wedding singer crippled by legal highs, rescued by breakdancing
- Paralyzed by home-made alternative to heroin
- Krokodil sinks teeth into persecuted Georgian drug community
- Smack in the USSR: how injecting drugs in the Soviet Union was socializing
- Kill, adopt or set free on the streets? Options for Romania’s millions of stray dogs
- Deadly Moldovan drug provokes addicts to lose jaws
- Romanian Veterinary Companies embroiled in Dutch Toxic Egg Health Scare
- Uzbek journalist and LGBT writer in Russia risks deportation and torture
- “We heard about Spain from the TV and now we’re in the capital!” - the Romanian homeless of Madrid
- When Journalists Fail
- Romania: the battle for justice no one wanted
- Eurocrimes: Details on the methodology for compiling the EU expat prison population
- What we learned from Marine Le Pen and her nationalist friends’ visit to Romania
- How I was questioned by the Moldovan Border Police
- Moldova chaos: a guide to political parties and divided challengers
- Turkey''s new mega mosques attacked as kitsch parody of Ottoman greats
- Turkey Global Mega-Mosque Bonanza List
- Rosia Montana: the poem
- Why the west can’t get enough of Romanian poverty
- ''HIV changed my life - but in a better way''
- ''Ukrainian women are tough - they can stop a horse''
- ''Moving to a village should be a great exit strategy for a heroin user - but it was a big mistake''
- ''My wife and I both found out we were HIV positive - that shows it must be love''
- Moldova''s search for Moldova: views on a country divided
- Glorifying myth and industry in bizarre Soviet mosaics on tower blocks in Balti, Moldova
- New Romanian Internet privacy law called tyranny by American free software guru
- Riding a relic of brotherhood - Braving the Bucharest-Chisinau Sleeper
- “By 7 January we are fed up with Christmas!”
- Is the listing of the Rosia Montana mines as a UNESCO heritage site realistic?
- Missing the Drug Bonanza of Moscow