Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The European Journalism Fellowships Announced

The European Journalism Fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin are a program for mid-career journalists, designed to give participants the opportunity to
take a two-semester leave from their professional positions and spend a
sabbatical year in Berlin to work on a major research project. Journalists from all European countries and the United States are invited to apply for one of the fellowships.

The closing date for applications is January 31, 2008. Please note that the
closing date for applications for the Superior Scholarship of the
Abgeordneten­haus of Berlin (Berlin State Parliament) Foundation (special
requirements) is December 10, 2007.

For more information go to: www.ejf.fu-berlin.de
Europäische Journalisten-Fellowships/ European Journalism-Fellowships
Otto-von-Simson-Str. 3
D-14195 Berlin
Fon: +49(0)30-8385-3315
Fax: +49(0)30-8385-3305

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Razpis za mlade v novinarje (only in slovene)

Mediji – posredniki med narodi


Sklad Robert Bosch v sodelovanju z Berlinsko šolo za novinarje (BJS)vabi mlade novinarje iz Srednje in Vzhodne Evrope na trimesečnobivanje v Nemčiji.

Študijski in delovni obisk bo potekal od 1. marca do 31. maja 2008 vBerlinu in obsega: v prvih štirih tednih posredovanje kompaktnega znanja o sosedi Nemčiji, odnosih med državami in skupnih perspektivah v Evropskiuniji - v obliki pogovorov, predavanj in srečevanj »na licu mesta«; v naslednjih osmih tednih prakso v eni izmed televizijskih, radijskih ali časopisnih redakcij v nemškem glavnem mestu – glede na lastne interese in ponudbo.

Pri tem bodo štipendisti spoznali delovni vsakdan nemških kolegov kot t.i. »začasni dopisniki«. Prav tako bodo lahko pripravljali prispevke zaposamezne gostujoče, kot tudi za domače redakcije.

Štipendisti prejmejo: mesečno štipendijo v višini 1000 €; mentorsko vodstvo v gostujoči redakciji; pomoč pri iskanju stanovanja.

Od štipendistov pričakujemo: poklicne izkušnje; dobro znanje nemškega jezika; starost do 35 let.

Prijavijo se lahko novinarji s Poljske, Češke, Madžarske, Slovaške,Slovenije, Estonije, Latvije in Litve.

Kontaktni naslov:Berliner Journalisten-Schule (BJS) – Berlinska novinarska šola„Medien-Mittler“Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 2910178 BerlinE-mail: Info@medien-mittler.dePrijavne obrazce najdete na internetu: www.medien-mittler.de

Prijavni rok: 1. november 2007

Informacije o skladu Robert Bosch najdete na internetu:www.bosch-stiftung.de Ein Förderprogramm derRobert Bosch Stiftung inZu sammenarbeit mit der BerlinerJournalisten-Schule (BJS)Informationen über die RobertBosch Stiftung fi nden Sie unterwww.bosch-stiftung.deKontakt:Berliner Journalisten-Schule(BJS)„Medien-Mittler“Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 2910178 Berlininfo@medien-mittler.dewww.medien-mittler.de

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

As promised ...

As promised, I am adding the abstract of the paper I prepared for the Future of Newspapers conference.
Many of the presentations were interesting, however, unfortunately we were not allowed to post anything from them. When they appear in journalis, I will try to link them.

Newspapers seem to be telling their readers what they already know. They have either read it the day before on the internet or heard it on television. Sometimes, even Wikipedia is faster than the local reporters are. Can Slovene newspapers survive under such circumstances? Moreover, how? Views, not news, is an old phrase, nevertheless, it seems to reveal the one true advantage of the traditional newspapers: the well-researched and written articles and opinions about relevant topics that should be important to the readers. However, these analytical pieces should not only be available in the paper edition, but also online, and should not appear only in the newspaper's mother tongue, but also in English. A good example might be the German magazine Der Spiegel that celebrated its 60th birthday this year. Der Spiegel was the first magazine on the world with an online edition (in 1994). Ten years later, it launched its English website, which aims to provide English-speaking readers with a different, more German or European perspective on world events. The magazine, which was in the past famous for its investigative journalism and analytical articles, recently became also a European beacon of literary journalism. Literary journalism stories appear on the magazine's website, where they combine the advantages of the Web with those of the narrative. In the era in which many publishing houses in Slovenia compete for readers only by adding cheap DVDs or books to their newspapers, it would seem sensible for those newspapers, which still aspire to quality journalism, to follow Der Spiegel's model. Bloggers in Slovenia and elsewhere have already shown that they can also do what journalists are supposed to be doing: expose the wrongdoings and injustice. However, until their posts are picked up by news media, their efforts are usually limited to the blogger community. Well researched and well written articles that can attract a large number of readers, inspire them and make them care, are therefore in the domain of journalists. That is why readers still want and need newspapers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Future of Newspapers

The holidays are almost over. I am staying home this week, babysitting my little boy who is having a mont off from kindergarten. Next week we are going away for the last week together this summer. I hope the weather will be on our side.
I returned from the Future of Newspapers conference in Wales, organized by JOMEC (Cardiff Centre for Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies). It was very interesting and a good opportunity for networking. Unfortunately, the papers can be accessed only with password, so I cannot make a link. But I am posting this link one of the conference. I will add the abstract of my paper later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


This summer, I spent every spare moment working on a textbook I am writing for my History of Journalism and Media course. I am now almost finished with the first draft. I have to submit it in the next few days to a committee that might alocate some funds for its publication. I hope they will support my manuscript. Please, keep your fingers crossed:)

However, yesterday I took some time off from work, work, and Jernej. I had a chance to go to the movies. We went to see Knocked up and I found it hillarious. I recommend it!

Now that my textbook is almost finished, I can start looking forward to holidays. On Saturday, we go to Bol on Brač, and when we return I am off to a conference on Future of Newspapers in Wales. I hope it will be very interesting and useful.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On Good and Bad Journalism

I have returned from Paris where I attended the IAMCR conference. In the workshop where I presented my paper on how feature stories might help raise the circulation we also spoke about the recent plagiarism case.
It was interesting to see how many people in Slovenia defended the woman who plagiarized not one but many of her columns. They seemed to find nothing wrong in doing that even though it was not just parts of her columns that were plagiarized but all of them.
A collegue of mine once failed to mention that one sentence of her story was taken from some other story and she was forbiddent to write for that paper for good.
I think that journalists have to be transparent and they have to reveal their sources (either people or written material). However, sometimes it is hard to decide what should be quoted and what not. For example if you write that in 1913 there were three dailies in Ljubljana, should you quote your source or not? Obviously you were not there at the time, so what should you do?
According to Gradišnik, Mojca Mavec was plagiarizing also in her apology column because she used a sentence from Ana Karenina without mentioning that. But is that already so? Should we always quote Hamlet, khm Shakespeare, when we say 'to be or not to be'?
After publishing this post, I have reread Gradišnik's column and I have seen that he considers such sentences from Hamlet as common knowledge whihc means that they do not need to be quoted. Nevertheless, I still think that Mojca's version of Tolstoy wasn't plagiarizing.
However, there is no such dilemma if you plagiarize an entire column. And even less if you do that continiously.
In Paris, collegues said that in their countries they have also witnessed how many people, including students, found nothing wrong with plagiarizing. The collegues, however, have zero tolerance for that and the students who are found plagiarizing automatically fail the course.
On the other hand, after I returned from Paris I was able to read also some excellent journalism by Ranka Ivelja in Dnevnik . She was following the case of Kvarkadabra and I was most impressed by her interview with the minister for science Zupan in yesterday's edition of the newspaper. It was really good to read how she retorted to him - when he asked her if she knows Jana Kolar who according to him is a good example of an interdisciplinary scientist which are lacking in Slovenia - that the same Jana Kolar is the member of editorial board of Kvarkadabra. He replied that he didn't know that. Well, perhaps he is not supposed to know everyhing, however, if he cites Jana Kolar as an example, he should have at least done some basic research on her.
Kvarkadabra, despite being a nominee for Descartes prize last year, recieved the least amount of points at the latest call for grants for promotion of science. Four other projects were accepted, and four rejected, among them Kvarkadabra, and when Kvarkadabra asked for the background information into the selection process of the projects, they recieved a very vague and formal answer. Only after Dnevnik and Mladina picked up the case, the minister decided to annule the call. It will be repeated in the autumn.
And now to something nice. I recently heard about a Slovene band Astorpia and in case you like tango, I recommend their CD Mar Del Plata. Here is a quick intro into their music. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Marjana Držaj is Guilty of Everything

This was a title of a Slovene drama. I was reminded of it today when I read a Letter to the editor in which again it was written that the School of Social Sciences is to be blamed for a bad interview in the newspaper despite the fact the author of the interview is not a graduate of the school.
Similarly, many in Slovenia think and write in their texts that if there is a problem for example in public health care system, it is only so because of senasationalistic media publicity.
The journalists are the messangers who let the public know about wrongdoings.
However, instead of fixing the it, those who are connected with the problem try to silence the media by forbidding employees to talk to them: as it happened the case of the Institute of Oncology. There the new manager ordered the doctors not to talk to the journalists. He explained that he wants the journalists to recieve the best and most competent answers. However, this was already the case in the past. It is much more likely that the new rule is the result of unfavorable, however fair reports on terrible planning, constructing and financing of new buildings of IO (which had elements of corruption).
All subjects of media reports that recieve what they consider unfavorable treatment forget to re-examine their actions. They seem to be forgetting that the journalists are only the messengers. It is easier to blame them than to fix the problem. Just as it is easy to blame the Faculty of Social Sciences for all the unfavorable reporters even in those cases when the school had nothing to do with their journalistic education.
Slovene journalists are commonly considered as Communists, and the school as an institution producing these red journalists despite the fact that the change of regime happened almost twenty years ago and that school's faculty is relatively young. When this last fact is pointed out,these people would say "they are all sons of former communists". And usually it is these people those who were in fact communists.
It is high time that journalists and School of Social Sciences would not be blamed for everything that's wrong in this country. Just as it is time that reporters would not get punished when they are revealing simple facts, as it happened in now famous Case of the Dog.
And that irony would be even bigger, when they should be, they do not get particularly punished, like in the Case of Pure Plagiarism. In fact, some readers and journalists even tried to defend the person who plagiarized her column, and they condemned those who said that this is simply wrong and cannot be done.
Perhaps I should sign off with Hamlet, if I started with Marjana Držaj ...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

FYI, drugič

The Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH is currently seeking applications for a position as


in its unit INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE MEDIA RESEARCH for a period of 3 years. Competitive salary. Preferred date of entrance: 1st September 2007.

The candidate's profile should correspond to at least one of the following areas of international and intercultural research:

- Journalism/News
- Political Communication
- Media organisations and systems
- Media reception and media effects
- International and intercultural communication

The position is aimed at candidates who wish to pursue a doctoral degree and includes teaching and administrative responsibilities. Candidates should have graduated (Master's or equivalent) in communication and media studies or a related social science discipline. We are looking for individuals with

- a pronounced interest in international and comparative media research;
- a very good knowledge of social science research methods (in particular content analysis, scientific interviews, SPSS);
- a very good command of both English and German. Knowledge of other lan-guages is an advantage.

Please submit your application, comprising a detailed CV and cover letter, by 17th August 2007 to:

Prof. Frank Esser
IPMZ - Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zu-rich, Andreasstrasse 15, CH-8050 Zurich

For any enquiry please contact Mr. Thomas Hanitzsch (th.hanitzsch@ipmz.uzh.ch or +41 44 635 2041).


Dear colleagues,

the European Youth Press invites young journalists from all over Europe to the annual M100 congress of the main journalists and media- manager in Europe, that will take place between 31st of August and 2nd of September 2007 in Potsdam, Germany. Attached you find the call for interessted participants and we would like to encourage young journalists to apply until 15th July.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours, Björn Richter

> M100 Workshop for young journalists covering intercultural dialogue

To the biggest gathering of European journalists, the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, the European Youth Press and Herbert-Quandt-Foundation invite young journalists from all over Europe to participate in the M100 youth media workshop "dialogue between cultures" between 31st of August and 2nd of September 2007 in Potsdam, Germany. In preparation of the annual meeting of the hundred most famous European journalists, this workshop deals with the question, how media can play a role in the "dialogue between cultures".

The workshop will discuss with professional journalists and politicians from all over Europe and visit best-practise-projects in Berlin and Potsdam. In the end the participants will produce a magazine, that will be published as input for the participants of M100 Sanssouci Colloquium. All partners invite young journalists from all over Europe to participate. They apply individually or as small team of up to five people with short but concrete descriptions of their media-projects and products to m100@youthpress.org until 15th July, 2007. The organisers will cover travel-costs, accommodation up to food and programme-expenses. Participants should be highly motivated to share experiences and open minded for the dialogue between cultures.

Björn Richter board member
european youth press network of young media makers

mobile (+49) 172 - 311 92 61
http://www.youthpress.org http://www.orangelog.eu

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pink- Dear Mr President - Live

In honor of Pink concert in Ljubljana ... for all the presidents unfortunately not left behind

"Dear Mr. President"(feat. Indigo Girls)

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me.
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
Would you?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In case you might be interested...

Dear Sir or Madam:

>From now until August 15, 2007, the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF)
is accepting applications from print journalists for our 2008 program.
Successful candidates will report for American news organizations from
March-August, 2008. Since 1984, AFPF has provided training opportunities to
approximately ten journalists annually. It is hoped that through such
training, Fellows will learn practices, standards and values of U.S.
journalism which they can adapt, share and apply in their own countries.

In addition to our general fellowships, AFPF offers specialized fellowships
by topic and region, including business, education, health, investigations,
religion, as well as the Daniel Pearl Fellowships which are offered to
journalists who come from areas that Daniel Pearl covered as a journalist -
South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Those receiving specialized
fellowships partake in activities related to their interests. For the Daniel
Pearl Fellowships, those activities are in line with the mission of the
Daniel Pearl Foundation - to encourage dialogue among people of different
cultures, reduce cultural and religious hatred and create a platform for
responsible and creative journalism.

Applicants for all fellowships must meet the following minimum criteria:

* Current full-time employment as a journalist for the news or editorial
department of independent newspapers, wire services, online publications, or
magazines of general public interest in a developing country;

* At least three years of professional experience as a journalist in the
print or online media;

* Citizenship of a developing country;

* Early to mid-career status and between 25 and 35 years old;

* A demonstrated personal commitment to a career in journalism in a
developing country;

* Ability and desire to share what is learned on the fellowship with
journalists at home;

* Endorsement from the management of the home publication;

* An excellent command of written and spoken English.

Attached to this email is an application for the 2008 program. Please share
with mid-career journalists who you feel are appropriate for this program.
Please make photocopies as needed or visit our website for downloadable
application materials: http://www.pressfellowships.org. Thank you for your
time and assistance.


Susan Albrecht

Executive Director
Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships
1100 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1310
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-429-3740
Fax: 202-466-4344
Email: info@pressfellowships.org
Website: www.pressfellowships.org

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

When it bleeds, it leads. Why?

The old saying in journalism is bad news is good news. Similarly, when it bleeds, it leeds.
After being disconnected from the media world for a while, I get really upset when I turn the TV on or read gthe newspaper and the bad news fall on me like a landslide. Reading the newspapers it seems, that everything is wrong in our world. However, when I am not reading newspapers, life seems perfectly fine.
I wonder, are these sayings still correct? Should it really lead, when it bleeds? Do readers really want bad news all the time?
In the time, when the media analysts recommend that journalism should turn to local news (and local often means high school basketball games and profiles of soccer moms, not tragedies from all over the world and media scandals involving high-profile politicians attacking one another) and when citizen journalism and bloggers (who again are probably not reporting about one boring political party press conference or another) are increasingly taking over some of the jobs of journalists, I wonder if the maxim shouldn't change.
Perhaps readers want something else from their newspapers, as well, something that help them understand certain things - for example the world of their children, like the beautiful piece Thirteen did.
Or am I wrong?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Dear Xiaoqing, I know I am a little late but I still wanted to congratulate you via this blog as well because I have difficulties posting comments on yours.
I am very proud to announce that my American roomate became a doctor of biochemistry this month. I think this is really great; I can only imagine what it means to become a biochemistry doctor in this developing world. All the best to you, Xiaoqing.
With Xiaoqing graduating and soon leaving Columbia, an important part of my life is coming to an end. Although I have not been there for quite sometime, the time I spent at MU is very important to me. I am using this opportunity to say hello and thank you to Xiaoqing, Annamaria, Frank, Wassim, Melanie, Moni, Eva, Joe, Jacqui, Jackie, Stephanie and all the rest of the wonderful people I met in Columbia. I doubt that some of them are able to or have time to read this blog, however this is my little thank you for the wonderful year we shared.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An Ultimate Love Song

Here is an ultimate love song. I mean how more romantic can songs be? Just look at the eyes ...
I listen to it whenever I want to feel (even) better.
Music is one of the things that makes life more beautiful. Another is being told that you have done something good. One of my students wrote me today to let me know how happy and busy he is writing for Vest.si. Thank you, Nejc.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

This days I am officially on holidays, but I hardly find any time to write emails or blog posts.
I am working on a paper I am going to present at the IAMCR conference in Paris. It's title is "Feature Story in Newspapers: Putting Theory into Practice Might Help the Circulation".
I am looking forward to this conference as it will be a first really big one that I will attend. I hope to meet interesting collegues in hear about their work. However, I am also looking forward to spending a few days in Paris, especially as I will be there with my family.
Meanwhile, I received a note that the first IALJS newsletter has been published online. It is good to read about things you are interested in. The newsletter brings along a list of scholarly bibliography on literary journalism which is wonderful as it is hard to keep up with every new text on the subject. An additional good feature is a list of good examples of literary journalism writing compiled by IALJS members.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What is Literary Journalism

I promised to B5 that I will try to explain briefly what literary journalism is all about.

First, here is the link to an article that I personally think is one of the best examples of literary journalism. It was written by an American journalist Anne Hull and is the second in the three part series about immigrants in the States.

LJ is in brief a journalistic text that reads like a novel. It seems to be an oxymoron but it is not. Literary journalism is firstly journalism. That means that the author needs to apporach its topic as any journalis would. The key difference is how he then writes about this topic. A literary journalist would also use literary or narrative techniques that would make the story similar to a novel or a short story. It would still be journalism, though. Every single sentence, every single word must be true, just like it should be in ordinary, traditional journalism. No scene can be made up, no dialogue invented. The literariness comes from the techniques not from fictionalized events.

To make it more clear, here is the abstract of my article Literary Journalism: the intersection of literature and journalism that was published in 2004 in Acta Neophilologica.


Literary journalism is a style of newspaper and magazine writing that developed as a reaction against factographic and objective journalism. Rather than answering the informational who, what, when, or where, it depicts moments in time. It has also managed to eschew the formula of newspaper feature writing, with its predictability and clichés. Instead, it appointed the techniques of realistic fiction to portray daily life. The author of this paper attempts to present the genre that belongs at the same time to literature and journalism; it combines the best of both practices in order to give the reader the most vivid and accurate picture of society. The author of this paper also attempts to present literary journalism as it exists in Slovenia.

I am also adding the link to an excellent feature story published in Spiegel which I would nevertheless not consider literary journalism, but rather as that: an excellent feature story. I think that the key difference is in the quality of writing and the time spent in researching the story. While reading a literary journalism story one would not think to oneself that this is journalism, rather that this is literature. Whereas with a feature story one can still feel that one reads journalism.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Finding Literary Journalism in Paris

Last weekend I flew to Paris to attend the second international conference on literary journalism, organized by IALJS.

As some of the participants said, I, too, felt like I finally found home. There were around thirty people discussing my favourite topic: literary journalism. I could join in the debate knowing that these people speak the same language, although they were in fact speaking different languages: they came from Portugal, Finland, Sweden, France, USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, and Slovenia.

To make it clear: IALJS is a scholarly organization. The practitioners of Literary Journalism can look for tips elsewehere, the best site now being Poynter and Nieman Narrative. At the beginning, I, too, intended this blog to be a tipshit for aspiring literary journalists. However, I soon realized that it won't work mainly for two reasons: first, there are much better sites for that; and second, I simply do not have enough time. So, I will keep the blog for my own pleasure and write it when I have something to say and when I find time.

Back to Paris: as indicated, this conference was not about tipsheets, rather we discussed the excellent works by its practitioners around the world. And that was truelly inspiring. Many participants had wonderful papers, my favorites being those that were more tightly connected to the journalistic part of literary journalism. Soon, te abstracts will be published on the internet and when that happens, I will post a link.

Meanwhile, I am proud to announce that my article on the topic has been published in Journalism Studies this april.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Apologies

By accident I turned on the comment moderation option and I didn't know it until now. That's why the comments did not appear. I am still not very familiar with blogger and sometimes I do things unintentionally and without knowing ...
Still no good news regarding the situation in the media in Slovenia (actually things are getting worse as procedings against journalists continue; besides more and more media organizations from abroad have noticed the appearance of censorship and selfcensorship in Slovenia and the loss of media freedom), but at least I find it extremely positive that a few weeks ago the constitution court ruled in favour of Breda Smolnikar, a writer who has been accused of insulting some women who said that they recognized their parents in one of writer's stories; they claimed that the writer was very offensive towards their parents. The constitution court finally decided that she is not guilty and the case is now closed. The process has been very long and I can't imagine what the writer must have gone trough during that time.
BTW: If you supposedly recognize your parents in a story that is offensive towards them (describing their sex life and so on), why do you tell this to the whole world? Only for money that you hope to extract from the writer?

Monday, April 23, 2007

On Being Convinced

After reading Maja H.'s comment on my previous post (see below) I went on to see what's going on in blogosphere regarding the topic of media freedom in Slovenia.
I am even more convinced that my tactic about writing positive things is correct.
Why? Because from the posts I could understand that there is an ongoing division between those who are seen as leftists and those who are seen as rightists. It seems that whoever writes something positive on journalists is immediately leftist.
Half of commentators doesn't have a clue of what is going on in the media and they keep repeating the same old story about few jouralists that bother them (e.g. Repovž, Repovž, Lorenci). As if those are the only journalists in Slovenia.
Whenever is there a discussion on the state of journalism in Slovenia their names appear and usually they are always being insulted. It seems that those people who insult them cannot even think about anything else.
This is similar as when Drago Jančar, an acclaimed writer, managed to connect the Ambrus story with the events during the WWII.
Repovž and Repovž are representatives of journalists, like it or not. And as long as they are, they are doing their job. Like it or not.
There is lot of maliciousnes in those comments (in the manner: two journalists are going to be fired, it serves them right, more should go). Why those people who think like that even bother to read newspapers and articles written by those journalists? And why do they bother to write comments if they think that journalists in Slovenia are so bad?
There is lot of envy in this country.
At least this blog will try once in a while be positive and optimistic.
Does anyone has an idea how could the story about state of the media and journalism in Slovenia go around without being turned into a duel between so called leftists and rightists? How could it reach people who are not convinced one way or another and help them understand?
Because those who are convinced will obviously not change their opinion...

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Some people who read this blog know who I am and what I do for living. Some of them also know what is happening at my workplace. In case someone is wondering why I do not comment directly what's happening, I want to say that the reason I am not writing about it is that I intend this blog to be positive, to perhaps provide solutions, answers, good ideas. I see no point in lamenting, there has been much of it in blogosphere without my piece of the puzzle.
Instead, I will rather write something about the amazing use of internet resources in the many newspaper articles about the massacre in Virginia. I think that in two years since the bombing in London when the possibilites of citizen journalism first became more seen in the public things have changed a lot for the better. The thing that impressed me most was how quick was Wikipedia and how even the less known media used the internet to explain their readers as best as they could. They used video, audio, interactive maps, slide shows. There was even more information than one could handle. Reading newspapers the next day seemed like a disapointment.
I wonder when we will start something like that in Slovenia, too. None of the sites I checked used so many internet resources to present the story. Someone commented that this is not a Slovene story and that is the reason why not. True. But there are other important Slovene stories and none are so resourceful.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Slow Death

My blog is dying a slow death. I rarely find time to post something and I wander if it makes sense to keep it. However, it seems that the maxim if you are not in the media you do not exist transformed into if you are not online you do not exist. I envy all those teachers and professionals who find time to write their opinion or post important information and are trendsetters in the blog world. I, on the other hand, am not even able to keep reading the blogs that are most important to me.
It's funny, if you think about blogs, how they are bizillion of them somewhere out there, and how on the side, there is no way that people will find or read them. But we still keep writing, hoping that someone will find our words interesting.
For now, I think I will continue to write this blog. I only hope that I will be able to keep it interesting.
And so that this post won't concentrate only on technical dilemmas. I was outraged by the latest commentary by Mićo Mrkaić in Delo. I tried to figure it out if it is worth to write about it. One, because he is offensive and second, because I think he is doing it on purpose. Perhaps not so much because he really thinks what he writes, but rather because he likes to make scandals.
His idea that only people with a degree in economics should write about economy can also translate into that only politicians should write about politics and ministers about their ministries. He mentions that informed journalists could easily figure out that one of the economists writing in the media don't know anything. Does that mean that only those who agree with Mrkaić can have an opinion and relevant as columnists?
Mrkaić obviously doesn't care much about social sciences and humanities; he has already shown that culture means nothing to him. Why does keep writing about those topics, anyway? Just to ignite angry answers?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Round Table on Media in Slovenia

I have just watched some video excerpts of a recent round table about the media situation in Slovenia. It was published by Jani Sever, former editor of Mladina, who started a wonderful site Vest.si. Unfortunately the video is only in Slovene, so the English speaking readers or listeners cannot understand. I wish there were an easy to use tool to translate it. This way, they could hear what is going on in this country.
Excellent Slovene journalists are being labeled as not so good; the irony is that they are good enough for the Associated Press ...
The situation is such that the European Federation of Journalists felt it must say something about it already last year ... According to Slovene Association of Journalists website this year too it has issued a statement, but I cannot find a link in English.
Will things ever change for the better?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

On Jumping to Conclusions

For journalists, it's easy to jump to conclusions. One hears some information and because he/she has heard something similar before, he/she thinks that the same thing is happening again. However, especially those writing stories about other people's personal affairs must pay particular attention to avoid that mistake.

Stories are about details, too. It's not difficult to notice them and write them down, but it is much harder to explain why those details are important to the story. Thus, reporters have to find out what the details are about. If someone is wearing a cross on a little golden chain, one would easily assume that he or she is a Catholic. But what if that's not so? What if these cross has a different meaning? What if it belonged to the person's late mother and he/she is wearing it to remember her?

There was a story in the newspaper today about an Italian woman who decided to have an abortion because some medical examinations results revealed that there is something terribly wrong with her fetus. Only after the abortion the doctors saw that the fetus was healthy. The article made it sound that the mother went against the recommendations of her doctors and decided for abortion although they suggested that they do some additional tests. Such stories are very emotional and probably anyone who reads them has an opinion on what happened. The problem with this story is that no one explained the reasons behind the woman's decision. Because of that the readers can jump to conclusion that the woman was at least an irresponsible and selfish mother. But we don't know why she made that decision. And journalists certainly can not write stories that might imply something that they really do not know.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stories, stories, and more stories

Whatever I have been reading lately, drives me to the conclusion that traditional media need more stories if they want to keep their readers. Besides, I am convinced that journalists and bloggers can work hand in hand to tell the general public what needs to be told.

Sometimes things can be published only on the internet. However, that does not always mean that journalists are not doing their job. Sometimes the situation is such that they simply can't do what they should be doing: investigate things that those in power would like to keep hidden. Even if they try, their stories won't get published. In such cases, bloggers can help journalists. Similarly, bloggers can be an excellent source of information for journalists. In turn journalists can help publicize bloggers and their topics, so that they can reach wider audience. Thus, I do not think that bloggers are a threat to conventional journalism. Rather, they complete each other.

That doesn't mean that journalists and traditional media should't re-think their position. I am convinced that their key advantage are stories written with the aid of novelistic techniques: about people around us, life we are living, and especially things we should care about. These stories have a beginning, middle and end, a character who is the hero of the story, scenes and dialogue. Evertyhing that makes the reader keep on reading it.

Internet helps us focus on things they are most interested in. But we need more. We need to learn about things that we are not otherwise interested in. How would have the American society developed, had not the media told it the stories about the injustice the African Americans experienced in Deep South in the 1950s? If the Americans had read only about things they were interested in, they wouldn't have known about segregation in schools and elsewehere and things wouldn't change for the better.

If we read on internet only what we want to know, we miss things we should know. And these are the things that traditional media (usually) provide us.

The media should rethink the form in which they present the content, and the platforom (paper, internet). However, the content (and I don't mean boring political articles about this parliament body meeting or that government press conference) should remain the same: that is things the public should know and care about.

There is a question circulating among media analyists: should newspapers dumb up or down to survive? My answer is up, of course. Newspapers should carry well researched stories written in an attractive and readable way, and these stories should help to understand, not judge.

What do you think?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Let's find a media outlet, shall we

Today I was talking to a group of collegues about the media situation in Slovenia and one of them joked that we actually cannot talk about the media in Slovenia, as there aren't any left. In fact, he added, we could perhaps write a story on how to find one.

It wasn't funny at all. After being away for a while (due to maternity leave) I am not used to pessimistic conversations which can be heard in different newspapers or journalists gatherings. And it depressed me to hear them. One could say, even if things are so bad, you have a choice: take it or leave it.

But there are reasons why not leave it: one, because we love what we do. Two, where could we go (if we want to stay in media industry)? In Slovenia, I've heard, journalists are censored almost anywhere.

Of course, we could try our luck abroad. But lanugage is an important tool of the journalist. And the one s/he can muster best is his/her mother tongue. So s/he sticks to his/her country. In Slovenia, there were only few new publications launched recently (among them National Geographic Slovenia, Jaz, Arzenal). The question is how many of them will survive in the long run. Besides, they look for contributors, not employed journalists.

And on the top of all that I checked the blogs on my blogroll today, and I saw that one of the journalistic blogs was turned into a pet blog. I wonder why? Perhaps because pets are a much safer topic? After all, journalists have to pay bills, dont' they? For the same reasons they keep signing new contracts which among other things prohibit them to criticize their emloyers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stories and Miracles

There has been an interesting debate going on Jaz.si blog. Actually, two of them. One about stories and the other about quality media.

It is hard to compare Slovene media scene with, for example, American one. In Slovenia, there are less readers and less money for good media. But on the other hand, it is somehow easier for a young journalist to join the ranks of the best media. This could/should result in better, more inovative and open media (because of the freshness of the mind and the willingness to change things).

But it is not so.

In fact, the media in Slovenia are behind the media from abroad at least in one thing: the story format. Research in USA as well as Slovenia proved that readers love good stories. Nevertheless, stories are almost non-existant in Slovene media. Only few journalists write them and they probably fight daily to have them published, because there are few editors who appreciate them.

So, although it it is easier for a Slovene student of journalism to get a job for example at Delo, Dnevnik or Mladina, as it is for a student in USA to get a job with any of the quality national or regional dailies (a friend of mine was looking for an un-paid internship at the Kansas City Star while a master student; she was interviewed for two hours for the position of a copy-editor and she didn't get it; there were no journalist positions available at all), it is perhaps more challenging to be a rookie in America. Because many of the bright and perspecitve Slovene journalism students end up writing news in the form of inverted pyramid from the pseudo-events such as press conferences for the rest of their career. They are not told to go out, find real people, see what is going on, and write stories about the present Slovenia, or experiment with the form.

An American student might be instructed to do just that. And if not, he/she can find many how-to information and examples of good stories, and if he/she really want to write stories, he/she will probably have the oportunity to look for a job opening somewhere else.

It would be so good (almost a miracle) if somehow the newspaper editors/publishers would somehow realize that readers really want good stories (which can be about different topics, even politics which seems to be the priority in Slovenia) and let journalists write them.

I do not understand why Guardian, NYT (check out their most popular stories), the Independent, and many other media, that are seen as a role model, publish stories on their front pages, while the (daily) media in Slovenia usually stick to the government press conferences? What makes us so different from them? Are we more smart? Do we know better?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Sometimes one needs to hide away from the world. I was/am there now. After the holidays and the December holiday rush I felt I need to take a break and retreat to my private space. Hence, the silence on the blog.
Luckily, the outside world sometimes enters my private one, too, and it gives me an excuse to comment upon. I know the topic has been already discussed, but I still have a need to add my opinion.
I am talking about the new version of two old TV programes Dnevnik and Odmevi (Echoes). I am not going to discuss the looks of the studio (although I don't like it), but I have to express my disappointment with changes of the content. I felt that the idea of changing Odmevi into a monotematic programe is a bad one, and after having seen the new version I can say I was right. The news programe which was probably the best on television and which won - and rightly so - many awards has been ruined. Why on earth would someone want to change a good and succesful programe? Legacy of Mile Vreg ought to be preserved as it was: a beacon of good television journalism. Instead, we now have a boring talk show. Aren't there enough of them? I think at least four or five tv programes build on this concept: invite two - to five people in the studio and let them talk to each; or, have one person interviewed by the reporter. Where is the space for a good story in such concept? Afterall, that's what the new Odmevi were promising to us. Such studio conversations are boring or sensationalistic; at best they are analytical. But they have nothing in common with stories.
I do not think that the reason for such a bad idea is politics only. There are probably other reasons, too, of which I do not know. The question is why from the outside one can easily see that a bad idea is about to be realized; and why, on the other hand, it is so hard to see this from the inside?