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?