A good or bad journalist one can be in a big city and in a small town

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Source/Author: www.vijesti.me/Dragana Šćepanović
Source/Photo: PIXABAY.COM

KOLAŠIN, 26.01.2018 – These days a lot has been said about the poor position of journalists in Montenegro. Correspondents, besides those problem that they share with their colleagues from newsrooms, have a few more. Without an office, support of colleagues “when things go wrong”, without working hours, the experience of a teamwork, mostly without timely compliments and criticism from the superiors, without additional education…

“Why would anyone, if he/she doesn’t have to, be a journalist in Kolašin?” asked my friend recently. He is neither the first nor the last one interested in whether I could choose a “better, less disapproving” and “more paid” profession. I do not know if I could do anything else, but, I swear, I chose to be a journalist and “I did not lift a finger” to try to report from a bigger town.

With a few of those who chose the same or did not have any other option, I marked unofficially Day of Journalist in Kolašin. We ignored successfully personal differences and the differences of newsrooms we work for, but it remains unclear whether in those half an hour of socializing we thought really about each other, and about ourselves, as “true” journalists. Journalists working in small towns have never successfully overcome inferiority complex. Accordingly that is how, compliments to exceptions, correspondents are treated as well in their newsrooms. Example that illustrates this is the situation which happened a few years ago when one of “media wolves” downgraded other “giving” him “the workplace of the correspondent from Šavnik”. Even when this is not the case, no matter how important local topics we dealt with, at one point we are defeated by the fact that “everything important happens in Podgorica” or “downhearted” by a small number of story views, in which we invested many days, a lot of effort and because of which we gained everlasting enemies in our closest environment. Eventually, we begin to torture ourselves with “awareness” that “great” stories are accidental in provinces, and that we are important to our newsroom as much as we have space on the front page.

These days a lot has been said about the poor position of journalists in Montenegro. Correspondents, besides those problem that they share with their colleagues from newsrooms, have a few more. Without an office, support of colleagues “when things go wrong”, without working hours, the experience of a teamwork, mostly without timely compliments and criticism from the superiors, without additional education… In addition, the effort to find, in any aspect dying environment, which has less inhabitants than a suburb of the capital, a topic every day. Reporting from a small place entails a lot of issues that journalists from big cities do not endure; among other, it means meeting at least once a day in the street, in a café, in someone’s house … a person that you mentioned in the article the previous day, a person that you criticized, whose misuses you uncovered…

It means, in places with several thousand inhabitants, that you will often write about a cousin, a friend of a friend, godfather’s brother, your neighbor, someone than has helped you once or who hurt you. Being a correspondent from a small town means that instead of writing responses or denials, those who do not like your writing will “feel free” to stop you on the street and tell you their objections, without choosing words. It means, of course, that you will endure for a long time consequences, hostility and revenge of everyone you have made angry. After years of such writing, there is only a small number of those you warmly greet, and only a small number of those who are able to separate personal and professional issues. It’s hard and uncomfortable, in a place in which by the rule one should live “not offending anyone”, and in which every criticism is whispered and under the code ”You did not hear it from me”, to sign the truth with name and surname. At the top of it, if you receive a salary lower than the average at the state level, then, really, why would do that if you are not forced or you cannot do anything else?

Here is the answer to a friend who asked that question quoted at the beginning, but also a reminder to myself and fellow correspondents from this less fortunate part of Montenegro. A good or bad journalist one can be in a big city and in Šavnik, Andrijevica, Plav, Kolašin…A bad and good person, too. Journalists’ Code, can be consistently respected or ignored anywhere. “Great” and “small” journalistic stories are measured, in addition to number of readers, by changes for the better that followed them and with how much responsibility they are written. Yes, fellow correspondents, we are “real” and “great” journalists, as much as we successfully search for the truth, even when we write about an open pit in neighborhood of our town.