LOW WAGES AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY – JOURNALISTS AND JOURNALISM IN SERBIA

This paper discusses major findings of the research project “Profession at the Crossroads – Journalism at the Threshold of the Information Society” conducted by the Faculty of Political Sciences’ Center for Media and Media Research from July 2010 till June 2011. The aim of the project was to examine social, economic and technological qualities of the journalistic community in Serbia and its capacity to respond to challenges facing the profession regarding global media changes and domestic transitional processes. Research results indicate that journalism in Serbia is in a state of limbo, and caught between delayed transition and information society very slowly mobilizes resources to respond to the forthcoming challenges. 

CIVIL JOURNALISM IN DIGITAL 21st CENTURY

In The World’s Eternal Humming I research civil journalism in digital age (especially online journalism), its basic characteristics and attributes, its phenomenal aspects, its relation to professional journalists and bloggers as well as the cooperation of media and citizen – reporters. I also analyze the key attributes of the screen culture and the digital paradigm – the radical media convergence and information overload. The paper offers some possible answers to the following questions: how can media follow those changes, how can media discuss various matters and cooperate with their audience? What are possible ways for media to give professional help to the growing needs of the citizens to express themselves and announce their stance in the global digital network? And is it actually necessary? In the conclusion I propose a short critical review on the position and the role of the citizen (online) journalism today.

ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF JOURNALISTIC DOCUMENTARY FORMS IN PRINT MEDIA

World economy crisis, as well as the global technological and media changes, made tectonical disorder mostly in print media. For some time now, there is a question of their psychical survival. News magazines are on the hit, as their recent rolls are now taken by daily newspapers. There is a consent on social – economic and technological challenges that Serbian press has to answer, but the question – what to do with news magazines and what further, remains open. The same is with interpretation. This article is trying to find answers in journalistic documentary forms which are more and more present and which are continuation of positive journalistic interpretative evolution, through proof of necessity of bigger presence of documentary forms as specific segment of investigative journalism. Besides theoretical considerations and definitions of the most common genres, this paper, based on case study of three news magazines with biggest circulation: Vreme, NIN and Pečat, shows results of research and provides directions/recommendations for comeback of credibility and quality of referent information-political weekly news press in Serbia.

PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND TODAYS JOURNALISM

Having a vibrant media scene is a necessary prerequisite of human development and good governance. Media, as main promotors of economic, but also cultural and thereby overall humanistic values, have to involve permanently in the proces of cooperation. How much the contemporary journalism, orientated rather towards the commercialization of life in general, sensationalism and creating wrong criteria of social, accepts or refuses such a role? In media communication, however, the old patterns of misuse of the media and their freedom have not been exterminated. The paper deals with a substantial analysis of moral relativism and media socialization. The solution is not to complain and criticize. We have to admit that the audience of the media users is changing nowadays. The journalism is changing, too. The solution is not to look for the social responsibility of journalism, but of the owners as well. The solution can be found only if they look for it together, following democracracy and the developement of new media profile, wich finds the profit in truth, prosperity and social responsibility.

PRESS AT THE CROSSROADS

The changes that occur in social, technological and commercial global environment are evident in the sphere of contemporary journalism that under the onslaught of digitization, especially the Internet, is going through violent and radical transformation. Issuing of daily newspapers transformed from once a family business with tradition into a corporate challenge infected with the profit virus, so the value of the newspapers is more often measured by the realized capital at the end of the year than by credibility with readers because of the management pressure and dividends. Classic journalism sees the competition in the Internet and digital platforms, not realizing that the salvation is in the union, multimedia and convergence. Digital sources of information archive classic sources, especially the press; portals with free ads reduce income of the newspaper industry, while rumors and gossip combined with half-truths suppress expensive and exhausting investigative journalism. In these tectonic disturbances the authors see relentless struggle for survival, the crossroads of the old and the new media, battle for adjustment, where insufficient attention is given to the demands of the new audiences. The focus is on the collision of generations: on one side, young creative forces that use power of PCs and mobile, interactive technologies as their natural environment, and on the other, the older generation that refuses changes, accepting the reality defined by the classic media: television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

INTERPRETATIVITY OF NEWSPAPER REPORTING

Since the competition in the media market has been constantly growing in the last few decades, it could be expected that, fighting for citizens’ trust, media contents would become of higher quality. However, we witness that quite opposite process is ongoing and that interpretation as the core characteristic of high quality press is often neglected in the newspaper reporting. In order for readers to understand the problems journalists write about, it is necessary to present much more than just factual information to them since every reader is interested in what is happening in the society he lives in, and even more so in how such happenings will effect him personally. Exactly for this reason, there is a need to look into the interpretativity of domestic press which has gained the highest readers’ trust in the analysed period, with the aim to determine the level of interpretativity and engaged journalist approach – the basic elements of credible interpretation, yet most oftenly neglected.

GENRE FEATURES OF HEADLINES IN DAILY NEWSPAPERS

It had never happen before that the old media „die“ with the appearance of new ones. But, as a sublimation of all other media, Internet forced newspapers to make changes, so the consequences of this process will be visible and notable in future. Changes could be seen in hybridization of journalistic genres, in a situation where „pure“ genres doesn’t exist anymore. The changes are also seen at the most visible and striking part of the text – headline, which vary greatly from the theory. Analyzing four newspapers in Serbia, the author wanted to point out the frequency of the phenomenon and it’s consequences, but in the same time the autor realised that each of these newspapers is keen on keeping a specific „school“ of writing. Headline space is suitable for journalist’s and editor’s manoeuvre – headlines aren’t always reliable because of the tabloidisation demand, but also because of the lack of knowledge about journalistic genres. In this essay, the autor tried to signal frequent deviation, and point out main tendencies. 

CASE STUDY: WIKILEAKS – CHALLENGE OR ENDOWMENT TO JOURNALISM

The world fame WikiLeaks has obtained in the previous months requires a scientific investigation of this phenomenon and the establishment of the essential parameters for the influence this sort of journalism has on the mainstream and on online journalism. After the polemics about defining WikiLeaks as an organization that engages in research journalism or as information disseminator, or a media tool, this paper also offers an account of the following questions – how much of original media contents WikiLeaks offers, as well as what guarantees the authenticity of the media information on its website, and how much the alliance with the most influential print media in the world helped and which features of both the online and the traditional media WikiLeaks has adopted. In this case study, it has been examined if in WikiLeaks exists a structure of the audit of the received information, in which way the content on their website is structured and how much it is receptive to the average user. In the attempt to define the ethics in the new, electronic environment, the work deals with the difference between anonymous and unknown sources in journalism, naming persons involved, ie minimizing collateral damage during the mass document release, and with the ethical problem of bestowal of information treated as commodity.

CROATIAN JOURNALISM OF TRANSITION: THE TEST OF MATURITY AT THE BEGINNINGS OF THE DIGITAL AGE

The journalistic profession may find itself faced with a new challenge at the beginning of the digital age. During the last two decades, since the establishment of the Republic of Croatia and the beginning of the process of transition, journalism has significantly affected the sociopolitical context, but has also itself been formed by the political and social circumstances. The elements that primarily effect the process of the transition of profession are media policy, market conditions, the legislative model of public service, self-regulation, safety of journalists, education of journalists, civil society and the availability of new technologies. This paper, in the context of those parameters, views Croatian transition journalism through four chronological phases of development: journalism of the authoritarian presidential state and non-consolidated democracy, journalism under the optimism of the rise of civil society, journalism of market dictatorship and the corporative media industry and journalism of digital culture. Each phase meant progress in the development of democratic standards and freedom of profession, while the new age comes with some serious demands for the profession. Although on-line journalism is an expression of modern technology and the new age, the future and quality of the profession still depend on the respect and application of the fundamental values of the profession.