OpisMEDIJavanje: Young journalists rarely have the opportunity to work in professional newsrooms


Limited opportunities to work in professional newsrooms, violations of workers’ rights, and sexism are the main challenges young Kosovo journalists face, BIRN journalist, Doruntina Baliu said. In addition to these challenges, which are not infrequent in the journalism industry in general, there are also challenges specific to Kosovo – language barriers between communities and the issue of the safety of journalists of certain ethnicities in some parts of Kosovo.

The main challenge for young journalists in Kosovo is competition, Doruntina Baliu said.

According to Baliu, although the goal of every journalism student is to work in professional media, this is not always possible due to the limited number of such media outlets.

They very often start working for a media outlet that may not deal with professional journalism. Initially, the primary need is to obtain clicks and financial stability. This prevents journalists from achieving what is best for their professional development

In addition to the professional compromises they have to make and the violation of workers’ rights, young journalists also have to pay the price for what older colleagues see as a lack of experience.

„As soon as they start working, a similar thing happens in other professions, they are often exploited, used or overburdened with work, often administrative work. They are not allowed to develop as journalists who deal with research topics. This also creates a phenomenon known as flying journalists. As journalists, they do not have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area or they do not have the space to deal with only one specific area, in order to develop and deal with significant research in that area,“ Baliu explained.

Due to Kosovo’s multiethnic character, but also tense relations between communities in certain parts of the country, journalists face additional challenges, Baliu warned.

„In our editorial office, when we prepare to go out on the field, for example in Zvecan, Leposavic or North Mitrovica, the preparations are certainly different from the usual preparations when we go out in the field anywhere else. Because there is still a risk of physical attacks or other attacks due to existing ethnic and political tensions,“ she said, adding that the language barrier is an additional obstacle.

These two problems result in the media mainly dealing with the problems of the community that speaks the language in which they report.

„Journalists in Pristina deal more with the problems of the Albanian community and those in North Mitrovica with the problems of the Serb community. Although topics in other communities are covered, it is done in a more superficial way and often does not bring to light the interests of citizens or voices that are often not heard in the media. These are mostly the voices of citizens, various NGOs, but also opposing voices of other communities.“

That is why – in the interest of better quality reporting – contact between young journalists from different communities is necessary, which is increasingly happening – Baliu stressed.

With each passing day, a greater number of journalists, especially young journalists, create contacts, a bridge of connection, to help each other with a common goal, which is to inform citizens in Kosovo in general, regardless of which part of Kosovo they live in.

Sexism and patriarchy in the media landscape

Female journalists in Kosovo also regularly face systemic sexism and patriarchal mentality, Baliu warned. Discrimination and mistreatment of pregnant women and new mothers are not uncommon, while men still dominate in managerial and editorial positions.

Baliu also underlined that the attacks on female journalists are not uncommon:

„When it comes to verbal attacks, we have noticed that usually, when it comes to attacks on women, there is a tendency to mention both the moral aspect and sexual integrity, which is not the case with men.“

The gender of journalists, with some interlocutors, can also have an influence on fieldwork.
„Often, when we are in the field, the people we interview prefer to talk to technicians, cameramen, men, rather than to female journalists,“ Baliu emphasized.

The KoSSev portal, in cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, launched a media literacy campaign. See what other journalists have had to say in the previous episodes of “OpisMEDIJavanje”:

OpisMEDIJavanje: Minority media in Kosovo are important but financially vulnerable

OpisMEDIJavanje: Even-steven, only in the interest of truth

OpisMEDIJavanje – A guide to the news you release into your world!

OpisMEDIJavanje: Fake news often lurks in headlines

OpisMEDIJavanje: Kosovo Serb journalists perceived as unfriendly and irrelevant

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