For the Third Time, the SAJ Students Visited Several Media Outlets in Bucharest

One of the nice traditions that has been launched at the School of Advanced Journalism in recent years is the study visit to Bucharest. This year’s students were not an exception, and on April 22-24 they got to see the most important editorial offices in Romania. The visit lasted three days, during which emerging journalists and some of the former graduates saw how various media outlets across River Prut work. The young people met several journalists and sought to hear professional secrets from them.

On the very first evening, the SAJ students met journalists Ana-Maria Luca (Balcan Insight) and Ana Poenariu (RISE Romania). Discussion focused mainly on war journalism and on the ways to cover armed conflicts in the media. “In this field, it is not about courage, but more about the journalist’s curiosity,” said Ana-Maria Luca, who had been reporting about the situation in the Middle East a few years ago and had gone through real moments of horror. Ana Poenariu, in her turn, shared ideas on how, when you talk with authorities, to ask questions in such a way that you always get the necessary answer.

The first working day began with a visit to DIGI 24. The SAJ students saw LIVE work on the radio DIGI FM, saw how a DJ works in a live broadcast, and found out some secrets from the hosts of the morning entertainment show “Morning’s cool with Ramona and Coțofană” on Radio PRO FM. Then, students visited editorial offices and television filming sets, saw what happens behind the cameras, and met the hosts of a morning show, its producers, cameramen, and editorial staff.

The next stop was Radio Romania. Students visited the most important departments of this public station: News, Digital Archive, Radio Library, and Radio Theater. Here, young journalists found out how radio sounds and noises are recorded and what work is done to record a play. Next, they had a meeting with journalist Maria Țoghină, a member of the Board of Administration of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company. She talked about the specificity of a radio journalist’s work, about the importance of impartiality, and, together with the School’s students, pointed out the challenges of the profession and how quality journalism is done. “Journalism needs to be done with passion. If you don’t care about what happens around you, you are not doing journalism. If you don’t dream news, you can’t write news,” Maria Țoghină said. Students wanted to know how classical radio resists in competition with online media in the age of digitalization. “We are trying to adapt to new information technologies. The thing that was lost in the battle with the Internet is the quality of news,” concluded Maria Țoghină.

The next stop was the National News Agency AGERPRES. Here, Alexandru Giboi, the outlet’s general director, spoke with students about the agency’s mission, the purpose of the press, the trends of tomorrow’s journalism, and “survival” on the media market. The young journalists found out that today it is no longer enough to be very good in just writing news. A modern journalist who is just starting in the media or who already works should adapt to changes and accept challenges. According to Alexandru Giboi, on the labor market there will always be demand for a journalist who can write, film, edit, take professional photos, and, last but not least, have entrepreneurial thinking. “Promotion of an accomplished journalist is the pinnacle of the profession,” he said. At the end of the meeting the SAJ student watched and analyzed a fragment of the film “The Great Union – 100 Years of Romania,” produced by the AGERPRES team.

In what direction does journalism move? What media do young people “consume” today and what will the profession of journalist look like tomorrow? The SAJ students discussed these questions at a coffee with Cristina Lupu, program director at the Independent Journalism Center in Bucharest. The expert underlined that the press will survive only with the help of new technologies, as, in her opinion, the journalist of the future cannot exist without minimum programming skills. “A modern journalist has to master several forms of journalism. You will not be able to practice this profession without technology. Use social media in you favor and try to see new technologies as your allies, not enemies,” Cristina Lupu said.

The second day brought us to PRO TV Bucharest, where our host was reporter Vitalie Cojocari, who began his career at Pro TV Chisinau and used to be a trainer at the SAJ. He led us to the newsroom, showed us the studio where La Măruță show is filmed, and made us a great surprise – a meeting with the well-known presenters of the morning news – Mihai Dedu, Lavinia Petrea, and Florin Busuioc. The young journalists wanted to know at what time PRO TV stars begin their working day, how they manage to fight sleep, and what their professional secrets are. All three presenters mentioned that journalism is not only what you see on TV, but it is a titanic work that you do behind the screen, and “the success or failure of a newscast depends on each reporter in part.”

Before saying goodbye to PRO TV Bucharest, Vitalie Cojocari told the students that the most important thing for a journalist is to know how and where to find news: “The other skills needed to a reporter will come with time, I am convinced now.” Vitalie encouraged students to stay in the media, not to give up before starting the big battle with the profession, and to keep getting better.

Next, we went to one of the oldest news portals in Romania, Ziare.com. Bogdana Boga, editor-in-chief, told us about the changes and transformations the website had gone through in recent years, and about the need and importance of adapting classical journalism to new information technologies. Discussion also focused on the importance of quality media: “It is better to issue news later and not be the first, but to make that news accurate and of good quality.” Students further addressed the issue of fake news, highlighted the importance of using social media, and analyzed the trends of modern journalism. “Always choose reliable sources,” said Bogdana Boga at the end of the meeting.

We then went to Adevărul Holding, where we were met by Dan Marinescu, editor-in-chief, and Monika Krajnik, editor for foreign events. The journalists discussed with the SAJ students about the “battle” between print media, television, and online media, about the slow but sure fall of print media, and analyzed the website Adevărul.md, which had been for over two years managed by a graduate of the SAJ’s 2015-2016 class, Iurii Botnarenco. Monika had only words of praise for our former student, mentioning his professional growth. The students wanted to know how to keep your image, maintain a brand in time, and create quality content. At the end of the visit, Dan Marinescu and Monika Krajnik offered to beginner journalists some advice on how NOT to do journalism. “Never mislead the public. Give accurate and quality information to the reader. Finally, try to do everything out of passion,” the journalists added.

The last destination in Bucharest was Radio Europa FM. Together with our host, journalist Liliana Nicolae, who is also the trainer of the Radio Journalism course at the SAJ, the students visited the outlet’s studios, spoke with its team of reporters, and stopped for a discussion with Teodor Tiță, director of News Europa FM. He asked the students why they chose to come to journalism – a job that “involves responsibility and conscience.” In his opinion, you cannot be a journalist if you don’t seek news as soon as you wake up and are not interested in what happens around you at every moment. The students wanted to know about trends and what will happen with tomorrow’s radio. At the end of the visit, young people noted some tips from Teodor Tiță. “Read more. Be at the center of the world and amid events. Look at what foreign journalists do and learn from the best ones. In journalism, you must matter,” said the director of News Europa FM.