Student journalists in Serbia face challenging career

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NOVI SAD, SERBIA – To combat declining press freedoms in Serbia, student journalists are ready to take up the mantle and be the change the country needs.

“I think us young journalists have a space to make the media a better place,” said Andrea Knežević, University of Novi Sad senior.


These students are entering a profession that is not well-respected or protected. Many news outlets in the country disseminate government propaganda and not objective, truthful information, professor Jelena Kleut said.


Kleut said this biased news environment is not the only obstacle students face after graduation. Some journalists have been jailed for picking sides and questioning government decisions.


“It’s a profession that is insecure not only in terms of possible attacks to journalism but in terms of pay, in terms of working hours,” she said.


To help students understand the shortcomings of media in Serbia, Kleut said they show examples of good journalism and discuss the differences between the two.


Kleut said journalism is a calling, and she is inspired by her students’ passion for a job that has a big responsibility to the public.


Knežević and fellow student Dijana Dacin said having a platform to incite change is invaluable, despite the dark cloud surrounding journalism right now.


Knežević said she is particularly interested in working with other young people to find solutions to shared problems.


On the other hand, Dacin said she is interested in investigative journalism — even though investigative journalists are subject to harassment.


“When you finish a story and you find something that was illegal … some crime and stuff like that that can be shown to the public … then, it must be worth it,” she said.


Learning to handle yourself in spite of possible retribution from authorities is just something students have to deal with, Knežević said.


“It’s the job we chose,” she said. “We have to learn to live with it if we want to create a better media image in the future.”



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