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Serbian Journalists Visited Media Outlets In Denmark

14.07.2015  15:47

As a part of the project the Embassy is conducting together with the Slavko Curuvija Foundation, several Serbian journalists visited media outlets in Denmark.

Two of them afterwards published these articles telling about their experiences:


"Denmark- it sure is cold, but the standard is high"

By Vitomir Ognjatovic

Original article in Serbian:

I had the opportunity of visiting Denmark for about ten days, as a part of a program organized by the Slavko Curuvija Foundation, in cooperation with the Royal Danish Embassy in Serbia, with the aim of getting the leading people from the Serbian media to try implementing positive experiences and good practices from the Danish media.

Among the media that we also have visited was Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark's leading daily newspapers also known for the Muhammad cartoons controversy 2005-2006. Because of this, their offices look more like a fortification rather than a business facility.

Regardless of the noticeable differences in cultural, economic and social perceptions, there are certain disproportions when it comes to our understanding of freedom and responsibility, which in fact are the basic foundations of a healthy society, social awareness and commitment to clear values.

Denmark is among the countries with relatively high taxes rates and deductions from the citizen´s salaries, so if we assume that the average salary is 3,500 euros, there is a "challenge" for committing the acts of corruption. However, at the same time, Denmark is among the countries with very low levels of corruption, and they are even quite allergic to it, that is, there is a huge public interest and pressure to speak about this issue.

If there is no problem of corruption in Denmark, what do the journalists then deal with and where is the investigative journalism, you might be wondering?

Every research that is based on the protection of citizens' interests can be classified into this category, and there is an abundance of topics, both local and global ones, but from the perspective of their impact on citizens. That is why they have research correspondents all over the world.

You're probably wondering about their financial structure, or who and how pays for all of that.

The answer is simple: the citizens.

Over 70% of the media profits come from subscriptions in different shapes and models, depending on the assessment of the management in each of these media, whether they are local, regional or national, and the subscriptions are usually not cheap at all.

I am particularly interested in a model found in one of the national media where "informative facts" are free of charge and available on online channels. What you actually pay for are the journalistic texts, their research and background stories, views from a different perspective, etc.

Thus, citizens want to pay for having a good journalistic text.

Some nonbelievers might say: "It is easy for them who receive a salary of 3,500 euros, if I had such money, I would pay too."

Would they really pay? Frankly I don´t think so, because it is not so much about the money as much it is about the awareness and the importance that the press freedom have to society and its development. It is also about consciousness that we (still) do not have.

I state as an example a detail from our everyday life, on the question why people buy "Informer", you get an answer: well, it is the cheapest newspaper you can get. It's not about money.

For the most things in life we can say that someone has already experienced them and lived through it, probably learned something and shared it with the world, so there is no need to always invent "hot water" and to live under the illusion that we are the smartest, that we can invent stuff better, faster and better, instead of just "copying".

Sometimes it seems to me that we do not understand the meaning of freedom and that we usually identify it with certain hedonistic activities instead of thinking in the context of freedom of choice in the broadest sense.

The freedom to choose where we want and how to want to be educated, freedom to a medical treatment, to travel, to learn and communicate, freedom to save and to spend the money how we want, freedom to a wish to evolve as a society, to respect and the freedom to change the freedoms that we have or don´t have.

Nobody gave them these freedoms and the consciousness, because it is not something that is given, it is rather something that they fought for as a nation and are aware of the need to nurture them and passionately guard them.



"A Journey To The Future"

By Miša Dragin, editor of Kikindske.

Original article in Serbian: 

As it usually happens, while Kikindske were going through the toughest days in their eighteen-year-old history, that is, during the period where we did not print the newspapers, there came an invitation from the Royal Danish Embassy and the Foundation Slavko Curuvija with the request that someone from our newsroom visits the leading media outlet in Denmark- JP/ Politiken Hus. For some reasons, which will stay a small editorial secret, the choice has come down to me, technical editor of Kikindske and an author of this article.

The visit lasted for five days and besides the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, where we spent two days, we also spent the last three days in Aarhus, second largest city in Denmark. The team which consisted of Vitomir Ognjanovic, one of the founders and the director of the regional portal "Juzne vesti" from Nis, and Dejan Miladinovic, owner and chief editor of the paper "List" from Kragujevac, was led by Ilir Gasi from Slavko Curuvija Foundation.

The aim of this trip was to get familiar with the ways of doing business within Danish newspapers and to understand their struggle with the global trend of reducing printed editions and switching to internet publications. Presented business models are, of course, not something that we could just copy in Serbia, but it is certain that we could use these experiences in the future when/if media business here becomes less dependent on the political happenings and more on the market ones. As for the fight for the readers who do not want to make their hands dirty with printer´s ink, we had a chance to hear and see some different ways which will be of great use for Kikindske during the creation of the new web site.

Most of this business journey, as I mentioned, we spent in Århus, visiting Jyllands-Posten, which several years ago partnered with one of its biggest competitors Politiken from Copenhagen, JP/Politiken hus. It is interesting that these newspapers, besides the fight on the market, also have different political views. Jyllands-Posten belongs to the right centre, while Politiken represents the left centre, but they managed to find a way to team upgy in spite of all the differences and to cherish the good tradition of conflicts of opinions and almost completely different views on many issues concerning Danish society. Meetings in the newsroom of JP were interesting also due to the fact that these are the newspaper that were local for many years, but today there the one of the most important national daily papers in Denmark. The fact that they come from so-called province and the fact that they have different views on the topics from the competing daily newspapers mostly from Copenhagen, is something that all the journalists and employees of JP take a pride in.

Lokal Avisen, the local newspaper which we also visited in Århus, are also a part of JP/Politiken Hus and while they have a small newsroom, they have a large number of commercial. Nevertheless, they have very good articles and there is no way that you can call them an advertising pamphlet. Since they are local small-town newspaper and cannot really be compared to the large national newspapers, they deal with the stories of ordinary small people from the neighbourhood and what it was the most interesting thing to me is that they do not write the reports about local politics from the townhouses, they are only dealing with the decisions that the local authorities have taken and how they have affected the local society.

The last two days we spent in Copenhagen visiting Politiken daily newspaper, which with more than 90 other magazines and dozens of websites in Denmark and Sweden form the abovementioned media outlet- JP/ Politiken Hus. Presentation of the ways in which it is possible to switch to digital editions selling was completely different from the one in Århus, but equally interesting and, I believe, useful.

The visit to Denmark was very arduous with many meetings that very interesting, and the hosts were always on time, courteous and willing to debate and exchange the opinions. At one of the meetings on the initial slide of a presentation it was written "Welcome", which I, of course, found lovely. Also when I was explaining the reasons why our account was blocked and why we could not print the newspaper, I heard the remark of Jorgen Ejbøl, Chairman of the Board of JP/ Politiken Hus, that the "tax government in Serbia does not have the same treatment for TV Pink and for Zeljko Mitrovic" and I felt more than privileged to have had the opportunity to spend those few days in Denmark.

About the Slavko Curuvija Foundation

The initiative for the establishment of the Foundation has been launched by Jelena and Rade Curuvija, daughter and son of Slavko Curuvija. With the help of friends from the NGO sector and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from New York, the Slavko Curuvija Foundation commenced operating in November 2013. The goals of the foundation are to improve the quality of journalism in Serbia, giving support to the local media and investigative journalism, as well as work with young people entering the world of journalism.

Jyllands-Posten and caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005

Jyllands-Posten came into the focus of the public eye in September 2005. after the Muhammad cartoons controversy, that is after publishing 12 editorial cartoons most of which depicted Muhammad. This was a satirical illustration of an article that, among other things, talked about self-censorship and freedom of speech, after a Danish writer stated that there is not an illustrator in Denmark who would agree to draft the drawings in a children's Book of Muhammad, except anonymously.
Cartoons sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world, resulting in the editorial staff sending the two open letters in which where they explained that they did not want to insult any Muslims and they expressed regret for the occurred inconvenience. Jyllands-Posten has had high measures of security ever since, which were also intensified after the Hebdo massacre earlier this year in Paris.


About the newspapers

Sales of the newspapers on the newsstands, that we are used to over here, almost does not exist in Denmark. A common method of selling of the printed editions is through subscriptions. This kind of sale allows both journalists and editors to meet their readers much better. For example Jyllands-Posten knows that 80 % of their readers own a house and they therefore ensure that articles about real estate are regularly present in the paper. JP has digitized its entire archive and is now able to show its commitment to each advertiser, so that the agent who sells the advertising space can show the client on his mobile device how every ad of his company looked over the past 140 years.