I Work, therefore I Exist!
Work is sacred! Don’t touch it! – 10th Commandment of a lazy man
I’m 29; profession – journalist.
I have 11 years of professional experience and have worked for absolute majority of Georgian magazines and newspapers.
The reason was that I could not stay more than 6 month at any job – either a publication would close down, or salary was not satisfactory, or I had a conflict with management, again because of the low salary.
The most important was that I worked for all the publications only based on verbal agreement. Before coming to Media.ge I have never made a contract which would regulate cooperation between my employer and me.
That was probably one of the reasons that I mostly faced loss.
Relations looked a lot like elections – it would start with promises that I would have high salary, stabile rubrics in each issue that there would be no censorship, but would be bonuses and etc.
As soon as I would start it would appear that paper price went up, that sales decreased, that editor’s son got married and thousands of other “thats.”
The result would always be decrease in salary, followed with a conflict with management and my unemployment; again and again… permanently…
That’s why I decided to write this blog – this problem is not just because of my bad character.
It’s always like this in Georgian printed press.
There are several factors that cause our unstable revenues and quite often unemployment:
- Georgian printed media has few readers; those who want to read newspapers cannot afford them and those who have money have no time to read;
- Most selling in printed media is the so called “yellow press” which results in unequal distribution of attracted advertisements – advertisers mainly pay to “yellow” magazines and newspapers which causes even more loss to the already poor publications working with other topics;
- Newspapers have lost recreation function. 90% of newspapers are political, which decreases demand among readers. Those who can afford newspapers prefer to watch a movie, play a video-game.
- Newspapers cannot afford hiring qualified staff so they prefer to have student-interns and pay them less, or not to pay at all. Accordingly a contract with free interns is not obligatory, so as long as there is a precedent of cooperation without contract, newspapers often completely refuse making employment contracts.
- Expenses almost always exceed revenues. Office rent, electricity and cleaning fees are often several times more than monthly revenues. Naturally newspapers have only two ways out – either to change the gendre and become “yellow” for attracting advertisements, or act according to someone’s political interests and have editorial policy coinciding with somebody’s opinion.
- Due to all the above mentioned and mostly because of the fifth reason, the rights of hired journalists are permanently in danger. Publication executing political orders will never print an article going against political interests of its funder; journalists have two solutions – either to write what is ordered, or to leave publication.
I’ve already told you above what I do in such cases.
The problem is that there is no point in going to court. Document regulating rights and obligations of parties does not exist.
So rights of journalists in Georgian printed media are just as reliably protected as Georgian football team in a match against Italian national team.
After many years when Georgia will be a country like England with successful economy and true democracy, when all families will be rich and when every morning head of every family will before going to work in the morning will drink tea and read newspapers, that’s when Georgian printed media will finally be saved!
That’s my personal opinion!
See you later!