How to Survive in the Media Scene When 90 Percent of Readers Want Free Content?

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“I think everyone in every relationship goes as far as you let them. When we arrange interviews with politicians, we immediately tell them there are no forbidden questions. Sometimes they don’t come to us but go to another television station”, said Ksenija Kardum, News Director at Nova TV during the media panel.

Leading editors also discussed whether the media are guardians of democracy or the servants of interest and capital? How much has the economic crisis in the media affected journalistic freedom? “Politicians often tend to brag and say they control the media and journalists, but that’s not the case,” says Zdravko Milinović, Editor-in-Chief of Globus magazine. Dražen Klarić, Editor-in-Chief of Večernji list, revealed that he had incidents with many people because of some articles. Among them were former Minister Martina Dalić and a story about a potential conflict of interest and former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović who didn’t like a column.

“I got in a fight with the former Prime Minister Milanović because of a column he didn’t agree with. All our journalists can write freely. We often have conflicting opinions in our redaction. But everything needs to be challenged because that is the role of a journalist, and freedom involves responsibility,” Klarić said.

‘The economic power of the media is very important for freedom and decision-making. And many print media, portals and a large part of local media are barely surviving. Newspapers are tough, but not all will survive,” Milinović analyzed.

Globus, he adds, is trying to do serious work with a lot of serious analysts and speakers, but we wouldn’t be able to survive without marketing activities. “Ad revenue was 60 percent in 2007 compared to 40 percent in sales revenue. Since then circulation has halved, and sales revenue has exceeded 55 percent compared to around 40 percent in ad revenue”, stated Milinović. “The fact that we are barely surviving makes us vulnerable. Our only allies are our readers, and we are in a situation where 90 percent of readers want free content. Our newspaper is worth less than a coffee at a gas station”, warned Robert Frank, Editor-in-Chief of Glas Istre. The leading people in Croatian media are still convinced that the quality media will survive because they still have a strong reach. Revenue from circulation cuts are compensated by new products such as special editions, special marketing projects and conferences.

„We have a very simple formula. Advertisers are attracted to viewership which comes with quality. It has been done that way for years and it is difficult to stay on that level, but the formula hasn’t changed. The second your ratings drop you are no longer interesting to advertisers. We really have to think very hard on how to make money“, noted Ksenija Kardum.