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"Journalism is a demanding profession"

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): How do your graduates fare on the job market after finishing their studies at Comenius journalism program?

Jozef Vatrál (JV): I don't know of any of our graduates who have failed to find work. Approximately two thirds work in the media, while the rest tend to get jobs in branches related to the media.

TSS: Slovak media employers complain of a lack of talented journalists. What do you think happens to all of the good budding journalists who graduate each year?

JV:This claim comes as a surprise to me. Journalism and mass media studies are taught at five universities around Slovakia. The number of graduates should easily satisfy the needs of our media market. Therefore, I also wonder where they are. Good and qualified journalists don't just get lost. They obviously must be taking posts in mass media related fields, such as marketing, or becoming spokespeople or press agents.

TSS: Why don't they stick with journalism?

JV:Many other jobs are more lucrative. Journalism is a demanding profession, both psychologically and in terms of time. And it's also risky.

The other thing is that not every graduate is a really good journalist. The quality of a journalist is discovered and improved through practice, which is why schools should put more stress on practical training.

The current situation throughout the Slovak media education system is less than ideal, particularly in the quality of the curriculum and the technology available to facilities, as well as in the attitude of teachers toward their students and vice versa. If students want to change things for the better, they should give regular anonymous feedback to express their opinions on how their studies are going. But only about half of one percent of students ever make use of this [opportunity].

Finally, we cannot ignore that fact that in addition to media school graduates, there are also many graduates from other universities working for the media. Musical studies graduates can easily get a job writing music reviews, while a literature graduate can become a great literary critic. I think this is normal. However, I also think they should complement their skills with improved media knowledge.

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