Students abroad value press as a form of self-expression
The challanges behind self-expression in Slovakia
By Alenka VÝBOHOVÁ, Talon Staff Writer
Slovak journalism has two branches, the bad and the good journalism. Bad journalism is much more widespread and read by people who are interested in gossiping and scandals. Good journalism is read more by intellectuals, who are prepared for the truth and are interested in what’s going on around them. But there is another branch, almost hidden in the shade. I am talking about student journalism, the honest expressions of young minds.
Articles about politics, events and celebrities are available everywhere. Student magazines in Slovakia want to come up with something different. They want to highlight what young people consider right or wrong. They want to express young people’s feelings, which are not found anywhere else.
Many U.S. students have the opportunity to take a journalism classes in high school. You are able to write, take photographs and edit newspapers during school. With our student magazine in Slovakia, however, we have to do it as our own after-school activity, as we don’t have time for that during school. Because we spend our own valuable time for creating our newspaper, it is almost impossible that someone who is not fully passionate about student journalism would be involved. It takes lots of responsibility to do that, and also a bit of maturity, as we do not have an adult adviser.
Also in short supply in Slovakia is money. Many American schools provide a budget for printing the newspapers, and the rest of the money they get from publishing ads. Slovak schools do not provide any money for the student journalism; we have to raise funds on our own. That may not sound so bad, to publish some ads and find some sponsors. Maybe it is not that hard in the US, where companies compete to advertise among students. Not in Slovakia. Companies do not have money to pay their employees properly, much less to sponsor student activities. It is very hard to find sponsorship, so some editions are not printed but are published online only.
I, as an editor of a student magazine in Slovakia, can say that it is hard work to publish in my country. But it is worth it. As we do not take it for granted, we value our work much more after all the things we have to go through. But journalism was, is and will be needed and we are happy that we can publish, even if it requires much more time and effort.