|From journalist to covrigi baker?|
The best thing to remember when you're researching a new country is that it's not on Mars - it's practically just around the corner, and you can ask the people there questions.
I mentioned earlier that I'd joined a couple of expat groups online, and managed to make a very useful contact: one of the main English-language publishers in Romania. Here's a message I got from him, related to the media situation in Romania at present.
Journalists are facing very tough times, as many media papers closed down.For any first-time visitors here, I'm particularly interested in the Romanian media landscape because I'm a journalist in South Africa, both by trade and by education. I must admit, the publisher's response doesn't exactly fill my heart with joy.
Being a publisher myself I also know the very tough advertising market in Romania.
A mid level journalist would make around EUR 400-500 nowadays. Most of the journalists do PR now for corporates and make almost double that amount.
"Tough times", weak advertising market, low salaries and journalists exiting the industry ... yeah, it's not exactly looking like a dream career in Romania. Why didn't I study something which is actually in demand, like Computer Programming (a big hit in Cluj I hear)?
Something I noted to another guy in Romania I'm chatting to is that it seems most expats landing in the country immediately start a blog, and write a book about Romania. Well, I've got a jump-start on them with my blog already here I guess, lol. I seriously don't think I need to dump another book into the market upon arrival, which would be tough to do anyway thanks to the weak advertising market alluded to above.
What to do, what to do. If you have any bright ideas for an English-speaking journalist operating in Romania, feel free to give me a shout. Alternatively, I could always just go make covrigi outside Gara de Nord - apparently that's another big hit.
Oh, as a side note: one of my best rediscoveries was the Google Translate for Chrome plug-in. Google now conveniently translates all Romanian websites into English with a single right-click on a website. Who cares if the grammar is a bit messed up? At least my reading pool has expanded dramatically while I'm still struggling with learning Romanian.