N1 reporters win two of the most prestigious awards in Croatian journalism

06. May 2019

N1 television’s intrepid reporters Hrvoje Kresic and Ranko Stojanac won prestigious reporting awards handed out by the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND) on Friday, honouring N1 television’s commitment to true, relevant, timely and accurate reporting.

‘The power we wield is amazing’

Kresic won HND’s 2018 Journalist of the Year award for his relentless reporting on current affairs and tireless insistence day in and day out on getting answers from top government officials on a variety of controversial topics including the collapse of the giant Agrokor food and retail group which rocked the nation.

In his acceptance speech, Kresic reminded his colleagues that they themselves carry part of the blame for what is often thought to be the generally poor condition that Croatian journalism is in.

“It would perhaps be easy to use this occasion to criticise the people we are already critical of every day, like the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic or the President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. However, I would like to use this opportunity to criticise the profession itself. We tend to complain over our circumstances, and we often have reasons to, but at the same time it is fascinating how much we ourselves undermine our own work every day,” Kresic said.

In a bizarre incident in November last year, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic wrestled away the microphone from Kresic as he was asking her to explain her decision not to travel to Marrakech to attend the signing of the UN global agreement on migrants even though she had supported it earlier.

“I’m certain that there are many of us here who are aware that we are sometimes ‘in bed’ with our enemy… who don’t always follow through with our reporting as much as we should, who are pleased when they get invited to lunches (by powerful people), and who think we are doing the right thing. We are not doing the right thing… The power that we wield is amazing, as is the responsibility that we have – and knowing this is the only was we can do what society expects us to do,” Kresic added.

‘This is the first award of my career’

Ranko Stojanac, a seasoned television reporter who had spent most of his career with the state broadcaster HRT before joining N1 in May 2018, won the 2018 Television Journalism award for his reporting on the collapse of the shipbuilding industry at the Uljanik shipyard in Pula and the 3. Maj shipyard in his hometown of Rijeka.

“Today just happens to be May 3. And today yet another court hearing deciding on whether Uljanik Group would go bankrupt has been postponed. Many of you don’t know the difference between the company and the same-named shipyard. But that’s not the problem, and the problem is not that I do. The real problem is that those who should know the difference don’t.”

Apart from reporting accurately and timely on the collapse on the largest industry in the area, Stojanac also managed to put a human face on the demise of the shipbuilding industry without overplaying the human interest angle often associated with Croatian journalism.

“I used my instincts to report on this story, I avoided giving it an overly sentimental angle, I did not want to defend the government’s role in this, but also I didn’t want to point fingers. I think this story is like a microcosm of modern Croatia – you’ve got sheep, you’ve got some very wicked characters, and you’ve got people who have no clue about their own job… I think all the misery of Croatian workers was put on display here, but the story also laid bare the complete confusion, and I might say wickedness, of Croatia’s government,” Stojanac said.

Although Stojanac had previously spent quarter of a century at HRT’s bureau in Rijeka where he slowly became a household name, it was only at N1 that he managed to get the recognition his work deserved.

“This is my first award in my entire career, except in elementary school once when I got a band-aid across my mouth… I hereby thank my cameraman Sanjin Klipa and N1 television, which finally let me pull the band-aid off my mouth.”


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