Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Serbia: Building a Business Journalism Dynamo in the Balkans


Miodrag Savic turned the leading independent news agency in Serbia into a business-reporting powerhouse in the Balkans. He introduced many new innovations that have strengthened the agency editorially and financially.

Savic developed teams of aggressive beat reporters and created the first Serbo-Croatian manual of business terminology for them. He launched the country’s only Web site that solicits news tips from citizens across the region. He convinced the agency’s management to institute weekly quality reviews to make sure the editorial staff maintains the high standards set during the fellowship. He also created a mobile news delivery service to inform clients of stories breaking on the wire. This helped attract new business.

Savic, former Belgrade bureau chief for The Associated Press, helped Beta’s reporters to break away from a tradition of accepting official information at face value. That alone has had huge impact. Reporters double checked government-issued statistics showing the country emerging from recession only to discover that the government was using a new method to analyze data that skewed the results. When the reporters reassessed the data comparing apples to apples, they determined that the economy was still in dire straits. Bureau reporters he trained uncovered an increase in injuries on construction sites because of unqualified day laborers. In response, officials announced they would double inspections of construction sites.

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