Throughout March Balkansmedia.org will present and celebrate just a few out of million women in media that are everyday breaking the barriers and paving the road for the younger generation of female journalists and media workers. In partnership with Lejla Ahmedspahić, one of the illustrators who worked on the project #ŽeneBiH we created six illustrations of amazing media workers in the Balkans in order to introduce you to women in media from your countries and countries from the region, and to share hope with younger generations of media workers that they are not alone, and that they have support and a foundation to build upon.
Today we are presenting our heroine Ana Anastasovska.
Ana Anastasovska is currently the Editor-in Chief of the online edition of Sloboden Pečat, the largest print and online media outlet in North Macedonia. In the past two years, she has been the main force behind the development of Sloboden Pečat's online edition. Ana also keeps an eye on online content production from time to time, coordinates project activities and leads her junior colleagues. With the help of USAID's BMAP, she has been a driving force behind the process of the outlet's newsroom integration.
She reports that this initiative was the biggest challenge, and the biggest novelty that she and her team have faced in their entire careers as journalists. Ana recalls, "It was very hard at the beginning. It was like working in two separate newsrooms. On the one hand, we had a handful of people in the online edition, mostly young and inexperienced journalists, but we were enthusiastic. We were learning new skills and gaining new and valuable knowledge through USAID's BMAP. On the other hand, the older colleagues could not, or simply refused to comprehend the new and demanding times in journalism. They were stuck in a time when working only for the print edition was enough.”
Sloboden Pečat’s new, modern and multimedia-rich online edition was launched on April 1, 2019. Thanks to the change in perceptions among journalists, to hard work and constantly gaining new skills and knowledge, Sloboden Pečat's online edition was listed among the ten most-popular and most-visited websites in the country within just six months. Two years later, Sloboden Pečat is still among leading media outlets on the Macedonian media market. And journalists are now more attuned to the “new times,” Ana says with a laugh.
She is a modest person, a mother of two daughters, one of whom is a national swimming champion. She enjoys riding her bike to work every single day, in the cold, heat, rain and wind, simply because she enjoys it, and because that time is her own time, without news, phone calls, or urgent matters.
Ana embarked on a career in journalism not out of necessity, but by choice. She is a graduate of political science at the biggest public university in the country, Saints Cyril and Methodius. After finishing her studies, she spent two years unsuccessfully seeking a job that would match her education.
“I entered journalism in 2008 with my mother's help, because she had been working in newsrooms her whole life. However, she was strongly against me becoming a journalist because she used to say that a journalist doesn't have free time, the profession consumes you entirely, etc. And yet, here I am, still working in this profession. And I will probably retire as a journalist and editor,” Ana adds.
Her path as a journalist wasn't easy. She started working in the City Section first, and once she proven herself worthy, she received a promotion to begin covering political events. Since 2013, she has worked as an editor. And now, eight years later, Ana belongs to a predominantly female team of section editors in Sloboden Pečat’s newsroom. However, unlike other Balkan countries, North Macedonia can count on one hand the women in managerial or editorial positions on the general media landscape.
“It is a mentality issue, and it is not only in journalism. Let's start with the local and central government positions. But, I think that a few female journalists are gaining editorial positions…slowly, maybe, and a handful of them, maybe…but there are female editors. I really hope that that situation will change in the near future,” concludes Ana.
Ana is a constant student. As she teaches young people journalism – including the basics of writing, narrative reporting and mobile journalism – she also learns from them about new trends, social media, technologies that are influencing the journalism field and new audiences.