Interview with Mr. Jakub Kurek

Interview with Mr. Jakub Kurek, a journalist from Góral Info

 

You work in the Podhale media. How much space there is committed to ecology, environmental protection or renewable energy sources?

At the beginning of the 21st century, Podhale region was certainly a place where such issues were not broadly discussed in political or media debate. In fact, only the topic of geothermal energy that has been used in our area for touristic, recreational and heating purposes gained a lot of interest. We are, of course, talking about PEC Geotermia Podhalańska S.A. Local media, but also those with a nationwide coverage, informed about the phenomenon of Podhale in this respect. Thanks to this information, which effected in the promotion of the concept and of the region, many geothermal initiatives are currently developed in our Sub-Tatra region. A breakthrough in topics related to environmental protection was brought by the smog issue, particularly noticeable in Rabka-Zdrój and Nowy Targ.

What then has changed during the smog media hype?

Neither local governments nor the media could have avoided this topic. It is known that in previous years smog was there and it has not appeared all of a sudden. This problem existed a few or a dozen years ago. Our task was to assess the activities of local politicians in this matter. And unfortunately, many nationwide media were right, even mentioning my hometown – Rabka. This is why we try to show that not all of activities were correct and much more could have been done in the matter of environmental protection and air pollution. We have to take into account the when we prepare stories or articles, we are exposed to the authorities remarks that because of us towns and villages lose their image and tourists. However, please remember that the journalistic mission requires us to call a spade a spade, and thus we do not spare praise, but also critical remarks where they belong. The aim of these activities is to encourage and sometimes even force local governments to work intensively for the benefit and development of the region.

Do local governments make attempts to cooperate with local media on this topic? Is there any improvement in this relationship?

Of course, the improvement can be seen. Politicians usually prefer to talk more about small successes than big failures. Our portal and newspaper “Góral Info” often informs about calls for EU projects in the matter of photovoltaic installations or boilers replacement. What makes me very happy is that local governments transmit such content on their own cooperating with us. It should also be noted, that in recent years there have been more and more pro-ecological initiatives in our area and our cooperation has been very good in these matters. Sometimes, however, we would rather write about thousands of thermally insulated homes or the above mentioned boilers, than about fines imposed for burning garbage and another trees felling. Unfortunately, if it comes to contentious issues, it is harder for us to get along, and our main goal is after all to provide reliable information and we will not give it up.

At the Central European Energy Forum in Kraków, in one of the discussion panels, the topics of the role of the media in promotion of pro-ecological undertakings and possibilities of cooperation between the media and representatives of science, business and local governments were discussed. What does it look like at your side?

It will be immodest to say that without us, many pro-ecological actions would not have taken place to such an extent. Every initiative related to ecology is intensively promoted by us. We try to be open to cooperation because it brings mutual benefits. If only we see an interest on the other side, we are seeking to expand it. Most importantly, in the pages of our newspaper and online portal, we provide materials sent to us by readers, and anyone willing to share their experiences and reflections is invited to cooperation. The published texts do not need to be written only by journalists. It is also worth getting to know the view of the society or the science world on subjects related not only to environmental protection. The strategy the media take is also an important thing. Some of them do not wish to cooperate with the society, and only want to make the most of it. Without media – society relationship, we would not have a place in such a specific local market as the Podhale region.

I believe that the Central European Energy Forum is an event that creates many opportunities for cooperation between highly diverse target groups such as entrepreneurs, scientists or politicians. I am convinced that its next edition will reassure me in this belief. I would like to encourage my colleagues – journalists to take part in the next edition of this event.

 

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