Aleksandra Żaczek has been working at TVP3 Kielce for seven years as a reporter, producer, and anchor. She grew up in Kielce and after spending nearly ten years away from home. She returned to become a reporter for her local TV station.
In Poland, there is one public television broadcaster called Telewizja Polska. Their headquarters are in Warsaw but they have 16 regional branches spread out across Poland. The branches vary in size depending on the cities. Located in the south-central Poland is a city of nearly 200,000 people called Kielce. There lies TVP3 Kielce.
They are one of the smaller branches connected to Telewizja Polska. The station has around ten to twelve journalists that cover over one million people in and outside of the city. Due to size, the station finds value in multifaceted personal. “We need to be very multi-skilled, not only be journalists, not only be reporters, sometimes you need to stand up in front of the camera,” Aleksandra said.
The station does two 25-minute programs every day and posts all of their stories to their website. The station has a strong social media presence and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Their strongest following comes on Facebook where they post links to their stories. They post links instead of full stories in order to draw viewers and get more clicks on their website.
Kielce has several different platforms in which citizens can consume news. While TVP3 Kielce is the only public news station, there are a few private ones as well. Aleksandra believes that radio is the most popular news source because the public station has more reporters and reaches a wider audience being on air 24 hours a day.
Aleksandra stated that she and her colleagues share a real passion for producing the best content possible for the station. This passion is also what helps cope with the extensive workload. Aleksandra works six days a week from morning until night and is addicted to her work. “You can’t actually divide your life from your work,” she said. The hours are long and hard but she knows there is still much more to be discovered.
Poland is a country with rich history and is still evolving to this day. In 2017, Poland was ranked 54th according to the World Press Freedom Index. That’s down seven spots from 2016 due to policy changes in government. In 2015 a media law was passed giving the government direct control over public broadcasting. Aleksandra believes that these governmental restraints leave little room for the station to grow in size and production.
Because the government has control over TVP3 Kielce, there are very real questions to be raised about the validity of their reporting. Aleksandra said,
“We are based on governmental money, and that might be slightly putting the pressure on us a little bit, but I think it’s kind of like the summary of unwritten rules that most of us would follow, but at the end of the day, if there is a story that needs to be covered, it is covered.”
Aleksandra explained that while most of their stories come from inside the city of Kielce, there are important social issues that must be covered outside of it. Recently, Aleksandra received pushback from a piece she did on a local municipal leader outside of Kielce. A councilman sold public land that was supposed to be a playground to a private investor that looked to build a supermarket. After her report, there were charges brought against the councilmen. Aleksandra will be present at the future trial.
Aleksandra carries a true passion for local reporting and plans to be at TVP3 Kielce for many years to come. She knows the hours and travel will wear her down eventually, but hopes to change roles and remain with the station in the future.