The Best of GRReporter
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We are being interviewed:

14 December 2011 / 14:12:47  

Maria is one of those valuable people who you probably do not know.
That is why we are glad that she agreed to be interviewed for and tell about herself, the GRReporter project and the neighbourly relations with Greece.
Enjoy it!

Q: Introduce yourself.
A: I have been a journalist for over 20 years now. I worked in newspapers, radios and televisions, but I have found myself in online media as they are enabling the journalist to use all the means of written speech, visual arts and interactive images to send his or her message.
Q: How did you decide to start the GRReporter project?
A: GRReporter started as news website with news from Greece in Bulgarian language. I have been living in Athens for many years and I noticed how meagre, inaccurate and biased the information about Greece was in the Bulgarian media. We decided to fill this gap with news and analysis from the scene, with our interviews with key players from the Greek political, economic, social and cultural life. Then, we found out that there was not many quality English-language news from Greece and we started the English version of our site. I dare say that GRReporter has established itself as one of the most reliable sources of information from Greece and the evidence for this is both our readers and our colleagues, journalists in media from around the world, who are increasingly using the information on our website and refer to it. Finally, we started a page with news from Bulgaria in Greek language. Because what I have said about the information from Greece in the Bulgarian media applies to the information from Bulgaria in the Greek media. This is a strange Balkan phenomenon of ignorance, underestimation and disregard for the neighbour, which we decided to change. This is how GRReporter has developed to what you see now.
Q: What is the biggest challenge related with the project?
A: For me, the biggest challenge of GRReporter project is the formation of the team behind it. You know, when people are professionals and they love their work, the results seem to come alone. I am proud of our journalists who are the best the college in Bulgaria and Greece can offer and they are in no way inferior to the standards in any media worldwide. But as you know, working in a media is not just journalism any longer. We have a dedicated team of translators who are our right hand in order our information to reach to audiences in three languages. Our computer experts’ exceptional professionalism shapes the modern, interactive, multimedia aspect of GRReporter.
Q: What did you learn about the Internet users after the site has run at full speed?
A: Internet users are an extremely well educated, informed and intelligent audience, whose attention is very difficult to hold. Competition in the global network is huge and there is no room for complacency. To create a nice news website is not enough. You should also think how it could reach to the users as quickly and easily as possible. That is why we have developed the iPhone and iPad GRReader application, which has proved to be very successful. Moreover, we are present in social networks, where a GRReporter community has also formed, the members of which comment, like and share. We try to be helpful to our readers with information. We offer a very interesting job notices to which there is a great interest. Many of the visitors just want to have fun. Therefore, we have a lottery, online backgammon, but the biggest surprises in games are to come.
Q: Which of the expectations associated with the GRReporter platform have come true, and which have not?
A: I was mainly expecting that the work in GRReporter would be creative, inspiring and obsessed and it is completely true. All of us, who are part of this team, we do not lose our enthusiasm for a moment and I think that the fulfilment of the work done is our greatest reward. As I look around, I see that not many people are so happy with the work they do and it makes me feel privileged. Of course, there are projects within GRReporter, which I would not say were not successful but the efforts we put in them were not equivalent to the results we got and we decided to suspend them for some time. One such project was our music chart GRR Hot15, which was conceived as a mix of the best of the Bulgarian, Greek and world pop music. We were not satisfied how our readers perceived it and stopped it. We are looking for partners, ideas, and at one point, it will reappear and much more attractive though.
Q: The results of which poll on the website surprised you the most?
A: The poll is one of the most dynamic sections of GRReporter. User participation in it is rising in all three versions of the site. A few weeks ago, we had a poll on who will be the next prime minister of Greece. In it, the readers had to choose between three possible options, two unlikely and an absurd option. Well, our readers in the three versions, i.e. in Bulgaria, Greece and those from around the world who read the site in English, preferred unanimously the absurd option and unanimously again ranked second one of two unlikely options. This is surprising at first glance, but it shows how much people have lost confidence in the Greek political system and they just do not believe that it is able to offer any solution to the problems of the country.
Q: How the attitude of Bulgarians towards the crisis in Greece could be summarized?
A: You know, I am very disappointed with how Bulgarians look at the crisis in Greece. If you look at the comments, not only in GRReporter, but also in any article about the Greek crisis, you will see a lot of malice, gloating and revenge. It is just amazing how the Bulgarians, who are extremely tolerant to the nuisance and stupidity of their own political class, have suddenly become so principled and uncompromising towards their neighbours, who are really experiencing difficult times. I think the obscenity and aggressiveness with which we react to the Greek crisis are unworthy of us. We should have been more restrained and big-hearted. Restraint and big-heartedness are always signs of superiority. On the contrary, arrogance and gloat are signs of complexes.
Q: What is the other most interesting news about our neighbours (except for the crisis) in the past year?
A: Unfortunately, the crisis is so deep that it marks on all aspects of life. And yet a very interesting news is that despite the crisis, 2011 is the most successful year for Greek tourism in general. The other interesting news is that the Athens airport has the largest photovoltaic park in the world. Interesting is the news that the long-awaited trial against the members of the Revolutionary Struggle terrorist organization has begun. This is the organization, which fired a rocket at the building of the USA embassy in Athens in January 2007. Furthermore, the Greek justice finally has undertaken the case of match fixing and corruption in football. A magnificent news in the summer were the three highly successful performances of Shakespeare's "Richard III" on the stage of the ancient Epidaurus, directed by Sam Mednes and with Kevin Spacey in the eponymous role.
Q: What is the most read GRReporter news?
A: To be honest, I have not checked the statistics quite some time. I cannot answer this question.
Q: What is the attitude of people towards a modern woman who has her own website?
A: It is definitely positive and encouraging, which is a serious incentive to go ahead.
Q: A funny story or situation about the site?
A: This is the clash of humanitarian thinking of part of our team with the high technologies, managed by the rest of the team. We are still looking at our computer specialists and programmers as if they are wizards, who by almost snapping their fingers do something that looks like revolution in our eyes.
Q: What would you ask the Bulgarian Internet user?
A: What would you like to see or read on GRReporter?


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