Inside international journalism: from intern to executive editor



Tatiana in Venice, Italy. September 21, 2021.

I never wanted to become a journalist. I was studying for six years in the domain of international relations and politics in the leading national international relations university and was heading towards working in an embassy of my country abroad. I ended up as an executive editor in the international department of the biggest national media company, with the salary five times bigger than the one offered in diplomatic service and way higher level of responsibility and stress.


The first time, I came to the newsroom having absolutely zero understanding of how media, news and TV work. I was used to sophisticated and boring academic writing and was thrown out of my comfort zone. Soon, I realized that international journalism is one of the most exciting, challenging and frustrating, experience that I could ever get. It is toxic and enriching at the same time. I grew from an intern to a lead of a big team of journalists and other specialists within several years. I did interviews with European MPs, businessmen, refugees, 9/11 survivors, soldiers, politicians, scientists, activists and many more and had to dive into various topics in order to be competent in producing new materials.


I was covering Brexit referendum, 2016 American elections, 2015 refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in Europe, the rise of the far-right, the fall of the MH17 flight, Syrian and Ukrainian wars and many other topics. I prepared materials on political parties, social movements, elections, and protests. Meanwhile, I was working with individual cases and personal stories, investigating human rights abuse cases, advocacy and activism. This gave me more expertise and understanding of international and European politics than all years of studying in university’s classrooms.


I learned how to write, search for information and contacts, edit videos, structure and conduct interviews, set the agenda for the running order, and most importantly, how to manage a big team of specialists. The most crucial part of being a team leader is to make everyone feel safe in the work environment, to value their potential and to stimulate them to maximize it. I have seen so many talented journalists, producers, correspondents, who were failing just because no one saw their real capabilities and they themselves did not know where to apply their skills and enthusiasm. Another important duty that I took as a manager was to communicate with higher-ups professionals. I learned to never give up on my team and always protect their interests in front of the boss.


Eventually, after years of a successful career, I decided to quit, as I felt like it did not give me satisfaction and fulfilment. The change of the official state rhetoric and authoritarian turn in the government pushed me to return to my academic path in international politics, as now I feel like it is more important for me. When I left this job I didn’t have just another line in the CV, but instead professional field experience in the sphere of international journalism and many good friends.

Written by Tatiana Krivobokova

Edited by Giulia Rosina

Tatiana Krivobokova is currently studying European and Global Studies Master’s Degree at the University of Padova. Follow Tatiana’s story on Instagram @taty_italy_lifestyle.

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