Brygida Grysiak, deputy editor-in-chief of TVN24 and editor for journalism standards and good practices, answered questions asked by Internet users on Facebook in the series “You ask, TVN24 answers”.
The series “You ask, TVN24 answers” was created especially for viewers who would like to talk online with the station’s journalists. Meetings are held live on TVN24 Facebook.
At the beginning of the meeting with viewers on Thursday, Brygida Grysiak thanked for support during the protests in connection with the anti-TVN act and journalists for signatures on the appeal on this matter.
During the meeting, many words of support for TVN24 appeared, for which Grysiak thanked. – I also extend these greetings to my colleagues, because it is all very, very important to us. It falls on the ground of our ordinary, everyday editorial work, which, contrary to what might seem to someone, has not changed since yesterday. Perhaps what has changed is that we look at the condition of Polish parliamentarism in a different way, the condition in which we work as journalists, the circumstances in which we work, but we stay as we are – she said.
Questions about the future of TVN24 in the face of the anti-TVN act
The first question was “what’s next with TVN”. – TVN and TVN24 exist, they broadcast and exist, they will broadcast. We are a large television family that has not one, not two, but several scenarios up its sleeve, replied Grysiak.
When asked what her personal “cost of being in opposition to this authority” was, Grysiak replied that “she is not in opposition to anyone”. She explained that tensions between journalists and the authorities are completely normal and this is what this work is about, because the journalist is usually “in opposition to who is in charge” because “he asks difficult questions on behalf of the citizens and looks at the hands of the authorities”. – The problem begins when the right to public information and other rights are institutionally limited – she added.
For the people she works with, she said, “the cost is high, but this is not the cost today, it is about something much, much greater.”
She also mentioned Wednesday evening, when the Seym passed the anti-TVN bill. – When we all left the editorial office very late at night, we were all touched. This situation is, of course, very difficult, historical and unprecedented – she said. – It is difficult for us, but there is a huge mobilization in the team, which is accompanied by emotions – she added.
When asked about objectivity, Grysiak noted that “we assume that we must adhere to the standards, practice reliable journalism based on facts, especially at a time when there is a trend towards disinformation in the world”. – There is a moment when a journalist cannot be neutral towards values and I think that this is the border – she emphasized.
Grysiak on reporter’s work
When asked if she was missing a reporter’s job, Brygida Grysiak said yes. – But because I work with great reporters and reporters on a daily basis and I have the honor of working as an editor for journalism standards and good practices, I de facto work very closely with them, so it is my great joy. In this way, I am in this reporter’s work all the time and I am very happy about it – she explained.
One of the questions concerned “the worst news she had to convey to viewers.” Grysiak admitted that there were such “difficult moments”, but she keeps returning to the accident of the coach with Polish pilgrims, which she reported as a young, 22-year-old reporter. – Families would come there, and there were also children who did not know yet that their parents were dead, and it was a bit beyond my strength then. It convinced me that there is no other way out of the journalistic profession than in life, but to be yourself, to be real and not to hide the emotions that are inside you, because the viewer will sense it – she said. She noted that it was a “big lesson” for her.
What does working at TVN24 look like?
In one of the answers, Grysiak described her working day. – I get up very early in the morning, do a press release, browse portals, I wonder what we could propose to our viewers, which we absolutely cannot omit – she said. – There is also family life, so I prepare the kids for the day and then come here. There is an editorial board at 8.30, the most important one, where we discuss all the topics of the day – she added. She explained that then individual editorial colleges were held. – We actually keep working. I shouldn’t be saying this, but we’re still at work because our job is more than just a job. We must be vigilant, open and quick in making decisions, she said.
– I really like the people I work with and I value them very much – said Grysiak. – In our team it is so that when something super important is going on, there is a special edition, something has happened or it looks like something will happen, we don’t have to persuade anyone to come to work. People call themselves and come by themselves. There are also those who call and say that they will be happy to come and make someone a sandwich – she said.
She emphasized that “it is a great honor to be part of this team for 20 years”. “My place, I can’t imagine working in another place,” she added. On the occasion of the question whether she never wanted to go into politics, to which Grysiak replied in the negative, she added that she always wanted to be a journalist. “Maybe that’s also where my calm comes from,” she assessed. – I never planned to be the deputy editor-in-chief, that I would be the editor for standards and good journalistic practices, I really wanted to be a reporter – she admitted, but added that when a proposal came to deal with the standards similar to the most prestigious editorial offices in the world, she recognized that she cannot fail to accept it, because it is “the next stage, the next level of maturation of our journalism”. She explained that on TVN24 there are regular meetings where employees talk about what went wrong and draw conclusions from it.
When asked what the journalist’s work had taught her, Grysiak replied that “first of all, humility” towards the people you talk to and the topics you deal with, and that when you have power, you also have responsibility, as well as self-discipline and defending his opinion. Humility also mentioned one of the three basic qualities that she would pass on to younger colleagues. As the others, she mentioned passion and truth.
When asked how she was dealing with stress, she replied that she thought “well after all these years.” – How am I responding to a nervous day? When I come home and hug the children, talk to my husband and drink coffee – yes, I drink coffee at night, unfortunately, because I like it a lot – it is much better for me and I feel much calmer – she added.
She admitted that she can endure a lot when it comes to criticism, but she hardly tolerates “criticism, especially such unfair and completely beyond the standards of my colleagues.” “Then I feel true and righteous anger,” she said.
She estimated that “we have a whole lot of great journalists, not only on TVN24, but also on tvn24.pl, who track, look for their topics”. – I am motivated by the feeling that it is simply important and necessary, that we are not microphone stands and we are not here to give you the messages of the day, but also to search. I think this is what our job is mainly about – finding the truth, finding the facts. We can err in this, but I really appreciate that we do it, that we want to do it, because it is the salt of our profession – she emphasized.
There was also the question of whether the editorial office supports LGBT workers. “He supports like all the other employees,” she said. By the way, she recommended a report “All About My Child” by Piotr Jacoń.
Brygida Grysiak’s favorite books
When asked about the book, which had a special impact on her worldview, Grysiak mentioned Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Idiot”. “My ideas about man are focused in it,” she said. – It is about such underestimated, naive beauty that saves the world at the end of the day, but is also used along the way by those who do not understand it – she explained.
She stated that she reads documentaries more than detective stories, and one of her favorites is “Niedziela, which happened on Wednesday” by Mariusz Szczygieł.
Main photo source: TVN24