Cross-posted from JohnFeffer.com.
When Communism collapsed in 1989 in East-Central Europe, many industries collapsed with it. Factories closed, workers were out of jobs, and economies shrank. But one sector of the economy grew: the media. Where there had once been a state monopoly, now there was pluralism. There was suddenly an explosion of reporting, commentary, TV debates.
All these new media outlets – newspapers, radio programs, TV stations – needed journalists. So, many young people switched jobs and became the new reporters. During my travels in 1990, I met many of these newly minted journalists. One of them was Stanislav Holec.
We met in London in March 1990, when he was part of a delegation of Czech journalists. He was new to the profession at that time, having enlisted in the ranks at the time of the Velvet Revolution. He’d gone to school to study engineering but had soon discovered that he was more interested in rock climbing and foreign travel. The revolution couldn’t have come along at a better time.