Georgia Today Presented at European Newspaper Congress 2018

On May 15, Georgia Today Group's Founder and General Manager, Giorgi Sharashidze, was in Vienna, Austria, to present at the European Newspaper Congress 2018. His topic was: 'Georgia- How the development of a democracy affects media progression,' which also included a focus on the Georgia Today newspaper and its 18-year history.

"This is my second year crossing the European border at Vienna Airport without a Shengen visa in my passport," Sharashidze noted. "Something which became possible after Georgia was granted a visa free regime with European Union member countries. I hope that soon we will celebrate full membership of the EU for which we, Georgians, need to work hard to achieve European standards of democracy and a free market economy, including within the media industry."

Of founding the newspaper, he said: "Helping Georgia to spread the word internationally, beyond the region, ultimately reaching a global audience, was one of the main reasons my colleagues and I decided to establish a European standard newspaper in the English language, with the ambitious mission to be the main source of the most comprehensive, objective, and unbiased information in English about contemporary Georgia," he said, adding that "we realized the importance of having a professional newspaper in English, as Georgia slowly became more recognizable on the global map and began to attract an increasing number of foreign visitors."

He thanked the staff, contributers and dedicated readers that push the newspaper to be ever better.

"Our mission now, when we celebrate our 18th anniversary, has not changed since the very first issue – to be an unbiased, objective and comprehensive source of information about Georgia in the English language for the rest of the world," he noted.

Sharashidze went on to remember the process of redesigning Georgia Today, after an unmissable opportunity presented itself in 2015. 

"Thanks to the European Newspaper Congress and JTI, who sponsored our participation at the congress here in Vienna, I had the pleasure and privilege to meet design professional Kevin Loftus, Chief Designer and Head of IT of Mayo News, Ireland, and winner of the prize for the Best Local Newspaper in Europe at the 16th annual European Newspaper Congress in 2015. He eagerly agreed to help Georgia Today in its rebranding process," Sharashidze said.

"It was a time for the whole team to celebrate," he went on. "Seeing a rebranding and redesigning of the newspaper and an upgrading of the website, including the introduction of daily news and a newsletter delivered straight to the inbox of our readers twice weekly, with the hottest newspaper stories in e-format."

He then continued by telling fellow Congress guests about Georgia Today Group's tourism project: the magazine and website.

"Our team of experienced foreign and Georgian journalists offers its own best sights, hotels and guest houses, restaurants and cafes, bars, and shops in our sections of Where to Go, Stay, Eat, Drink and Buy, again designed by our friend Kevin Loftus," he said. "WHERE magazine inspires foreign guests to learn more about Georgia and enjoy their stay in such a way that they’ll want to come back for more. Travelers also have online access to – a recently launched travel website unique in content, design and more importantly, service: tourists can receive 24/7 assistance from travel specialists: book hotels, arrange trips across Georgia and receive qualified recommendations based on double-checked travel information." magazine was awarded The Best Marketing Campaign of a Tourism Destination Award at the prestigious Welcome to Georgia tourism awards ceremony last year and has been nominated for the Tourism Campaign of the Year at the Emerging Europe Awards to be held at the EBRD Headquarters in London on 22 June.

"Georgia Today, in its 18 years of existence, has proved that in a developing country such as Georgia, with all its challenges and political turbulences, a newspaper can become popular and independent, relying only on revenue from advertising and sales. This is very important, especially in countries of emerging democracy, where newspapers are still not regarded as businesses but as cogs in a machine of propaganda," Sharashidze noted.

"We understand that more work needs be done in our country for continued improvement, with the goal of having across-the-board European standards of journalism. That is why Georgia Today is here every year, thanks to JTI."

Other topics at the Congress included focuses on present and future trends of print and digital media, individual case studies of various European newspapers, such as Morgenbladet and Zeit, and a look into the Facebook effect, fake news and virtual journalism.

There were many speakers, among them Rainer Esser, CEO of Die Zeit, Andreas Kornhofer of the Red Bull Media House, Oleg Trutnev of Kommersant Russia and Dmytro Krapyvenko of Ukrayinsky Tyzhden (Ukrainian Weekly).

The European Newspaper Congress aims to foster the exchange of information about the concept and design of newspapers and news media throughout Europe. It is organized annually by Medienfachverlag Oberauer in cooperation with the newspaper designer Norbert Küpper.

By Katie Ruth Davies


15 May 2018 19:35