Inspiring the Next Generation: Henrich Krejča's Message to Youth
Henrich Krejča is an old-school journalist – the kind who investigates the mafia, battles government corruption, and fights for the little guy. Every month this year, he plans to visit universities in Slovakia with one message for today’s youth: “Please, you MUST be interested in what’s happening in your country,” he said.
Henrich, 49, of Bratislava, has been the News Director for TV Markíza for the past 10 years. He oversees news and current affairs, with about 250 people working under him. He is also a guest lecturer for the CME Content Academy. The academy is designed to develop talented newcomers into the scriptwriters, showrunners, and TV producers of tomorrow. TV Nova and TV Markíza created CCA together with The Television Institute, to not only train students in the television industry but to give them the opportunity to work long-term for the two broadcasters.
Henrich wants to inspire some of those students to work in – and watch -- TV news. Despite the rise of the internet and the flood of information, both true and false, he believes that TV news will survive and even thrive.
“Our station is well-regulated,” he said. “If we make a mistake, there is a penalty. But the internet has no regulation. This is the danger for the future.”
Henrich thinks it’s a huge mistake to not regulate the internet. He points to conspiracy theories, fake political rants, social media hoaxes and outright lies that have led to violence and distrust around the world.
Henrich prides himself on keeping TV Markíza news shows as objective as possible.
“We are the most successful TV station in Slovakia and the most respected,” he said. “As long as I am here, you have the guarantee that I’ll be transparent and objective without the influence of the state or anyone else.”
Henrich’s passion for investigative journalism developed under the influence of his grandfather.
“My grandfather was one of the founders of the original democratic party here,” Henrich said. “But when the communists came in 1948, he spent several years in prison as a dissident.”
Starting at 6 years old, Henrich would go to the local post office to get his grandfather the daily newspaper. As he got older, his grandfather would read the paper to him, explaining about democracy, what was happening in the news, and how to make connections between events and ideas.
“At 12 years old, I decided I wanted to be a journalist,” he said.
But not just any type kind of journalist. Henrich is motivated by two things: telling the truth and fighting for justice.
“This is my satisfaction,” he said. “We help people when the courts and the police can’t. We must help people keep their rights.”
Henrich started as a reporter for Slovak Radio, then moved to television news at Markíza. He was an investigative journalist covering defense, the state security services and investigations before moving to foreign reporting and then becoming news director. He has taken some breaks from TV Markíza and sometimes goes on sabbatical to film documentaries in places such as Africa and South America.
His documentaries include a piece on the Velvet Revolution and another regarding the murder of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancé Martina Kušnírová. Ján had been investigating corruption in business and politics, which led to him and Martina being shot to death in their home. The resulting scandal brought down the country’s Prime Minister Robert Fico and his entire cabinet.
Back to his mission of inspiring young people to get involved in their country. He urges them to start small, by connecting with people in their local community – even by just helping their neighbors. Henrich hopes they’ll develop the same passion that his generation had in the 90s after the fall of communism.
“We wanted to know everything because we wanted a better future. Watch the news,” he pleaded, “because the future is in your hands. You must be a part of it.”