Alyona Stadnik & journalism with a bigger mission
Being a journalist takes courage and skills; being the youngest chief editor of a newspaper in Estonia something even on top of that. Meet Alyona Stadnik, the sociable yet gritty woman who works every day to help businesses of both Estonian and Russian-speaking entrepreneurs in her home country.
Alyona is the chief editor of Delovõje Vedomosti, the associate of the Estonian business and economics newspaper Äripäev in Russian. In 2012, she received the Journalist of the Year award for her ability to make even the most resistant sources talk and her fearless and always positive atitude. That’s what you notice when you meet her: she has no problem in taking initiative, she’s straight – forward, smart, fast and has tremendous work ethic. Wuruhi met Alyona on a summer day for a lovely photoshoot and to find out how she’s become so successful in the competitive field of journalism.
How did you arrive to investigative journalism?
I started my career in Äripäev in September 2010 – almost seven years ago. When I stepped into the newspaper’s offices, I applied for the position of an analyst in stock exchange editorial but as fate decided, it was already taken by an employee of Äripäev and I was offered the position of a news reporter. I immediately accepted as it felt like an exciting challenge and something new. Despite the fact that I haven’t studied journalism, I had a strong interest in economics, I loved communicating with people and I wanted something to depend on me in this world. I loved bringing new ideas and interviews with people who had never talked to us before to the editorial. That, my skill to use alternative channels in reaching new audiences, natural tendency for teamwork and knowledge of Russian is perhaps why I was chosen as the Journalist of the Year 2012 and was given the opportunity to attend an investigative journalism conference in Brazil in the following year.
In 2014, I was promoted to the investigative editorial of Äripäev and trusted the piece on top incomes („Palga TOP“). In addition to that, I have compiled the ranking of solicitors’ dividends („Advokaatide dividendide edetabel“) and contributed to the ranking of the richest people („Rikaste edetabel“) and the magazine on top dividends („Dividendi TOP“).
Since December 2016, I am in charge of the only Estonian business paper in Russian, Delovõje Vedomosti.
Before joining Äripäev, I spent three consecutive summers selling educational books door-to-door and leading a five-person team with Southwestern Advantage.
It is impressive for Wuruhi that when you started 7 years ago, you did not have an educational background in journalism. How has this played into your work?
I graduated Accounting in the Tallinn College of Tallinn University of Technology. At that point and still now it is important for Äripäev that its journalists have an economics background, so that they understand what they’re writing about. I had that. Having worked with Southwestern was also a great plus. What’s more, I am from a family where we speak Russian at home but graduated from an Estonian high school and university.
For the Russian population in the Estonian society you then have an important role.
In my daily work I put a lot of effort into thinking what kind of information Russians here need to conduct a business and to be successful in it. Russian speakers in Estonia should have the opportunity to reach all important information in their mother tongue – which is why we exist to provide them with practical and useful stories and explain the laws.
As the Estonian state does not translate legislation into Russian, Delovõje Vedomosti fills this gap. We publish a monthly special edition (Seadusandlus) where we discuss important changes and reforms in legislation with comments and reviews from experts. This is our added value. In addition to that, in every paper we treat important court decisions and other litigations.
What kind of media do Russian Estonians read?
The older generation largely follows Russian local media from TV as well as from different Russian websites. A large part does however consume Estonian local media in Russian. Currently, we have two newspapers in Russian: MK Estonia and us, Delovõje Vedomosti, which are complemented by online sites with their own specialized field. In receiving daily news, the Russian reader doesn’t differ much from the Estonian one, which is why we collaborate a lot with Äripäev and offer vital economic and entrepreneurial information for small and medium-sized businesses.
Which direction are you heading with Delovõje Vedomosti?
It is important for us to be a platform for entrepreneurial people who conduct business in Estonia or wish to do so in future. Our aim is to offer important information also outside of Estonia, which is why we are developing our online version to offer relevant news, pieces on legislation, investing and other useful tips every day. The printed newspaper and its special editions are exclusive, offer more practical advice and timeless useful features on topics such as construction, real estate, industry, legislation, investing, entertainment (in the magazine Drive) and health (in Olge terved).
From September onwards we will offer our Estonian speaking readers a podcast on Äripäev radio called „Delovõje ljudi“ that aims to introduce local entrepreneurial people with Slavic background. Our radio will start in Harjumaa county at 92.4 MHz on September 4.
You mentioned before that you also have a design section of the newspaper. What is that about?
Every quarter, we publish an entertainment magazine called Drive, where we introduce one successful person through his or her entrepreneurial endeavours and hobbies. We write about art, interior and product design, different interests and traveling – so, about everything that is important to people and change their well-being.
How much do you yourself know about Estonian design?
Unfortunately, I don’t know much – only from what has been written and published in media. Luckily, this is done on increasing levels. At the moment, I use Estonian design minimally but thanks to events such Disainiöö (Design Night), I’ve broadened my knowledged in that area.
Which accessory was your favourite at today’s photoshoot?
I absolutely loved the pink and blue set of necklace and earrings from Krista Lehari . They were just like me with their clear and simple colors, complemented by a stylish and playful edge.
Do you have a mantra or quote that inspires you?
Everything happens for a reason, live it, love it, learn from it. I try to use every challenge in my life to educate myself and to grow. Thanks to this mindset I am who I am today.