Documenting the birth of a nation

Newsroom 04/03/2013 | 10:58

Journalists live a double life: one in the present, like everybody else, and one in the future, where the news that is being written today actually resides. For a journalist living in the Romania of the late ‘90s and the first decade of the new millennium, this schizophrenic condition was intensified by the fundamental transformations undergone by a post-communist society. Labeled with a purely technical term “the transition period”, nobody really understood at that time what it meant. Not even the sociologists and philosophers, who are the reflective consciousness of their times. It was actually impossible to detach yourself from the intricate fabric that was being sewn and re-sewn again and again, almost every day.

All one could do was to live it, and in the case of journalists, to record it – objectively, keeping the professional distance that differentiates an opinion-led media outlet from an independent one. This is what Business Review has been doing for the past 15 years with dedication, professionalism and constancy, setting the standards for business journalism in an industry that itself was undergoing changes and transformations.

It is said one shouldn’t look back, that it is the future one should focus on. Yet, in times like these, I believe a retrospective look is part of the healthy exercise of a continuous self-adjustment process that a society in transformation should undertake. Seen in this context, the 690 issues of Business Review are landmarks on an intricate and winding road, which signal the major turning points in the difficult birth of a new nation.

If we are to start at the very beginning, then 1997 is the landmark year for the arrival of mobile telephony in Romania, which in 15 years has gone from 2G to the recently launched 4G, changing our lives forever. In 2004 Romania is welcomed as a full member of NATO and eight years later Bucharest hosts a summit of the alliance at the Palace of the Parliament (the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, as tourist brochures describe it).

Halfway through this journey is 2007, the year when Romania becomes a member of the European Union and the starting point for a period of transition with new challenges and new targets to be achieved. In 2010 Dacian Ciolos is named European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and in 2011 Romania’s agricultural production hits record figures.

Behind this extremely brief exercise of recapitulation lies the very foundation of, as I previously mentioned, the birth of a new nation – as the title of the American film director DW Griffith’s masterpiece puts it. This is, at least, one of the many meanings hidden in the “transition period” concept.

The future lies ahead of us. And Business Review is here to record it for those who are already living in a “post-transition” society, a term which hopefully will be given meaning by the end of the second decade of the new millennium.

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