Tirana Times celebrates 10-year anniversary

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 6, 2015 11:28

Tirana Times celebrates 10-year anniversary

Tirana Times has marked a decade since its founding in February 2005 with a reception at its headquarters, bringing together the newspaper's founders, staff, readers and friends on Feb. 25, including many representatives of the diplomatic community, civil society and political life in Albania.

Tirana Times was established as Albania's first English-language weekly newspaper a decade ago when the country lacked a professional in-depth news and analysis source for international audiences that had an interest in the country.

With its coverage of Albania's transition to full democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration as well as all aspects of Albanian life, Tirana Times has become the go-to source for original news and views devoted to serving the English-speaking audience in Albania and abroad.

Jerina Zaloshnja, the Tirana Times publisher, thanked all the staff who had worked for the newspaper through the years. A veteran Albanian journalist, she and her husband, Albert Rakipi, came up with the idea of creating Tirana Times, more than a decade ago.

She said one of the newspaper's success stories had been standards of uncompromising fairness and lack of political bias, based on the best international standards and the hard work of Albanian and international staff.

"There was a lot of skepticism in the beginning," Zaloshnja said. "Everyone wanted to know who was backing the newspaper and for what reason. Overtime, all realized the newspaper had no leanings and no agenda other than covering Albanian life in a way that international audiences could understand."

The newspaper's executive editor, Andi Balla, said the news business is changing, but Tirana Times has stayed true to its journalistic mission.

"We also realize that the newspaper business has evolved and is moving quickly online, but we believe that the foundation of quality journalism remains the same, as we present our stories to our audience around the world in print, online and through social media channels," Balla said.

He recently led a team that overhauled the newspaper's online presence, allowing for a better reading experience and leaving a larger number of stories accessible to all readers, while also enhancing the experience of subscribers.

In addition to current events and politics, Tirana Times also has a very strong focus on business news, as the international business community makes up a large portion of its audience and plays a growing role in Albania.

In addition, the newspaper tries to promote the best Albania has to offer in terms of culture and travel through frequent features aimed at an international audience.

"We have a sole agenda: providing the best, impartial and independent coverage to our audience," Balla said.

He added that "in this digital age in which we live ... 10 years is a long time, so the fact that Tirana Times has been published every Friday for 10 years is a success in itself."

Regular readers such as diplomats, business and NGO representatives as well as local politicians appreciated Tirana Times progress in ten years in an exhibition featuring front-page posters, cover stories and features which have left a mark on the paper's journey

The newspaper's revamped website was also introduced to the audience as a more interactive and user-friendly guide to the Tirana Times content and regular updates on breaking news.

Wine and snacks served at the Tirana Times bookshop offered a great opportunity to share views with readers and get feedback.

Readers and friend of Tirana Times also commented on its anniversary.

Wishing the newspaper a happy birthday, German Ambassador Hellmut Hoffmann thanked all who contributed to the weekly over its first ten years and continue to do so.

"As a foreigner living in Albania who unfortunately does not understand, let alone speak, Albanian I am most grateful for the provision of information on political, economic, social or cultural issues in a language I can work with and in a manner which is most useful for me as a diplomat," Ambassador Hoffman said. "The Albanian media landscape has seen an enormous development over the last 25 years and I am very pleased that the Tirana Times, which can proudly claim to have made a significant contribution to a culture of respect, dialogue and objectivity in Albanian journalism, is part of it."

He added that "we are all aware that the existence of free, independent and unbiased media is a cornerstone for any democracy and we all know as well that to attain and preserve this requires a constant effort."

Remzi Lani, the director of the Albanian Media Institute, said Tirana Times has an irreplaceable place in the ensemble of the Albanian press.

"It is unique not just because it is published in English, but because it is an objective window into Albanian life -- politics, diplomacy, business and art," Lani said. "It stays away from the conflictual nature and the extreme politicization of the Albanian press. I would have liked to have seen a newspaper like it in Albanian as well."



Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 6, 2015 11:28