The new Director General of the Czech News Agency (ČTK) for the next six years will be Jaroslav Kábele, the agency’s current Director of Strategy and Development. He was elected to the post by the ČTK Council in March, receiving five votes out of seven. After 12 years at the helm of the agency and 43 years with the ČTK, the current Director General, Jiří Majstr, is leaving. Majstr announced his decision to quit after his election for his second term six years ago.
The new Director General wants to emphasize the independence and reliability of the agency. In addition to media clients, he intends to focus also on non-media clients who can bring additional revenue to the agency.
"Above all, we want to be a pillar of independent news coverage. But for the news agency to be independent journalistically, it must be independent financially," Kábele said. "That is why one of the main tasks will be to find new sources of money, especially from non-media entities, that is companies that need fresh information or, on the contrary, want their information to be disseminated to the media and to end users and readers," the new head of the ČTK added.
One of the new projects is to be the Press Centre for press conferences and other events located directly in the ČTK building. Kábele also wants to continue media training for PR professionals as well as journalism students and to expand the range of PR services, which are, however, strictly separated from news.
Kábele started at the ČTK as an intern studying journalism before the Velvet Revolution. At the beginning of the 1990s, he was deputy head of the domestic news desk, and after a change in the agency's management, he left for the Mafra Publishing House, where he started as an editor and deputy head of the MF Dnes reporter department (1993 to 1998). He stood at the birth of news server iDNES.cz, where he worked as head of the news desk and editor-in-chief. Later, he became the director of Mafra's Internet projects, and from the end of 2013, he headed the entire online division of the publishing house. In 2017, he was offered to return to the ČTK to manage development projects.
The ČTK is a multimedia agency, founded as a state agency in 1918. Since 1993, it has been a public institution separated from the state both economically and financially. The agency publishes up to 500 news items and 300 photographs a day. It also produces audio, video, and infographic materials, and some of its output is translated into English.
Last year, the ČTK, which employs about 250 people, generated a turnover of CZK 314 million, of which revenues from news coverage amounted to CZK 214 million. Some 350 clients both at home and abroad are subscribed to the ČTK's news coverage. These include not only media, but also companies and state or public institutions.