A journalist by accident

Czech business journalist Petr Lukac has written about many topics in his journalistic life. Starting his career in a small news agency, he is now writing for one of the most influential economic newspapers in the Czech Republic.

written by

Fabian Jutzi

Petr Lukac, born in 1984, is a Czech business journalist living in Prague. He works for the economic newspaper Hospodářské noviny. Born and raised in a small, picturesque town in the south of the Czech Republic, called Český Krumlov, he grew up in South Bohemia with his parents and sisters.

After high school, Lukac wanted to study but did not know to which subject he wanted to dedicate himself. His mother, a doctor, gave him the advice not to go into medicine. Finally, he moved to Brno and studied political science and international relations while earning a bachelor’s degree in both subjects and a master’s degree in political science.

In 2008, Lukac spent nine months in Brussels for a semester abroad and an internship at a company which is linked to the European Commission. Back in the Czech Republic, he found Brno too small for him and moved to Prague. But even there, he did not find a straight path into the journalism. Neither his parents nor his sisters have a journalistic background.

“I became a journalist by accident,” Lukac said.

The accident happened when Lukac found a job at a news agency and started to love his work.

Prime minister owns newspapers

After spending another six months abroad in Asia, he came back to Prague without a plan in mind. He received a job offer from a newspaper and started work at Hospodářské noviny, one of the largest economic newspapers in the Czech Republic. It is a central-liberal newspaper and one of the main journals not owned by the company of Czech prime minister Andrej Babis.

Although, media are free in the Czech Republic, it is notable and concerning that the prime minister, who is a billionaire, owns Mlada Fronta, the biggest newspaper in the country. The prime minister does not give many interviews to the Hospodářské noviny, Lukac said. But there are still differing opinions about various topics, and even the media owned by the prime minister sometimes criticizes his politics. Lukac said he did not have to fear any repercussions during his work as a journalist in the former communist country. The situation for journalists was not comparable to the situation in Hungary, he said.

Change to the business sector

Despite studying political science, he switched his main interest of research from politics to the energy sector writing reports about nuclear power stations and renewable energy. Over the years, however, he began to focus on business and economy-oriented journalism. Today, the 35-year old journalist still works for the economic newspaper, mostly writing about the success and failure of business companies.

Lukac said he can read between the lines of an annual report to provide his readers a deep insight in the financial situation of a company. He said he notices some inconsistencies of companies, which sometimes lead to reports about tax evasion or bankruptcy. Over the last years, Lukac has started to write more investigative reports. His current project is an investigative research about the finance sector.

Discovering stories

“You don’t become a journalist because you want to earn a lot of money,” Lukac said.

Most journalists in his country are employees, and there are not many freelancers in the Czech Republic. He has been a journalist for more than nine years. He said every little story he discovers makes him happy. Those stories can be small or big. They include stories researched for years or just updates on stories.

Lukac said he understands his work as a journalist to be someone who has the pulse of the time, someone who knows people, someone who writes about interesting topics and someone who provides readers some new and relevant information.

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