Journalist Spotlight: George Putic, Voice of America
Welcome to Journalist Spotlight, a Q&A series with a journalist and ProfNet user. In this installment, we’re featuring George Putic, a science and technology reporter with Voice of America.
After receiving a degree in dramaturgy from Belgrade University’s School of Dramatic Arts in Serbia, George Putic realized his calling was the screen and broadcast news.
“Theater was attractive as a career but I soon found out that I’m much better in explaining things than developing plots and characters so I refocused my interest to television,” he says. “It was more accessible. It was faster and offered instant gratification.”
Putic went to work for the BBC World Service’s Yugoslav Section in 1978 as a program assistant, translator and anchor. Soon, he was producing the weekly Technical Magazine.
In 1989, Putic joined the Yugoslav Service of Voice of America, where he authored and produced more than 1,000 two-minute tech news segments for radio and later produced numerous science and technology reports for the Serbian Service’s tv show.
Since Dec. 2013, he’s been the science and technology reporter for VOA’s central newsroom.
Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?
By chance in 1978 I got hired by the BBC’s External Service as a program assistant for, at that time, the Yugoslav Section. I started as translator and anchor but soon started producing a weekly Technical Magazine about trends in technology. It became very popular with listeners in our target area, and I got hooked.
What news do you currently cover?
After many years covering topical stuff, I am again doing Science and Technology and enjoying it very much.
Are your stories usually assigned or do you make suggestions as to what you cover?
Sometimes they are assigned, but mostly I monitor what’s going on in Science and Technology and pitch ideas to my editors.
What stories do you like covering the most?
Space explorations, robotics and cars are my favorite subjects. But it does not mean that I would reject other subjects, such as medical technology or geosciences.
What do you like the most about what you do?
I do video editing myself, and I very much enjoy slowly building the story out of the pile of individual shots.
Can you tell us about your most memorable story you’ve covered?
The humanoid robot developed at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab in Maryland. The artificial hands they built are now used by a double amputee who controls them with his mind. It is absolutely awesome.
What has changed from when you began your career?
The most important thing is the change in professional TV technology. Smaller and cheaper equipment and much better resolution make a TV journalist’s life much easier.
If someone starting their journalism career is reading this, what advice would you offer them?
Learn how to write short and interesting stories and try not to repeat yourself.
Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to cook and tinker in my workshop.
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Evelyn Tipacti is a community relations specialist at ProfNet, a service that connects journalists with expert sources. She is a former broadcast journalist with years of experience behind the television camera and radio mic.