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Russian independent media strengthened

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By David Brewer
Sunday, 03 May 2009
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Ekaterina Chernishova - deputy editor in chief of radio Abakan

Ekaterina Chernishova — deputy editor in chief of radio Abakan

They’d been asked to turn up with examples of stories that, ‘had it not been for them the world would never know.’

What they delivered was a rich array of original journalism that showed the emerging dynamic of independent media from across the Russian Federation, from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east to the Murmansk region in the far north west.

The group had been brought together by the Foundation for Independent Radio (FNR) and The Eurasia-Foundation Media (EF-Media) , and represented print, radio and online media outlets, some in oil and gas-rich cities, some in small towns in remote parts.

The common factor was that all wanted to know how to build converged, independent, multimedia news operations based on accurate, balanced, impartial and objective journalism.

The aim of the training was to help participants work out how best to produce a modern new media offerings that complimented their core news services by offering added value online in an effort to reach new audiences and generate revenue.

Masha Eismont, project director

Masha Eismont, project director

According to project director, Masha Eismont, dozens of Russian newspapers and radio stations provide such journalism.

«What these journalists need is to improve their professional skills further —  and learn about available digital tools that not only connect them to online readers but other journalists doing quality work,» she said.

«It’s amazing to see how some of those local editors — many with no formal journalism education at all – manage to help their communities solve problems the mainstream media ignores.

«It’s amazing to see how some of those local editors — many with no formal journalism education at all – manage to help their communities solve problems the mainstream media ignores.

«Going online means they can contribute important local stories to the national debate, and also get immediate response from younger audiences to the topics they raise.»

Charles Maynes - programme officer

Charles Maynes — programme officer

Charles Maynes, the Programme Officer said it is important to introduce Russia’s regional media to the opportunities new media offers.

«Russian regional media recognise they confront the same problems that confront media everywhere.

«The technologies are changing, audience habits are changing, and they recognise that they have to change along with them if they’re to remain vital.

«The technologies are changing, audience habits are changing, and they recognise that they have to change along with them if they’re to remain vital.

«This programme hopefully provides quality small market Russian media outlets with ideas on how to move forward online in a way that makes sense for them.»

«Russia’s obviously an enormous country and many of these independent media outlets operate in complete isolation from one another, and so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when regional newspapers and radio stations can network with each other, share ideas, and get their stories out into the Internet echo-chamber.

«We’re hopeful we can develop some interesting models of distributed reporting…even if it’s across 11 time zones.

Course valued by participants

The Eurasia-Foundation Media (EF-Media) and the Foundation for Independent Radio (FNR) training

Masha Eismont talking to Oksana Tereschenko, head of news Radio Volgorechensk

Anatoli Polazkov, the editor-in-chief of Echo Nedelya , from Zheleznogorsk, Kursk Oblast said he was keen to take back what he’d found during the course in order to set up a news factory.

«We’d already begun re-educating our newspaper’s editorial staff in terms of convergent multi-media content.  Our first step was to create a unified news editorial staff.  Now, what I’ve seen here can help transform our little newsroom into real multi-media news factory,» he said.
Tatiana Matrexina, a correspondent for the Saami radio station Kolskoe Saamskoe in the town of Lovozero, Murmanskaya Oblast said the course opened up new opportunities.

«We’ll use these strategies for gathering and organisng information that builds articles and gives our radio reports added value online,» she said.

Natalya Chaika, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Aspect from Barabinsk in the Novosibirsk Oblast also spoke about adding value for the audience.

«It’s like a step into the future…because particularly these days we’re aware that we as a newspaper can’t stand still.»

«It’s like a step into the future…because particularly these days we’re aware that we as a newspaper can’t stand still.»

«We need to expand onto the Internet and we’ve got a lot of questions as to how best to do this.  And this program provides us with strategic planning on how to push the most important stories in a way that supports our brand and provides added value to readers online,» she said.

The newspaper Kachkanarsky Chetverg in Kachkanar in the Sverdlovsk Oblast has won several competitions for its independent journalism. The newspaper recently bought a radio station and is expanding its new media offering, too. Dmitri Travkin, a journalist on the paper said the course has boosted their determination.

«I’ve been working on the site for the past two years, and we’ve won several prizes for our work.  And while this programme has introduced me to a lot of ideas, what please me most was receiving confirmation that we are on the right path,» he said.

The Eurasia-Foundation Media (EF-Media) and the Foundation for Independent Radio (FNR) training

Participants and course organisers

The Eurasia-Foundation Media (EF-Media) and the Foundation for Independent Radio (FNR) are running a two-year initiative to support Russian independent media and the communities they serve. Through the programme, quality small market newspapers and radio stations are given the opportunity to participate in intensive trainings aimed at strengthening outlet’s Internet presence and helping journalists put digital tools to better use in their reporting.

This article has been translated into Russian by David Ross.


Note: The author of this piece, David Brewer , of Media Ideas International Ltd, was invited to created the modules for the three-day course on convergence and new media and ran the sessions in Moscow. David also runs this site, Media Helping Media.

http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/content/view/379/198/


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  1. […] Russian independent media strengthened […]

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