Will journalism be better from renaming the department at Moscow State University – Rossiyskaya Gazeta


At the Faculty of Journalism, Moscow State University. Lomonosov, the department was renamed. It would seem, so what? But a good part of today’s journalists left this department, as from Gogol’s “Overcoat”. The legendary “Department of Periodicals”, or “Reprint” as it was called for short, is now called the “Department of Digital Journalism”. Many took this almost as a farewell to classical journalism. Elena Vartanova, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta about why it was decided to change the name and how it will affect her studies and profession in general.

Elena Leonidovna, does journalism follow trends or is it time for periodicals to get on the shelf?

Elena Vartanova: The department is, of course, legendary. But, let me remind you, she has already changed her name several times. As soon as the journalism faculty was opened at Moscow University, in 1952, the department of history, theory and practice of the party-Soviet press was created. In 1963, it was divided into the Department of the History of the Party-Soviet Press and the Department of Theory and Practice of the Party-Soviet Press. When I was studying, we affectionately called her “tyrpyr”. After 1991 the department became known as the department of periodicals. Surprisingly, the title never had the word “journalism”. It seems unfair to me: at the faculty we must talk not only about media – periodicals, television, radio, new media. But above all – about the content of the profession, about its responsibility to society. This is not a funeral for journalism, but its new vision.

Is digital journalism a change in the essence of the profession?

Elena Vartanova: These are new tools that are in the hands of a journalist. In the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, could we have imagined a zoom interview? This is a new medium in which many more works are accommodated than in print journalism. The relationship with the audience is also completely different: it is interactive and not only reads, looks and listens, but also participates in the creation of content, as they say now. Are readers’ letters the main channel for feedback? Today these are kilobytes – messages in instant messengers, social networks, e-mail. Therefore, the epithet “digital” is about the environment in which journalism lives today. And the essence of the profession is unchanged: the principles of social responsibility, reliability, objectivity, completeness of presentation of information. In the digital environment, they are even more relevant.

Newspapers will decrease their circulation and may even become an art of some kind. So high quality, partly luxury

Is there room left in digital journalism for traditional genres: essay, essay? And do the students know them?

Elena Vartanova: Students enjoy working in a digital environment. But, again, it’s not only about the information carrier. It’s important to think about how digital journalism interacts with the core principles of the profession. Professional journalism courses are needed now more than ever. We do not want the principles of classical journalism to go away with the loss of popularity of paper media among young people. And genres are being transformed. What is commonly called a longread today is often nothing more than a modern multimedia essay. Genres adapt to new requirements: audio, video, editing, infographics … But still, the text remains at the heart of everything.

And newsstands are increasingly empty. Few people are in a hurry to buy fresh press.

Elena Vartanova: I wouldn’t cut it like that. Newspapers feel very differently in different cities: in the regions, the demand for the local press is very high, and it is for paper. Although, of course, the most devoted readers of the “paper” are people of the older generation. Yes, the newspaper is going online more and more. But the complete disappearance of the paper newspaper would be, in my opinion, a great loss for society. After all, paper keeps history. Yes, today almost all information is in virtual cloud storage. But … Scientists-historians study the past of Russia precisely from newspaper archives.

Obviously, newspapers will decrease their circulation and perhaps even become a certain kind of art. So high quality, partly luxury. But even having gone into numbers, journalism must remain journalism. For this, the department is changing.


Source: Российская Газета by rg.ru.

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