Елена Черникова


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Elena Chernikova, writer (prose, drama), journalist, teacher of journalism


          For the Presentation at the International Congress

     "Journalism and media market: challenges and prospects" 





                                Write Truth - Easier Now

         Journalism and market. In other words - truth and money. Truth is a quite relative substance, whereas money is something a good many of people are interested in. Nowadays, an eternal conflict between the search of Truth and "bread-circuses" paradigm has been extremely escalated. In Russia, I have witnessed some peremptory public addresses: journalism is dying, or even it already has, and everything is now controlled by the golden calf.  Occasionally my students - those whom I teach this very art, the supposedly dead journalism - also attempt to inspire me with the idea.

         Discussion of the problem "truth and money" is impossible to escape, even if one has long been fed up with it. And there are many such people - all those who have heart, conscience and sense of professional duty. 

          I have been working in mass media (newspapers, magazines, PR, radio, television, Internet publication) for more than 25 years. I have written many journalism textbooks and I teach journalism now - and in a way, all mentioned above allows me to breath out peacefully.

         Here is what I mean.

         In fact, things are not so black as they are painted. To my mind, we are witnessing an auspicious moment for a journalist to experience zest for life and happiness to create. A moment to proclaim the truth, speaking pathetically.   

         And why is that so?

         First of all, press has demassificated - got spread among target audiences, just as it was predicted by Hurst 50 years ago. A newspaper "for everyone" does not exist any more. It could not survive, because there are no expressive means appropriate for all audiences. On the contrary, audiences are sorted out into segments, in spite of globalization and standardization. Sociologists point out that now tribalization - reprehensive consolidation of ethnoses - came into play to contradict globalization. Translating into the language of our problems: a journalist has every opportunity to join an organ of press that will work specially for his ideology. And this way, a journalist is free to choose his audience and delight the addressees with the truth they prefer. For an innocent ear this phrase might sound cynical. But we are in the professional environment.

         Secondly, thickness and power of the world information flow has long exceeded both individual's facility to "manufacture" his production and the ability of the brain trust to influence any periphery. Strange as it might seem, but in these circumstances, personal creative work of a journalist can luxuriantly burst in blossom: why hurry, you cannot outrun the flow anyway. So, the main thing here is to choose your own mass media, which coincides with your preferences.          

         Very often my students ask me: what should we do if we want to write about sports (gender relations, medicine, politics, religion, science, etc.), but there are no vacancies left, all places are taken? Normally, my answer is rather sharp: "there is no one to take your personal place in life". And if you chronically suffer bad luck looking for a journalistic job, well, go ahead and shovel vegetable patches, sweep the streets, catch butterflies - but please, stop whimpering. There is not a single editors office obliged to provide you with your personal working place, so that you could distribute your personal truth about favorite substances in a way you understand them. When you feel that journalistic work is half collective, half individual, that all your life you will represent not your persona but the whole office with its concept and regulations; in other words - once you calm your inner "genius", things will go swimmingly.


         In the third place, it is to be said that journalism is in fact immortal. Whether it be media market or the market of apples/vacuum cleaners - everyone needs high-quality products, even if immaturity makes it hard to realize sometimes. When it comes to vital interests, viewers of TV shows, entertained and stupidified, all together become interested in quality press. Remember, for instance, the dreadful terroristic act carried out in Beslan, North Ossetia? People were held hostages, children suffered, and the whole country saw it on TV. At that time, the products of news agencies were most sought after. As if the public had physically sensed that in tragic moment one has to appeal to the least tendentious sources. Of course, people were watching and listening to everything they could, but then, after the whole nightmare was over, they were asked a question: who do you trust? The first place was occupied by the agencies. Internet took the last but one position. The reason I mentioned Beslan was to illustrate genuine importance of quality mass media in our days. Although, of course, when everything is calm, the entertaining function of journalism becomes more popular, but it is mapped out so narrowly, that its viability certainly does not give rise to concern.                

         Clearly, there are plenty of media-educated citizens now, who have long understood that the only way a modern person can get more or less distinct information is to obtain it from himself - after the deep frenzy of search among numerous sources. But the number of such, nominally called, analysts, in any society equals the number of talented composers and great hockey players. All others are still segmented according to their interests, and this is the factor which, for the time being, holds the modern media market in place. As long as one has his favorite newspaper, a magazine, a channel which goes with his personal preferences - the market is alive. As soon as the realization comes that he or she is a target addressee, permanently being worked on - everyone will become the "analyst" mentioned above:            

         But the fourth point is that to imagine the audience around the world giving up on the entertaining element in mass media is impossible. It will just never happen. So let us work and write truth - in those places where we are accepted and whose world view concepts we shall agree with. And if an apprentice is allowed to appear in some provincial editing office with a revelatory article about a local city administrator (and then to be surprised at the denial of his unripe note), adults, in my opinion, surely need to choose their own mass media and create there. Otherwise, no truth will have an opportunity to be either heard or told. And this is what can lead to the real disaster.   

         Thank you for your attention.                              







Используются технологии uCoz