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.
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.
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.
is what I mean.
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
why is that so?
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
you for your attention.