Theory of Journalism and Media
«Paradigmatic Approach To Media Studies: the Experience of Foreign Researchers»The media are a complex phenomenon, which is determined politically, socially, economically, and anthropologically by external factors. The article confirms the validity of the paradigmatic approach to media studies — the approach according to which the object / subject is studied from the standpoint of a system of views dominant in the existing conditions by scholars representing a certain scientific school. The three most widespread paradigms in foreign studies are as follows: empirical functionalism, political economy and the anthropological paradigm. The author believes that the paradigmatic approach is a methodologically correct tool contributing to a systematic consideration of media research. At the same time, the paradigmatic approach does not contradict the polyparadigmality of media research, which is especially evident in the centrist views of scientists equally recognizing the social, economic and cultural aspects of the media. Empirical functionalism is the most widespread and “normative ” paradigm, which media researchers borrowed from sociology. Each hypothesis is proved by empirical research, while theories and concepts are formulated proceeding from considerations of universal prosperity, maintaining social balance, pluralism of opinions as well as cultural and political diversity. The most famous theoretical postulates concerning the media, ranging from freedom of speech to social mission, are a product of empirical functionalism. The political economy of the media is a pragmatic paradigm: it considers the nature and functioning of the media in their true colours exploring the interests of media owners, their relationships with elites and the market aspect of the media. In comparison with the bright ideals of empirical functionalism, the political economy of the media is blamed for its “non-normativity”, for researchers’ closer attention to the realities of the media market than to societal demands. The anthropological paradigm does not study the media audience as a mass — the object of sociological interest or as consumers — the object of advertising measurements carried out for better sales. For anthropologists, the media audience consists of individuals interpreting media messages according to individual selective and perceptual processes. Media content is a set of semantic and value categories forming users’ everyday practices. Contemporary Russian media studies are distinguished by terminological and theoretical-conceptual confusion as well as by an aspiration to break free from the legacy of Soviet theorizing under Marxism-Leninism and formulate currently important national identity in the context of foreign academic media discourse. The paradigmatic approach to media studies partly blurs the boundaries between the “Russian” and “Foreign” scientific schools as it opens up broader perspectives of conceptual consideration.
Keywords: paradigm, paradigmatic approach, empirical functionalism, anthropology of the media, political economy of the mediaDenis V. Dunas 3
««Digital Calligraphy» of a Modern Journalist: Governance of Digital Content»The digital upgrade of journalistic techniques drastically changes the requirements to the final product of journalistic activity — a text. It loses its status of a primary information carrier and becomes a tool for creation of meanings, a mechanism of nonlinear regulation of communication processes. The development and propagation of texts in the global network space — “networkization” (N. Bolz) — require an understanding of a new calligraphy described as “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner” (C. Mediavilla). The “digital letter” changes the traditional form of text and sign compositions. It is essential to keep the mode of network communication of a text: involvement, continuity, simultaneity, absence of barriers, interactivity. SEO optimization of texts unifies their structure bringing it up to the standards of media content. Multiple self-copying, information replications and content virality produce an immediate network effect with commercial benefits. The digital upgrade of texts creates new genres for mobile applications: glance journalism, listicle, business quote. Digital media are successfully mastering narrative-based genres: long reads and storytelling. In this paper, a consecutive analysis of the “networkization” of texts in the Izvestia (www.iz.vestia.ru) and Vedomosti (www.vedomosti.ru) newspapers and in other popular Russian online media is presented. The analysis results demonstrate new opportunities of interactive communication with the audience. An analysis of storytelling activity of Russian online media indicates a return to traditional textocentrism. A synthesis of all kinds of information within a text as “the art of giving form to signs” creates new representative and expressive opportunities for an effective interaction with the audience. A structural-functional analysis of texts in the leading online media shows that there is a prerequisite for the emergence of a new virtual form — a journalistic network text aimed at generating socially important meanings.
Keywords: digital upgrade of journalism, media text, “networkization”, viral content, glance journalism, listicle, narrativeValentina D. Mansurova 17
Sociology of Journalism
«Audience Perspective on the Functions and true Role of Mass Media in Society»The paper acquaints the reader with a research into media consumers’ views on the mission of journalism and its true role in society. This research is one of the parts of a theoretical and applied research project devoted to studying the actors of information processes. The paper presents the results of an expert analysis of texts, where the audience’s feelings towards the media are expressed spontaneously. It also presents the results of a survey among media consumers reflecting their conscious attitudes. Data comparison helps the researchers come to certain conclusions characterizing the media audience.
Keywords: journalism, audience, the due, mass media functions, qualities of content, conditions of media operationGalina V. Lazutina, Tatiana Yu. Poretskaya, Tatiana E. Uzunova, Yulia S. Uzunova 34
« School Children’s Media Literacy as Seen by Teachers and Parents: Results of a Research»This paper is based on the results of a research project “School Children’s Media Consumption: the Information Age and Children’s Socialization in Post-Transition Society” conducted by the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, in 2013-2016. The relevance of the study stems from the global context, which includes the ambiguity of the social consequences of the intensification of media processes and societal attempts to influence the processes of children’s media consumption. The value regulators that can mitigate dangerous trends are vague and unstable in Russian society; the traditional institutions of socialization are in crisis. This is why society expresses concern about the uncontrollable influence of media communications on children’s socialization and health and calls to regulate the information flows. However, the steps recently taken in this direction caused contradictory and often critical responses of both producers and consumers of media content. Society requires accurate, constantly updated information to improve the conceptual approaches to these processes and, in particular, to develop media content strategies meeting the goals of children’s socialization in their modern understanding. These conclusions can be drawn from the results of a survey among teachers and parents (more than 100 respondents) conducted in several Russian cities and towns.
Keywords: socialization, media consumption, media literacy, school children, teachers, parentsTatiana I. Frolova, Anastasia Yu. Obraztsova 58
«Media Literacy within the Context of Political Culture: Revisiting the Definition of the Term»This paper is based on the results of a research project “School Children’s Media Consumption: the Information Age and Children’s Socialization in Post-Transition Society” conducted by the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, in 2013-2016. The relevance of the study stems from the global context, which includes the ambiguity of the social consequences of the intensification of media processes and societal attempts to influence the processes of children’s media consumption. The value regulators that can mitigate dangerous trends are vague and unstable in Russian society; the traditional institutions of socialization are in crisis. This is why society expresses concern about the uncontrollable influence of media communications on children’s socialization and health and calls to regulate the information flows. However, the steps recently taken in this direction caused contradictory and often critical responses of both producers and consumers of media content. Society requires accurate, constantly updated information to improve the conceptual approaches to these processes and, in particular, to develop media content strategies meeting the goals of children’s socialization in their modern understanding. These conclusions can be drawn from the results of a survey among teachers and parents (more than 100 respondents) conducted in several Russian cities and towns.
Keywords: socialization, media consumption, media literacy, school children, teachers, parents.Alexander A. Kazakov 78
«Factors of Reading Preferences of the Online Business Media Audience (a Case Study of the Rbc Website)»The media’s ability to accurately and quickly measure audience preferences has emerged through the development of web analytics tools and dramatically changed the operation of online media outlets and their relations with readers. Studying web metrics, editors and reporters are now becoming more aware of and adaptable to consumers’ tastes. The skill of analyzing and interpreting these data correctly is a factor of a media outlet’s survival in the face of growing economic pressure. In Russia, however, there is still no scientific quantitative research into media audience preferences. This paper presents the results of a study of the most popular articles on the RBC website, one of the largest Russian online media with a monthly audience of more than 25 million readers. The paper is based on an analysis of more than a thousand articles that within one year from July 2015 scored the highest number of views. For the first time in Russian scientific practice, the author carries out a regression analysis allowing to evaluate the influence of various factors on the potential popularity of the article among the readers of the website. The results show that the number of views largely depends on the rubric the article falls within, the number of words in the headline and the presence of key words in it as well as the article’s genre identity and the number of reposts on social networks.
Keywords: web metrics, web analytics, media audience, audience measurement, online journalism, news, articlesSiranush V. Sharoyan 98
«Social Networks as a Tool in the Work of Russian Journalists: Results of a Survey»Social networks have changed the work of journalists giving them direct access to newsmakers, experts and other information sources. However, the wide popularity of social networking sites in the daily activities of mass media representatives also has negative effects: the emergence of fake news and unverified information. In the article, the author presents the results of a survey on the use of social networks among Russian journalists, working in print, radio, television, online media and news agencies. The respondents included freelancers as well as staff journalists, the total number of respondents amounting to 110. The survey was designed to reveal the particularities of using social networking sites as a source of information and a tool for searching newsmakers, news and new topics.
Keywords: journalism, new media, social networks, journalist’s working methods, information sourcesDiana Yu. Kulchitskaya 119
«The Editorial Structure of Mass Media: Tradition and Modernity»In response to the introduction of new technologies, mass media have to modify the traditional methods and forms of their operation. First and foremost, media researchers focus on content, its distribution and forms of interaction between mass media and the audience while the issue of mass media’s structural adaptation to new realities remains largely neglected, although its is hard to overestimate its strategic significance. This paper analyzes the degree of the transformation in the organizational structures of Russian print and online mass media influenced by a number of factors mostly related to digitalization and its effects. The author concludes that today the managerial hierarchy, the editorial structures and the principles of division of labor both in print and online mass media remain basically unchanged. In addition, in editorial structures the presence of subdivisions engaged in producing convergent (multimedia) products is next to minimal.
Keywords: organization, editorial structure, hierarchy, transformation, structural subdivisions, multimedia productAndrei V. Vyrkovsky 136