Staunton, December 17 – Faced with declining advertising revenue, increasing pressure from the authorities, and competition from the Internet, Russia’s traditional regional media outlets must simultaneously play to their strength as “collective organizers” and cooperate closely if they are to survive, according to Nikolay Protsenko.
The North Caucasus journalist says that the first task before the traditional media is to refocus their attention on what they do best, on serving not only, to use Lenin’s terms, “collective propagandists” but also as “collective organizers” by expressing the concerns of the people (kavpolit.com/articles/kak_vyzhivat_segodnja_nezavisimoj_regonalnoj_zhurn-22132/).
This will involve in the first instance organizing “quality discussions on those numerous problems in politics and economics which we have today,” discussions that will focus on specific projects and contain detailed analysis. That is something that many outlets in Moscow are doing but that the regional media have only begun to do.
Shortages of money need not be insurmountable obstacles, Protsenko suggests. Instead, the regional press should recognize that “in many branches of the economy, the situation has already become so bad that the representatives of firms cannot remain silent.” Writing about those problems, he says, will not only attract their attention but their financial support.
“The role of collective organizer is much more complex than that of collective informer,” he continues. “It presupposes a different quality of leadership working on complex media projects” and both a level of cooperation among outlets that is sadly lacking and a regular display of solidarity among journalists across the regions.
There have been some successes in this regard, he says, including the longstanding partnership between KAVPOLIT and the Daghestani weekly “Chernovik,” but far more is needed, especially given pressure from government officials who would like only good news to appear.
Protsenko’s article is a reminder that Russia’s regional press is far more interesting than many who focus only on Moscow outlets think, that it is not the grey blur that it often was in Soviet times but rather an exciting source of news, information and analysis that those interested in Russia’s present and future can ignore only at their peril.
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