Научная статья на тему 'Theoretically proven: journalism is alive!'

Theoretically proven: journalism is alive! Текст научной статьи по специальности «СМИ (медиа) и массовые коммуникации»

Ключевые слова

Аннотация научной статьи по СМИ (медиа) и массовым коммуникациям, автор научной работы — Berezhnaia M.A.

The publication of the collective monograph

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Текст научной работы на тему «Theoretically proven: journalism is alive!»

Prof. Dr. Marina A. Berezhnaia

Saint Petersburg State University, Russia 7-9, Universitetskaya nab., St Petersburg, 199034 E-mail: m.a.berezhnaya@spbu.ru

The publication of the collective monograph "The Theory of Journalism in Russia" (Aleteya Publishers, 2018) at the very time when the scientific status of journalism is being denied among the media experts and the death of it as a profession is a permanent topic of discussions, is really a significant event. The book represents a wide range of research directions in journalism, and also defines the place of Russian scientific and educational school in the development of theoretical views in the subject field. The authors stress the uniqueness of the national journalism theory emerged by the cultural and civilization space of Russia. The Russian scientists' research achievements in the field of journalism and mass communications, unfortunately, are poorly known outside of our country. We can speak of this as a postponed duty of the national academia, which is the time to return, as the global research context is being changed from separatism and isolation to cooperation.

Especially interesting is that the monograph opens a book series "St. Petersburg School of Journalism and Mass Communications", designed to present the experience and relevant research of the Institute "Higher School of Journalism and Mass Communications" of St. Petersburg State University, which is a large academic center of international level. On the bases of the vast material accumulated by Russian theorists for many years, the authors of the monograph reveal the theoretical representations' development points of bifurcation in the field of journalism, as well as their current and prospective directions.

The authors' pathos, if such a word is applicable to a scientific publication, is for overcoming superficial technocratic and purely economic approaches to the phenomenon of journalism, in line with which the crisis of traditional business models is identified with the crisis of the profession.

On the contrary, the focus is on the viability of journalism as a social and cultural institution, the sphere of activity, the means of public self-knowledge, and the type of spiritual and creative practicing. Indeed, if "the goal of journalism as an activity is to reflect the event picture of the world and to analyze thoroughly social problems with the aim of resolving them, and the object is social information, various facts of social reality, whether there is any reason to believe that the goal and the object do not exist anymore, or the indigenous image is transformed?" [p.15]. The controversy of the first chapter "The Disciplinary Status of the Theory of Journalism" (S.G. Korkonosenko, Dr. of Political Sciences, Prof., SPbU) is of a programmatic nature: it is time to consider the subject of activity in an expanded, more diverse and variable dimension. Since journalism as "-ism" does not necessarily continue in traditional media models, then "content activity characteristics become increasingly important for the identification of

journalism" [p.19]. Therefore, it is necessary to talk about increasing of the functional load and the range of skills in this area, but these are additions to the professional qualification, and in no way its destruction.

This approach changes radically the vector of understanding of current trends in the media sphere from decline to revival and allows us to re-imagine transformations in the sphere of journalism, as well as its perspectives, and possible directions of researching.

The concepts variability and the refuse from the unified notions of journalism, is another cross-cutting idea of the monograph. Papers focused on the ideas of internationalization and the so-called de-Westernization of media research are increasingly becoming a challenge to the seemingly stable representations. The authors of the book provide solid evidence of growing intellectual protest against the single theoretical trend domination and its progress in the world.

The journalistic theory is a polydisciplinary one, that is, it includes a number of sections, or sub-disciplines, different in terms of substantive content and methodological tools -theoretical history, sociology of journalism, political journalism, culturology of journalism, journalism economics, etc. Accordingly, the disciplinary principle has determined the structure of the book and the logic of the material presentation within chapters and paragraphs: the theoretical views formation, the correlation of experience with current practice, the international context, topical problems and development trends.

In particular, the chapter "Theoretical components of the history of journalism" (O.S. Kruglikova, PhD in Philology, Ass. Prof., SPbU), describes the unique theoretical experience of the Russian press historians, and reveals the necessity and directions for improving the methods of historical research. The relationship between the Russian journalistic theory and the classical traditions of research in the field of literature is analyzed in the chapter "Philological Theories of Journalism: Literary Studies" (B.Y. Misonzhnikov, Dr. of Philology, Prof., SPbU), where relevant aspects of the study are presented, such as unity of form and content in journalistic publications, the poetics of discourse in journalism, methods of creative work, narration, etc. And the chapter "Culturological Knowledge of Journalism" (M.A. Voskresenskaya, Dr. of History , Prof., SPbU) traces the formation of the new discipline, which includes two main directions: analysis of the society cultural life coverage and the concept of journalism as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Considering this field of journalism in line with the current basic tendencies of discourse and narratology, the author emphasizes that "Russian journalism has always acted as an important factor and a powerful resource for the cultural development of society due to the civilization and historical circumstances of its genesis, and not merely served as an informer about current events, a translator of power decisions or a platform for political discussions." [p. 220].

At the same time, the modern dynamics of theoretical knowledge is associated primarily with socio-political and economic research directions, which correlates with the world trends in the development of journalist theories and have long been reflected in the corresponding disciplinary areas of Russian science.

The chapter "Political knowledge of journalism" (Z.F. Khubetsova, PhD in Political Science, Ass. Prof., SPbU) shows a long way from the political theory of journalism (in essence, the development of authorities' directives for the press) to the political science of journalism as a field of scientific knowledge with its own conceptual apparatus and solutions presented in the research and educational literature. One cannot but note the independent way of forming this direction in the domestic theory: political aspects of journalistic activity are mainly studied abroad in the space of political theory, political communication, in related fields of scientific knowledge (political sociology, political linguistics, and political psychology). In St. Petersburg State University, the discipline "Political Science of Journalism" was included in the training curricula of journalists in the early 2000s.

Of particular interest is the chapter "Sociological and Socio-Psychological Knowledge of Journalism" (I.N. Blokhin, Dr. of Political Science, Prof., SPbU). The subject field indicated in the title is presented as a totality of social relations and processes in journalism in its interaction with social space. The author defines the research directions according to functions of journalism, its structural-semiotic characteristics and interactive potential. The idea that at the theoretical level "it is necessary to revise the functional of journalism and the media, their distinction and clarification in the dysfunctional aspect, which puts forward the problem of the value-semantic content of professional activity, the correlation of freedom and responsibility", is extremely topical [p.124]. Complex processes of changing fundamental ideas about the social role of journalism under the influence of transformations in political and ideological contexts and the strengthening of humanitarian and anthropological tendencies in Russian philosophy can be traced in the chapter "Socio-Philosophical Knowledge of Journalism" (V.A. Sidorov, Dr. of Philosophy, Prof., SPbU).

The pressing need is for a theoretical understanding of the modern economic nature and the principles of the journalism and the media functioning in Russia. In the chapter "Economic Theories of Journalism" (E.L. Vartanova, Dr. of Philology, Prof., Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Education, Lomonosov Moscow State University) journalism is a part of the economic theory of media, not being a separate area of theoretical knowledge. In Russia, there are relatively few works that study the main problem-thematic blocks of media economics. This explains, in particular, a hybrid methodological toolkit that unites the methodology of media economics and empiric-functionalism, sociology, and political science. One of the key concepts in this theoretical area is the process of commodification not only of the audience, but also of content, that is, giving the media content the properties of the goods. This determines the requirements for the quality of content, "which is increasingly determined by the level of its creative component." [p.175]. It seems that the problem area in the intersection of interdisciplinary research can be the identification and contradictory nature of the consumer properties of such a product and its social functions.

The monograph "Theory of Journalism in Russia" forms a powerful basis for future complex studies of journalism as a global political, social, cultural and spiritual phenomenon, and provides a value vector for such studies. The authors emphasize that underestimation of journalism "as an effective social institution, its reduction to the status of media are disastrous, will inevitably lead to dehumanization and degradation of public life." [p. 41].


Korkonosenko, S.G. (Ed.) (2018). Theory of Journalism in Russia. St. Petersburg: Aleteya Publishers. 254 p.

(St. Petersburg School of Journalism and Mass Communications). ISBN 978-5-907030-27-5.