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In a time where freedom of information is on decline all around the world, the Nordic states remain on top of the list over countries with the highest level of press freedom.
Hundreds of Norwegians and Russians arrived in the first week of February in the town of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norway border to see the spectacular installations, to visit unusual exhibitions and to speculate about the future of the Arctic territories at the international art festival Barents Spektakel.
Webinar on mass media finance took place in Petrozavodsk
The web-seminar was attended by journalists from Petrozavodsk and district cities of Karelia, as well as colleagues from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions. The seminar was organized by Barents Press.
This is the second one of a series of Web seminars, which are held in Petrozavodsk in the framework of one project. The main question of discussion was: whether in today's conditions newspapers, radio stations, TV channels are able to earn not at a loss independently, without subsidies and thus to be truly independent. Does the present economic situation contribut to this or not?
The topic turned out to be rather significant for the deputy editor of the newspaper "New Kondopoga" Yulia Shevchuk:
- It is important for every journalist because this is our life. We want to make high-quality newspaper for it to be bought. Tips from colleagues made today were - including those from other regions, for example, from the newspaper "2x2" - very interesting, and we have to take them to arms. There is a widespread opinion that a district newspaper exists at the expense of budget funds. But today in Karelia there are examples of district papers earning a bigger part of income independently. Although there are many problems with financing and subsidies from the budget. It is impossible to say — even about the newspapers on self-sustainability — that they are independent. But every journalist is seeking to be the least dependent on the authorities and only to depend on the reader.
Discussion is on
Is it possible to only depend on the reader?
In Karelia the volume of the advertising market is small. The overwhelming majority of publications are on the same advertisers. Less than others are in need those who receive significant subsidies from the budget or from the purses of financial-political groups. These analytical data were given in the report of the chairman of the Union of journalists of Karelia Anatoly Tsygankov.
The Web-seminar participants noted that permanent cost savings lead to the fact that the quality of journalism starts to fall, whereas budget media not requiring large inflow of funds from advertising can afford to significantly reduce the prices for advertisers. Thus budget editions hinder the development of the media market.
Such are the realities of the time under which journalists are to live and work. Therefore, in addition to understanding the situation, it was important to see examples of mass media dependant — as Julia Shevchuk said — only on the reader. By means of the Internet the seminar was attended by journalists from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions. Vasily Rashev shared the experience of work of the publishing house "Severnaya nedelya" in Severodvinsk. The editor of the newspaper "2x2" from the city of Apatity Olga Shcherbakova believes it's possible to create a really independent newspaper. Her formula for this is "time, desire and the right people". Their newspaper has been exising for already 20 years, working all this time as an information and publishing enterprise.
Elena Ilyina provides the communication
The author of the project of the Internet seminar in Petrozavodsk Anatoly Tsygankov convinces that it's highly important to discuss these tendencies:
- The question put at the seminar was where can editorial teams find the resources allowing to professionally fulfill their social duty, to earn money for life, and at the same time to let each journalist enjoying his work and every readergetting maximum of information. The away out is in finding the right economic instruments. We discussed how to organize the information advertising flows, how to use new technologies to get in the end an information enterprise performing a social function and at the same time having stable audience of those buying this product.
Next webinar is to be held in September 2011.
Photos by the author