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Digital Transition: How to Overcome It?

‘Oh, an idea! Great idea! Well, shall we try?’ – perhaps these insights are the meaning and purpose of our participation in journalism courses. After all, it would seem that we are all adults with great experience, why should we study? But the world is changing at such a speed that the experience that we were proud of yesterday is turning into inhibitory ballast today.

A course for journalists called Northern Media and Digital Transitions took place in Copenhagen and Aarhus (Denmark) in early October. It was extremely useful from a practical point of view. Indeed, for many of us and for our edition Dvazhdy Dva. Apatity above all as it is happening right now, in these very minutes, and we feel ourselves like pilots who learn to fly a plane right in the air. And our Danish colleagues did everything possible to quickly, clearly and distinctly share with us their own best practices and even mistakes.

Danish media specialists sometimes answered our questions with great simplicity and sincerity: ‘We do not yet know how to do this …’ or ‘We have not succeeded yet … ‘. This seems to me very valuable: friendly communication without any hint of a mentor tone. The moments of some unity were extremely pleasant. Indeed, it often seems that you are completely alone, solving the problems of your own editorial office with no one to support you. But it turned out that both the Russian media (those older than 20 years) and the European ones simultaneously faced the problem which it is still unclear how to resolve. How to get the readers to pay for what they can get for free? – this is the question that we ask ourselves, and which are Danish colleagues concerning right now. After all, the elementary economic line ‘news – media – money’ has turned into a tangled ball.

How to preserve journalism if every Internet user now forms his own media? How to make money when there are fewer inhabitants in the North, readers and advertisers including? How to stay independent if the reader no longer pays you for the news? Should editorial boards keep the form in which they have existed in recent decades? How to explain to colleagues that you need to act in a new way? How to overcome the fear of asking for help and a much stronger fear that no one will help? How to survive during the transition period when the generation of readers buying newspapers is physically dying, and the new generation who will be ready to pay for electronic versions of the media is still growing? ..

Ib the course of four busy days we were discussing all these issues with Danish colleagues searching together for the answers. In case no answers were found they simply consoled each other with words about journalism which would certainly remain a profession – only, perhaps, it would change beyond recognition …

Many thanks to Elisabeth Bjarløv for her warm communication and John Frølich for his preparing the course, attention to details, love for Denmark and great desire to share it as well as for interesting excursions and the cultural program! Thanks to the staff of the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) in Aarhus for the express course and interesting lectures! We are also greatful to the people from TV companies and newspapers in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Elsinore for their kind welcome and openness!

Natalia Chernova, Dvazhdy Dva. Apatity