Innovation and resources put into developing online journalism are scarce in Russian regional newspapers, write Elina Erzikova, of Central Michigan University, and Wilson Lowrey, of University of Alabama.
The authors investigated three regional papers published in one of Russia’s 83 provinces. Erzikova and Lowrey interviewed 26 journalists individually, conducted focus groups with “rank-and-file” reporters, observed the journalists’ work, and analysed the papers’ online output.
The research shows that the investigated papers are largely unenthusiastic about digital journalism. Little workforce or education thereof is put into online production. Those in power appear especially reluctant: in one paper the journalists told the researchers they “fear” the owner, and thus will not argue against the owner’s decision to completely forgo online presence.
The papers’ complacency toward online journalism can be explained through Pierre Bourdieu‘s field theory, the authors write. Most Russian journalists do not see online journalism delivering the kind of cultural capital traditionally associated with journalism. In other words: online journalism is not seen worth the effort.
The article “Russian Regional Media: Fragmented community, fragmented online practices” was published by the journal Digital Journalism. It is available online (free abstract).
Picture: Too old to work by Adam Freidin, licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.