SUSU Scientific Schools: “Journalism as a Science is Developing under Conditions of Transmedia”

In 2018, South Ural State University is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Within this period, thousands of talented specialists have been trained in various spheres of scientific knowledge. One of the strongest schools of sciences established within the university is the SUSU Scientific School of Journalism.

Researching the transformation of Russian and foreign media systems

SUSU Scientific School of Journalism originated in 2002, when researchers and teaching staff of the university’s departments of journalism under the leaderhip of Professor Lyudmila Shesterkina started actively research topical issues of transformation of Russian and foreign media systems and communications under the influence of factors of global and national nature. In the course of ten years, SUSU had been organising annual international science-to-practice conference on interaction of journalism, advertising, public relations and philology in the modern informational space; a collection of research articles had been published upon the conference’s results. Within this time, teaching staff of the Faculty of Journalism defended 5 Doctor’s and 6 Candidate’s dissertations in the sphere of journalism and mass communications. Among them was dissertational research of Lyudmila Shesterkina concerning the issues of forming an innovative model of training of professional journalistic cadres under the context of mass media’s convergence. The modern and scientifically justified approaches to teaching the profession, as well as justification of equipment-and-technology component of training journalists by the example of SUSU-TV university television and radio company, presented in the research, were taken into account by leading faculties of journalism of universities both in Russia and abroad. In Doctor’s dissertation of Professor Lidiya Lobodenko, topical cross-communicative aspects of conceptual model of regional Internet-mass media as the most important independent part of information-communication space were considered. The new conceptual model of regional Internet-mass media, developed in the dissertation, is very important for forming regional segment of the national information-and-communication market. Results of the dissertational research by Elena Khakimova on orthologous system of contemporary Russian language find their application in media sphere when preparing texts on mass communication, as well as during establishment of principles of flexible and reasonable language policy that provides optimal conditions for Russian language’s functioning as an efficient tool of international communication.

Photo: Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor Lyudmila Shesterkina

At the present time, 2 more Doctor’s and 2 more Candidate’s dissertations in the sphere of journalism and integrated mass communications are getting ready to be defended. Teaching staff and researchers of the Faculty of Journalism actively prepare publications for Russian and foreign scientific editions, including the ones indexed in Scopus and Web of Science databases. And the Dean of the SUSU Faculty of Journalism, Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications of South Ural State University, Vice President for youth policy of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio, Lyudmila Shesterkina nowadays is a board member of the National Association of Mass Media Researchers (NAMMI), in which SUSU’s Faculty of Journalism is included institutionally. This allows the SUSU Faculty of Journalism’s scientific school to develop in the conditions of academic and professional journalism community, strengthen and improve scientific contacts between Russian and foreign media researchers, participate in research of Russian mass media at the federal and regional levels, carry out theoretical and practice-oriented research in the sphere of journalism and mass communication at a high scientific level.

Research monographs of SUSU’s Faculty of Journalism are acknowledged to be the best in Russia

Research monographs get regularly issued at the Faculty of Journalism. For the more than ten-years-long period, more than 30 research monographs on various aspects on journalism and mass communications have been prepared and published; a special spot among them belongs to collective research monographs, awarded with certificates at NAMMI contests as the best scientific research. Among them is a collective scientific work of researchers and teaching staff of the Faculty of Journalism, entitled “Media text as a target element of journalistic education under conditions of mass media convergence”, as well as collective monographs entitled “Communicative practices in contemporary media space” and “Integrated communications in new media”. In 2017, a monograph of the SUSU Faculty  of Journalism entitled “Social media as a resource of integrated communicative practices” was acknowledged as the best research work, both in Russia and abroad, in the sphere of fundamental and applied research of mass media, communication and journalism. Interuniversity research project on the role of social media in the modern communication space was created featuring scientists from faculties of journalism of the leading universities of Russia: Lomonosov MSU, Saint Petersburg and Tomsk universities, People’s Friendship University of Russia, and the Academy of Media Industry. Today, researchers of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications of the SUSU Faculty of Journalism in cooperation with Chinese researchers prepared for publication a scientific monograph entitled “Regional television in the process of social interaction.”

“We are developing the most topical research areas of development of modern journalism, mass media and new media. This includes information-and-communication space, mass media, social networks, strategically integrated communications, universialisation of journalism and journalistic education, creation of media content and media brand under conditions of development of international connections. SUSU’s Faculty of Journalism represents our university in the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA), which allows us developing the main research areas on the world level,” notes Lyudmila Shesterkina.

International research and education projects: “We support the idea to unite journalism centres of Eurasia”

At the present time, the Faculty of Journalism actively participates in scaleous international scientific projects. Teaching staff and scientists of the Faculty of Journalism took part in the international research project of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) entitled “Journalism’s roles, values and qualifications in the 21st century” together with teaching staff of 60 leading journalistic educational centres from 28 European countries. In November of 2017, representatives of the Faculty of Journalism made a report on a plenary session of science-to-practice conference of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) on Journalism Education Without Limits at the Lomonosov MSU (Moscow) on a par with representatives of universities of the USA, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Russia and other European countries. In May of 2018, SUSU’s Faculty of Journalism took part in a report-and-election conference of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) in the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). In his summary report, President of the Association, Nico Drok called South Ural State University as an example of efficient research work of universities within the EJTA. In March of 2018, with participation of the European Journalism Training Association (Belgium), Northeast Petroleum University (China) and Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio (Russia), the ISSH’s Faculty of Journalism became the organiser and the main venue for holding the third International Scientific and Educational Forum entitled “Communication Leader of the 21st Century”. The Forum was organised under the motto “Uniting Europe and Asia” with the purpose of active promotion of SUSU in the educational space in Russia and abroad in the context of Project 5-100 implementation. An agreement was reached with the president of EJTA, Professor Nico Drok, on extension of the European Journalism Training Association’s boundaries to the scale of Eurasian organisation due to inclusion of representatives of journalism centres of China, Iran, India and other countries.

Photo: Partners of the Faculty of Journalism: Song Yaowu, Professor of the Northeast Petroleum University (China) and Valery Ruzin, the President of the Eurasian Academy of Television and Radio (Moscow)

“We support the idea to unite European journalism centres with Asian centres into one Journalism Training Association,” notes Lyudmila Shesterkina. “Because according to the new concept of development, SUSU proclaims itself a SMART university that unites Europe and Asia. And we are already working in this direction. We are developing scientific connections with universities of Iraq, China and Kazakhstan. Informational processes that happen around the world are very similar, and this gives us the possibility to plan joint research publications on the problems of media.”

Transformation of Russian and foreign media systems and communications under the influence of factors of global and national nature, first of all, is connected with the change of the entire informational space. In order to carry out research of digital informational technology, which nowadays are actively developing and have changed operating conditions of mass media, a world-level digital media complex was created at the SUSU Faculty of Journalism – the 360-Degree Multimedia Educational Newsroom of SUSU. Its technology unites the university’s television, radio broadcasting, newspaper, Internet portal and photo studio. Such modern media platform for creation of multi-various information and various forms of media products allows carrying out scientific analysis of the state of integrated mass media, which combine the profoundness of newspaper and journal periodic editions, emotionality of audion and visual image, and online interactivity.

Photo: Students of the SUSU Faculty of Journalism

“Nowadays, journalism as a science is developing under conditions of transmedia. Modern media systems give us the possibility to transmit information in any direction not only via mass media channels but also using a big number of mobile devices. In this regard, the nature of a journalist’s work is changing, as well as of a specialist in the sphere of advertising and public relations. On the one hand, such specialist should be well-educated in technology and understand technical part of his or her job. On the other hand, the creativity itself is seriously changing along with the language and approaches to creating a text. For example, multimedia longread, which seemed to appear quite recently, has been replaced by multimedia storytelling. This as well became a special topic for scientific research,” emphasizes the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Lyudmila Shesterkina.

In order to enhance scientific and research potential of SUSU and strengthen competitive positions of the university on the global market of educational services, a new complex interdisciplinary scientific-and-research project entitled “Digital media space as a motivator for society’s humanisation” was elaborated at the Faculty of Journalism at the intersection of journalism, advertising, public relations, philology, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, philosophy and study of art.

Another important prospective that enables the scientific school of the SUSU Faculty of Journalism to take a step forward is the fact that in 2020, according to decision of the EJTA board, South Ural State University is going to become the venue for holding a scientific conference of the European Journalism Training Association in the new, Eurasian, format. Meanwhile, today SUSU is the only university of Russia that received an invitation to take part in EUfactcheck scaleous international journalism project along with 20 leading universities of Europe. The project will favour to SUSU’s promotion in the international educational and scientific space, and serve as a base for a new programme of project-based learning and a foundation for new scientific research at SUSU ISSH’s Faculty of Journalism.

Viktoria Matveichuk; photo by: Oleg Igoshin, Viktoria Matveichuk
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