Moscow Readings-2016 Gathered Scholars to Discuss Digitalization and Its Impact upon Media Environment


On November 17-28, 2016 the Faculty of Journalism, MSU held the Moscow Readings-2016 international conference. The event was supported by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation. The annual conference was traditionally widescale, attracting scholars and journalists all over the world. The debatable topic of the conference – “Expanding Media Frontiers in the XXI century: the Impact of Digitalization upon Media Environment” – was one of the reasons why scholars from over 15 countries made their way to Moscow this November.

Professor Kaarle Nordenstreng (University of Tampere, Finland) gave a public talk on November 16 as a pre-conference event. He spoke about the 120 years of history of international journalist associations and the changes these organizations underwent throughout history.

November 17 began with the opening ceremony and greeting speech by the Dean, Professor Elena Vartanova who wished participants interesting discussions and fruitful meetings. The first plenary session started with presentation of Kaarle Nordenstreng’s research which described the concept of media system in terms of its advantages and disadvantages. He identified it as “a popular, useful and messy concept”, emphasizing pluses of comparative approach but suggesting we should not mystify theoretical models.

Professor Gunnar Nygren (Södertörn University, Sweden) discussed the problem of fake news in contemporary society. How should journalists act when they are surrounded by information flows? What is the role of verification in the post-modernistic era? Those were the questions he drew audience's attention to.

The first plenary session ended with the presentation by Professor Elena Vartanova. She spoke about digital divide, the challenges it creates for the modern society and for media sphere, and possible solutions to overcome digital gap today.

The topic of digitalization was developed by Professor Francois Heinderyckx (Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) in his speech during the second plenary session which opened the next day of the conference. He pointed out the diversity of media forms and concluded that “it is difficult to agree on what media actually are and will be in the foreseeable future, as the notion is stretched and bent to accommodate technological innovation”.

Professor Bharthur Sanjay (University of Hyderabad, India) noted that digital and new media are being developed in India rather rapidly, although the traditional ones still remain very popular.

Dr. Jia Lerong (Communication University of China) paid attention to the transformation of Chinese media in the era of mobile communications. She mentioned that digital media are becoming more and more popular in China, both in terms of audience's size and advertising revenues.

Professor Jens Wendland (Humboldt University, Germany) spoke about The Dialogue of Civilizations research institute (DOCRI) established within the World Public Forum, its policy and main goals.

Both days of the conference were full of fruitful discussions and interesting presentations. More than 80 participants from 16 countries took part in 14 thematic sessions and plenary meetings. The Faculty of Journalism, MSU is proud to be a platform for such important academic events, which are aimed at bringing together international research community to discuss current issues of media studies.


Photo: George Nikanorov.