Comparing Norwegian and Russian journalism: Different models, same targets.

BY ALEX USENKO, STUDENT AT LOBACHEVSKY STATE UNIVERSITY. 

It’s not so easy to tell about this event, because I receive a lot of impressions and experience. To begin with, I understood that Russian and Norwegian journalism are totally different. I will compare my experience with experience of Norwegian students.

It all starts from the attitude. I think it’s all about culture of journalism in our countries. In Norway, students are interacting with media from very beginning. They have a lot of practical courses, and this is the main difference between studying journalism in Norway and Russia. We have more theoretical courses, and when you are start to work, you can meet some difficulties because of lack of practical knowledge. But it is compensating by your theoretical base. When you are making an article, you forget about everything and just create a nice product.

In Norway students learn about some article-making standards. Their articles are more impartial and more accurate. And this is not bad at all. When I make an article by myself, I am trying to put a part of my soul in it, that’s the difference. What about attitude? Well, in Norway profession of journalist is very honorable and indispensable. It is required to observe how government works, that is what I heard from the students. In Russia, when you tell somebody that you are going to be a journalist, the only thing you hear is that it will be not so easy to find a job. Partially it’s true. But it doesn’t make sense, because if you are qualified enough, you  will find your place. I can’t deny the fact that when you are going to work in russian newspaper, you know that sometimes you can’t say what you want, exactly. Some themes are undesirable, and it depends on your boss what you will say. Somebody can think that this is not very good, but when you said what you exactly wanted, you feel complete satisfaction.

In Norway there are no prohibited themes at all, and that is awesome. But when you can say what you want, you need to understand your power. By this tool you are forming public view, and it depends on you how an event will look like. This may even be dangerous, but I am sure that Norwegian journalists will never use their power in some wrong way. Why? Well, I learned this in Volda university. When I remember this trip, I rejoice, that journalism in this form is existing in the world. Because it’s completely different. Total freedom of speech. They are not afraid to say anything. But still, they are learned about how dangerous this freedom may be. They are learned to use this power wisely, and that’s really great. And I admire the way they are studying. This is completely different experience. Their teachers are their friends, too. I can’t say that in Russia students and teachers are swore enemies, but our relationships are more official, than in Norway. They speak about everything and nothing hesitate them. I think that this fact influences on the process of studying. When there are no barriers, it’s easier to understand subject of your studying. They are not afraid to be misunderstood. From this point follows another beatiful side of Norwegian mentality as I understood it. Any point of view has right to exist. When we practised in  Volda university, I heard a lot of different points of view, and each one got attention, was analysed and estimated. It doesn’t mean that we dont have the same in Russia, but I was always afraid that my point of view will be received wrong. I forgot about this fear in Norway. Students and teachers will never tell you that you are completely wrong or something like that. It’s hard to describe how I admire by this. This method forming completely another attitude to your point of view, than in Russia. In dispute we will find the truth – that’s the spirit. This is very inspiring.

Yes, that's me in this studio. Hey there, that is really awesome.
Yes, that’s me in this studio. Hey there, that is really awesome.

But let’s return to attitude of students to their future profession. I asked Shima Sharijari, first-course student of Volda University, about her feelings:

– Well, I always wanted to be a journalist and I am really happy to study there. I always wanted to tell people the truth, to guard the justice, if you want.

– And what sphere in journalism do you prefer?

– Politics, certainly. In my opinion, this is one of the most important and interesting spheres in journalism, and here I am able to spotlight the work of our government, and if something going wrong, I will always tell about that to people.

As I said, the profession of journalism is really honorable in Norway. Ideas are not the only thing that supports students in their studying. Their equipment is very cool too. When we visited TV-

studio in Volda university I was really shocked. I am not sure that some local Russian TV-channel has the same equipment. I think that fact inspires students a lot too.

When your practice in media begins at university, it is easier to start working in “real media”. You already know the basis and have some experience, you know what to do here, you will not be confused by this shiny equipment, because you are already familiar with it.

We also visited The Norwegian Union of Journalists. They are really taking care about their members. The existence of this union tells a lot. In Norway, people really take care about freedom of speech. They are ready to protect those who inform them. All my thoughts about that were confirmed when we visited NRK. When I was listening to the presentation of the policy of this channel, I understood what is true journalism. “We try to tell news as impartially and correct as possible”. In Russia it’s not so easy to understand, which media is true, because all of them are dependent of government or somebody else. That is why news cannot be impartial. All of them try to enlight any event from the side profitable to the owner of this media. So it’s hard to find the truth. But policy of NRK is completely different.  They are trying to show only facts, without any attitude, and they are doing it really great.

Moreover, media are protected by the constitution. Even the police have no rights to take any exclusive records which may be helpful in investigation, because this is  property of this media. In Russia there is no such practice at all. I never heard about any similar cases in our country. Maybe it’s a pity, but now I know that we have space for improvement. That is not so bad. As a conclusion, I would say that our countries and traditions may differ, as models of journalism, but I know that from different sides are working very similar people. We differ a lot, but we have same targets, and we are trying our best to reach them.

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