Media criticism is a new trend in Russian media process. In the modern sense concept “media” includes a variety of communication channels, including literature. More precisely, it is not a new phenomenon, but just a new word. The phenomenon itself is highly characteristic exactly for Russia. Under media criticism in a broad sense we understand the various traditional areas of critical discourse, taken not by themselves, but adapted to the media formats. This kind of media adaptation has several key features in Russia.The first one is that Russian criticism tends more to the thick magazine, rather than operational journalistic formats. Second – criticism in Russia has always moved closer to literary journalism and essays. So, the conversation about Russian media criticism – in addition to the journalistic component – have to deduce into a wide socio-cultural context. Russian criticism high culture orientation has determined historically.
The origin of criticism in Russia was connected with the process of formation such important types of edition, as magazine and almanac. During Russian press system becoming, heated debates around the question, what Russian magazine should be, were largely based on an understanding the significant influence that criticism can really exert to the public opinion.
In such literary focused country, like Russia, media criticism, certainly, is mainly represented in its literary variety. Meanwhile, at the periods of transformation the whole Russian life, in 1830 – 1840 years, criticism from the aesthetic phenomenon has transformed into the great ideological power. Russian “real criticism”, represented realistic poetics in the middle – the second half of the XIX century was essentially a publicism (or, in another words, authors journalism). Almost all the major writers in XIX century were themselves the original critics.
At that time critic judged, appreciated not the very literary work, but Russian life at the whole, which has been reflected in some way in analysing creation. A classic example is considered to be the critical method, used – as they said – by “furious Vissarion” (Vissarion Belinsky). The special Russian model of criticism as publicism has not only been determined by censorship factor. The fact is that Russian public discourse traditionally declared itself through the literature way. Like the sacral status of the Russian writer, the author of critical articles in Russia || historically appeared to be a ruler of minds. And it is a unique social and cultural situation that has arisen precisely in Russian conditions.
Thus, more than one hundred and fifty years ago, criticism from the factor, regulated the printing system, has transformed into the most important factor of the public opinion. Real criticism method, appealing to the practical common sense, “people’s needs”, methodologically paved the way for the media criticism separation as a means of social control over the media. The twentieth century marked by two existing areas of criticism: the ideological and aesthetic. Ideological criticism was used in the Soviet era to fight against ideological enemies. One of the greatest masters of aesthetic criticism on TV was Irakly Andronnikov. His oral histories on TV about Russian cultural figures were very much enjoyed from soviet viewers. In the Soviet times, TV was conceptualized by critics as a screen art. Art approach to television was largely due to the ideological factor. The powerful head of the USSR State television and radio committee Sergey Lapin said that to criticize television was the same as to criticize the Soviet regime.
Although the media criticism concept was borrowed from the Western practice, media criticism phenomenon is very typical for Russia. Media criticism development in the West mainly due to the media promoting, in Russia it mostly associated with ideological function. Method of media critical analysis in Russia is different from the Western analogues. In the view of the literary type of Russian culture, Russian literature has always been more than a fiction and criticism has moved closer to the author’s journalism. Like the sacral status of the writer, the author of critical articles in Russia historically appeared to be a ruler of the minds. Due to the tradition of Russian criticism it should form a broad picture of social life. Russian media criticism formed on the base of actual critical discourse with the culture-centered character. In Russia, media criticism has traditionally been associated with other media and cultural paradigm. In the Western practice, media criticism plays a significant role in the relationship between expert community and media.
Contemporary Russian media criticism approaches to the art-criticism (typical for the Soviet period) and author’s journalism, moving away from the forms of corporate media criticism, established in the 1990s. In the whole, media criticism returned to the starting point, which determines its fame in the XIX century. Media critical discourse approaches to publicism again. And this is the traditional Russian environment for discuss the public life topical issues.
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