Monday, April 11, 2005

The journalism scandal you've never heard of

eXile, a Moscow-based publication for English-speaking expatriates, has an interesting article up right now, following the recent scandal in Russia concerning Yevgeny Kiselyov, editor-in-chief of Moskvskiye Novosti. This being Russia, of course, the scandal is endlessly complicated and with no real "good guys" emerging from any camp; as far as I can tell, the whole thing involves Machievellian behind-the-scenes scheming, the collapse of the old oligarchial system of Russia media ownership, and even a grainy home video involving Kiselyov at an amateur S&M group sex party. The point eXile is making, though, is that barely a word of the scandal has been mentioned in the Western media, even though it's a daily top-of-page issue over in Russia right now; they theorize that this is the case because of Kiselyov being a strong pro-democracy, anti-Putin champion, and the Western media not wanting to embarrass themselves by covering the scandal of the one Russian media mogul they've most supported throughout the Putin years.

No matter what side you fall on concerning the issue, it does highlight something of which we should all be more aware - that what we consider "the news," as defined by a relatively small amount of organizations, can be and is influenced profoundly by what the people at these organizations consider to be "the news." It's one of the many reasons blogs and citizen journalism are suddenly such hot issues - because of the growing amount of people who are sick of this small group of organizations dictating what exactly is "newsworthy" and what isn't.