ST. PETERSBURG — As a news producer, I’ve always ended up working on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It starts like an ordinary day. Then I spend hours examining videos of memorials, flags, flowers and weeping families. I end up using “Taps” as some natural sound for headlines or for teases in my news shows.
By the end of the day, I am emotionally wiped out. That day changed everybody’s lives including me. The United States was vulnerable and my country sent my brother to Iraq.
He came back. Other military members didn’t.
This year in St. Petersburg, I had a lecture scheduled for the 9th anniversary of the attacks. I didn’t know what to expect from the students, the city and my temporary home away from home.
I didn’t expect to have a renewed sense of hope in the next generation of Russian journalists.
My class of four students started with a discussion on hyperlocal journalism. After watching an interesting story by NBC’s George Lewis on travelers’ gadgets – I tossed out the rest of my lecture.
The class discussion switched gears to Russian news and television. My students had a fantastic discussion on what would be part of their ideal TV station.
- Fair and truthful news
- Expensive talk shows and reality shows
- Russian version of Oprah
- Analysis program with different opinions and clever people
- News anchors who are smart, speak well and who serve as an example for others
During class, one student sent me a Facebook message with this Tina Kandelaki video. He cited her as one of his favorite anchors. Based on her looks, I can see why.
Another student said Kandelaki speaks too fast and sometimes, doesn’t give her interview subjects a chance to tell their side of the story.
I thought it was a compelling conversation to examine the pros and cons of this very on-air personality. My students say she’s teaching a social media class at a university in Moscow. I’m sorry to say I do not have her fashion sense or her good lucks. I’m still curious about her lecture materials.
After class, I knew these students had a very good chance at succeeding in Russian TV news. After they show their colleagues they know how to report, produce and play by the rules, these journalism students will have chance to become innovators in their chosen profession.