University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CamCREES seminars (Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies) > Newspapers, Readers and the “Managed Public Sphere” during the Soviet Sixties

Newspapers, Readers and the “Managed Public Sphere” during the Soviet Sixties

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Coffee and tea available from 16.45

Scholars have not often associated Soviet newspapers with news. In a climate where the press was seen as a collective propagandist, agitator and organiser (Lenin), information was strictly controlled from above. But after Stalin’s death, journalists began to rethink the fundamental tenets of the Soviet newspaper. They saw news both as a means for attracting readers, but also as a prerequisite for civic engagement. Yet they equally wanted to avoid the ‘sensationalism’ and ‘vulgarity’ of western news. This paper investigates journalists’ attempts to create a new form of Soviet news after Stalin’s death. Based on archival documents from a number of newspapers, debates within the Union of Journalists, as well as the newspapers themselves, the paper will show that the momentum for change was met with an equally strong belief that news was positive information in the service of constructing communism.

This talk is part of the CamCREES Lent Seminars on Russian and Soviet Mass Culture.

About the author: Simon Huxtable is a Research Associate at Loughborough University. His research focuses on the development of mass media and communications in post-war Eastern Europe. A central goal of his work is to understand how modes of communication – both vertically between Party and public, and horizontally between members of society – changed with the advent of new technologies and the emergence of new social norms. His doctoral thesis, which he is preparing for publication, investigated the changing professional climate of journalism in the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, and showed how this impacted on the style and content of newspapers. He is currently working on a Leverhulme Trust funded project exploring the culture of television in socialist Eastern Europe, entitled ‘Screening Socialism’: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/socialsciences/screening-socialism/

This talk is part of the CamCREES seminars (Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies) series.

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