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||GlasNews is a quarterly publication on
East-West contacts in all aspects of communications -
including journalism, telecommunications, photography,
opinion research, advertising and public relations.
GlasNews is published by the Art
Pattison Communications Exchange Program, based in
In the Winter 1996-1997 issue
Three years ago, GlasNews made its home on the World Wide Web with Friends and Partners, a labor of love created by Greg Cole of the University of Tennessee and Natasha Bulashova of the Pushchino Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms. The Web was something of a sideline - GlasNews also was distributed on paper, in English and Russian, via e-mail to a small mailing list, and via an FTP site. But with Greg and Natasha's help, the publication came to be nestled at a comfortable if somewhat wordy address: solar.rtd.utk.edu/~aboyle/glasnews/master.html.
There have been a lot of changes in the years since then: The labor of love has become the Center for International Networking Initiatives, the on-paper versions of GlasNews have been phased out, and our mailing list has grown to more than 600. We also helped to create a newsgroup, relcom.comp.newmedia, to further the discussion among Russians about the meaning of new media. And now we have a new name and a new logo to add to our repertoire.
Our long and comfortable address on the Web still works. But there is now a quicker way to get to GlasNews: by using the address http://www.newsphere.org/glasnews/. Newsphere, sited at http://www.newsphere.org/, draws together resources created for journalists from Vladivostok to Delhi to Tallinn and back around to Sydney. We hope you'll spread around the new URLs . . . and come back often.
The third annual "New Media for a New World" conference was conducted Oct. 15-17 at the Far Eastern State University in Vladivostok, once again helping Russian journalists and media executives find new resources - as well as new sources of revenue - in the online world. This article is adapted from a conference report filed by Hashi Syedain, editor of the Vladivostok News and one of the event's organizers.
For the first time, "New Media for a New World" ran along two distinct tracks: one for journalists, and the other for newspaper publishers, technicians and representatives of both newspaper advertising departments and advertising agencies.
The journalists spent most of their time in two computer classrooms, learning how to use the World Wide Web as well as e-mail listservs, newsgroups, telnet, FTP and gopher.
Meanwhile, representatives from the advertising world learned advertising strategies for making money on the Internet.
The conference was organized by Vladivostok Novosti, owners of The Vladivostok and Vladivostok News, the Art Pattison Communications Exchange Program and The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington. The Moscow office of the Russian-American Press and Information Center coordinated invitations to participants from outside the Far East.
In all, about 80 people registered at this year's conference. Forty-five percent of the attendees were from Vladivostok, 25 percent were from other Far Eastern cities and about 30 percent came from the rest of Russia. Ten visiting experts from America and four Russians conducted the presentations.
David Carlson, director of the Interactive Media Lab at the University of Florida in Gainesville, discussed why newspapers should care about the Internet. Carlson said that in the United States, newspapers are losing market share and their profits are falling. Problems include a declining circulation, especially among the young, increased competition, rising costs and a news product that is out of date before it is delivered.
In order to survive, newspapers need to turn to the Internet, Carlson said. The Internet, through the World Wide Web, allows newspapers to provide not only up-to-date news but also additional information not found in the print version, he said. Newspapers should not expect to make money for the first five years, but some on-line news products have been able to turn a profit more quickly through niche advertising.
Greg Anderson, electronic communications manager of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, demonstrated Tribnet, the newspaper's Web site. The News Tribune site, one of the first 10 to be developed by a newspaper, has served as a host for the Vladivostok News since April 1995.
In a separate presentation, Anderson offered tips and enumerated what needed to be done before establishing a Web site. His prescription for a successful site: "Change, change, change."
Kitty Bennett, research librarian at the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, and Milana Perepyolkina, Ph.D. candidate in journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, worked with journalists in the two computer classrooms over the three days of the conference. Carlson also assisted with the classroom work.
They demonstrated everything from search engines for the Internet to HTML, the mark-up language for Web pages. The journalists learned how to access news groups, use e-mail and Listservs and navigate the World Wide Web.
The journalists' level of expertise varied. Carlson spent an entire afternoon teaching two journalists from Magadan how to use a computer mouse. Others, meanwhile, zipped around the Web after learning the basics of searching.
Perepyolkina said the first couple of hours in the computer classrooms were difficult, because virtually everyone needed help. But by the final day, everyone seemed comfortable searching the Web. When the group was asked to search for information about crime in Russia, one woman was particularly successful. "There was nothing she didn't find," Perepyolkina said.
After learning the rudiments of HTML, they were excited to view their results in a Web browser. "You should have seen them light up," Carlson said. "Wow, let's do more!"
"It's very empowering to discover that a few HTML tags is all that stands between you and being the publisher," he said.
On the final day of the conference, Bennett said that those "who stuck it out have been very attentive and very appreciative. The ones still here are hanging on our every word. When it comes time to take a break, they're blocking the door. They want to ask more questions."
A joint presentation on advertising was made by Sharon Katz, associate media manager of the advertising agency Modem Media in Westport, Connecticut; Lisa Gillingham, district manager for electronic media for AT&T in New Jersey, and Charles Powell, advertising account representative for Nando.net in Raleigh, North Carolina.
They traced the brief history of advertising on the Internet - it was only two years ago when the first ad appeared in an online magazine - and said advertising revenue has increased from less than $500,000 in 1994 to more than $30 million in 1996. They also made recommendations on how to price advertising. They spent the afternoon in the computer classrooms, demonstrating what types of ads work best.
Greg Cole of Friends and Partners developed a sample community server for Russian journalists. Cole, who is also director of Center for International Networking Initiatives at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, describes the purpose of the network on the home page of the site:
"Russian Journalists Community Network. This is a new initiative designed to help promote information sharing and exchange between journalists and members of the broadcast and press industries throughout the Russian federation as well as other countries of the Newly Independent States. The idea is to provide for a shared space on the Internet in which individuals and organizations can find and communicate with each other - and provide mutually interesting information and communications services."
It will be up to Russian journalists to decide whether they want to further develop and maintain the network, Cole said.
Hashi Syedain, editor of the Vladivostok News, and Jonathan Nesvig, wire editor at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, described their newspapers' cooperation in an on-line project that was largely funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. As a result, the Vladivostok News now resides on servers in both Russia and in the United States.
The online version of the Vladivostok News has raised the newspaper's visibility throughout Russia and other parts of the world, attracting readers who normally wouldn't have access to the print version. The Vladivostok News hopes to use that as one of its selling points in attracting advertisers who may not be interested in the print version, Syedain said.
Andrei Kholenko, vice president of Vladivostok Novosti, which owns both the Vladivostok News and The Vladivostok, a Russian-language newspaper, showed off The Vladivostok's new Web site. It shares a home page with the Vladivostok News and was developed through the same U.S. AID grant that assisted its sister paper. In October, it became the first regional Russian newspaper to go online daily.
Participants were introduced to a number of other online projects in Russia, including Uralski Rabochi, Bryanskoye Vremya and Novaya Sibir. Most of those attending the conference hadn't realized how many Russian newspapers already have Web versions. (You can check an online resource called "The Directory of Russian Periodicals Online.")
Yevgenia Voronina of the Russian-American Press and Information Center in Moscow discussed online resources available to Russian journalists.
Barry Obenchain of Pantheon Inc., in Seattle, Washington, displayed his firm's software product that allows the formatting of news articles to be converted quickly to html for use on the Internet. Several newspapers expressed a keen interest in the software.
The Art Pattison Communications Exchange Program and Vladivostok Novosti wish to thank the following individuals and organizations which helped make the conference a success:
Special thanks are due to the primary partners in the project: the U.S. Agency for International Development and Internews, which provided most of the funding for the conference; and The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington, which paid all the expenses for organizer Jonathan Nesvig and presenter Greg Anderson to attend the conference, and which supported Nesvig in his substantial personal contribution to developing the agenda and co-ordinating the programs of the American presenters.
Vladimir Svetozarov has been named to manage the Russian-American Press and Information Center and its wide array of media development programs, becoming the organization's first executive director.
RAPIC, based in Moscow, carries out journalism training seminars and offers information resources to Russian journalists through six regional centers. Founded in 1992, the center is a joint endeavor of the Center for War, Peace and the News Media at New York University and the Institute for USA-Canada Studies in Moscow. Svetozarov's appointment is part of a continuing effort to give Russians more control over RAPIC's personnel and programs - an effort advanced by RAPIC's last American co-director, Steve Bouser.
Svetozarov began his journalistic career with the Novosti Press Agency, and came to serve as head of the Coordination Section of the Communist Party Central Committee staff, responsible for international activities of Tass, Novosti, and Russian Television, and then head of its press center. He joined RAPIC in 1993 and guided the center's expansion into the various regions of Russia. He also helps manage related international programs involving journalists from Russia, Hungary, Albania, Romania and Latvia in conjunction with the International Federation of Journalists and the European Union.
Svetozarov's new role puts him in charge of a staff of 45 people, most of them Russians.
"In Svet, RAPIC has found the Russian leader to help the talented and dedicated staff take it into the next century," RAPIC co-chairman Robert Manoff said.
Chris Gehring, director of Internews' media development programs in Central Asia, was killed in January in Almaty during a robbery at his apartment. Gehring, a 28-year-old who had worked for CNN in Atlanta and ABC in Moscow, spent the last 18 months of his life in Central Asia.
In the first years of the former Soviet Union's transition from communism, Westerners were largely immune from street crime, but more recently they have been looked upon as tempting targets for dollar-hungry thugs. Three people have been arrested in connection with the killing, and one reportedly acknowledged that he had stolen Gehring's apartment keys and turned them over to another suspect.
Internews, based in California, operates a variety of programs for independent media in the former Soviet Union, primarily in the broadcast sector. The nonprofit group recently has come under criticism from some Russian publications, claiming that it sought to advance official Western interests through its work with former Soviet media. Despite that criticism, Kazakh authorities said there did not appear to be any political motive behind Gehring's death.
Internews has announced the creation of the Chris Gehring Memorial Fund, which will be used to reward courageous journalism in Central Asia. Proceeds from the fund may go toward a legal defense fund or an annual prize for the region's journalists. Contributions to the fund may be sent to Internews, P.O. Box 4448, Arcata, Calif. 95518. Checks should be made payable to the Internews Network and designated for the fund.
The Spring 1997 issue is scheduled to blossom in May. Please send us an e-mail and let us know how you like our slightly streamlined design. Over the next year we will be phasing in a more thoroughgoing change in our publication, so please stay tuned. You can send postal mail to Editor Alan Boyle at 12412 S.E. 26th Place, Bellevue, Washington 98005 USA.
with help from Microsoft FrontPage and Friends and Partners