Six journalists from Buryatia, Russia, a Western region near the Mongolian border, spent two weeks working at the Voice of America (VOA) as part of a unique fellowship in cooperation with the Library of Congress’ Open World Leadership Center.
The journalists participated in editorial meetings, observed production of live and pre-recorded programs and worked side-by-side with VOA’s Russian Service broadcasters as they covered events. The Open World Leadership Center Program, which organized the June 15-28, 2013 program, supports exchanges between the United States and Central and Eastern European countries.
The fellowship was designed to foster cross-cultural engagement through the sharing and reflecting of different journalistic practices.
Gennady Taraskin, a TV producer for Buryatia State Broadcasting, said he learned much about American-style journalism, but many challenges were common to Russians and Americans. “The issues for American journalists are the same for Russians,” he said.
Management style and newsroom culture are different in the two countries, he said. At Buryatia State Broadcasting, most employees have individual offices, which can decrease communication and impede the flow of ideas. VOA employees interact with each other more frequently because they work in an open office, he said.
The Russian journalists’ participated in a workshop on best practices and the use of new media tools. They also watched the live taping of Podelis, a VOA Russian language interactive talk show.
Aleksandr Ayushin, the correspondent of Udinskaya Nov’ Neswpaper, said Podelis was unlike any show produced in Russia.
The program was supported by ERA Foundation, set up by former Russian Senator Vitaly Malkin.