transfer 23(1) » Journalismus

Representation of Russia by foreign correspondents in 2013-2015

In the time period when the interest in news from Russia has risen, foreign correspondents have become an important source of information, reporting, verifying, contextualising and explaining those political developments to the western publics. At the same time the profession of foreign correspondent is undergoing dramatic changes: the lack of resources, abundance of alternative information from bloggers and citizen journalists, changes in the news cycle are impacting the role foreign correspondents are playing. This study is interested in the representation of Russia by foreign correspondents and in filling the gap that exists between the studies focused on the routines of foreign correspondent and studies analysing the texts they produce. By bringing these two approaches together this paper aims to explain not only how the representation of Russia has changed from 2013 to 2015, but what stands behind this change.

Basing on qualitative content analysis of the texts and interviews with foreign correspondents we have highlighted several trends on how Russia is being portrayed by foreign correspondents. Overall, foreign correspondents are trying to present more full and nuanced portrait of contemporary Russia. Moreover, most of them regard it as their role as foreign correspondent. But on the large scale their texts still follow the logic of binary opposition ‘us’ vs ‘them’ and reinforce ‘Russia vs the West’ narrative.